Blame it on the gorgeous weather or impending deadlines or exhaustion or missing my spouse: I haven’t been feeling very wordy. But it is my solemn responsibility to report that there are Oregon berries to be had. And now. And how. Raspberries peeked their ruddy little heads out into the farmer’s market this week, and next week promises to be spectacular. Silvan berries and tayberries are ready, the earliest of the blackberry family to appear here in the Willamette Valley.
The picture above is loganberries at my recent visit to the wondrous Ayers Creek Farm in Gaston, OR. The farm is Oregon Tilth-certified and wholly devoted to producing produce on a small scale bred, fertilized, and cultivated for taste. Heaven. And driving in the northwest Oregon countryside, drunk with pleasure at being alive in such a season, in such a state — are there really enough words for this?
Listening to farmer Anthony Boutard talk about his raspberries, who preen in their glory.
Random shot from road around Laurelwood, OR. Can you see the dim outline of Mt. Hood at the end of the road?
Ayers Creek blackcaps (much more photogenic than mine!).
Kid eating up Ayers Creek profits.
Native pollinator home in the Chester berries, Anthony’s favorite blackberry cultivar.
Appetite whetted for more? U-pick is available, ready and rarin’ to go. My fellow Master Food Preserver and friend Jen researched the following farms, but there might be more (kindly let me know your favorites in the comments):
RIVER BEND FARM 520-2561
Mon-Sat. 9-5:30. Hwy 58, E. 2 mi. to Dilley
Raspberries, tayberries, pie cherries ready to go. [Edit: no raspberries this year, and tayberries are almost gone!]
RIVERBROOK FARM 688-1534
Mon.-Sat. 8:30-6:00. 1850 E. Beacon Dr., Eugene.
Raspberries. [Edit: glorious raspberries (through the first week of August, according to the owner). Right now, they’re picking Meeker, Tulameen, Cascade Delight, Chilcotin and others. No spray.]
COBURG FARM 343-6473
(Directions from Eug: go thru town of Coburg at N.End road bends to left near fire station – first major street is
N.Coburg Rd – turn right – and go for about a mile – look for sign).
Edited to add: HENTZE FARM 998-8944
30000 Hentze Lane, Junction City (take River Rd. to the bend, but keep going straight – look for sign). They don’t always do U-pick, but Rocky says they’re doing it this year for raspberries, and I believe cherries. Call to confirm. Also good to know: last year’s blueberries, raspberries, sweet and pie cherries, beautifully frozen, are being sold for $8 a 4# bag to clear the stock. You won’t find this price/quality ratio anywhere else. Hurry before they sell out.