Tuesday, October 16, 2012
The feel of crisp autumn air in your face. The contrasting crunch and give of a juicy, ripe pear in your mouth. The stunning beauty of an unobstructed view across the valley. The joyful shrieks of children as they race to the pumpkin field and on through the corn maze.
This is what awaits you: An entire harvest-season-in-a-day with one stop — and that stop is Rasmussen Farms in Hood River.
Since before I began bringing my own children to Rasmussen’s, swaddled in harvest blankets a quarter century ago, this welcoming, authentic farm has quite simply, engendered happiness for my family, and countless others, year after year.
It is hard to sum up a quintessential experience like Rasmussen’s. Looking up synonyms, I find that what I am trying to describe might also be expressed in words like, “archetypal” and “exemplary,” or maybe “perfection.” Perhaps the best word of all is simply –ideal, which better reflects the dream-like feeling that accompanies a visit to the farm.
And though Rasmussen’s is definitely ideal in its physical beauty and lovely valley location, what makes it more inspiring is the heart that beats underneath the outward appearances.
When you pull up to the red-graveled parking area, what you find is a place beloved.
Beginning with founders Dollie and Lynn Rasmussen, the farm is cradled and nurtured by loving hands. Everyone who works at Rasmussen’s, even those without a signature on the mortgage, cares about how each visitor feels when they enter the farm’s gracious fields and well-worn farm buildings.
Rasmussen Farms is not the gleaming, pristine coldness of a new shopping mall; neither is it the flash and incessant pulse of the latest app or electronic gadget. It is a very welcome opposite — a patch of earth that loving hands have successfully transformed into a series of simple miracles.
To encounter a sea of pumpkins still clinging to the vine is good for the spirit. It reminds us that we are connected to the earth and that the earth is still providing for us.
The corn maze, in its nod to life’s mystery, beckons us to lose ourselves for just a little while, and return to a time of simple wonders.
Inside the old red barn, we can look around and marvel at the innumerable variety and painterly beauty found in an abundance of apples piled high in wooden bins.
These are the small miracles, and ones that we rarely take the time to ponder in our fast-paced world today.
At Rasmussen’s, we can race, gather, sip, taste, pick, contemplate and get our hands dirty until we renew and soften our sometimes-closed, hardened hearts that still long for a genuine connection with one another and our lovely earth.