I’m back home now in Copenhagen after a whirlwind four weeks on the West Coast of the United States. Visiting, hugging, laughing, loving friends and family in my from. It was truly a family festival of fun chock full of veritable iconic Oregon summertime magic. I’ve already shared some of it with our Oregon Coast time crabbing. Miss it? Don’t be crabby – you can catch it here. Today, I want to share another of my mostest favoritest things to do in Oregon when you find yourself there at the peak of the season’s ripeness. Let’s go berry picking.
Did you know that Oregon State is one of the leading producers of all things berry. Berries are serious business here and we cultivate them in rare forms. While the state fruit might be the pear, I prefer berries. In all their iterations. Strawberries. And raspberries. And marionberries. And loganberries and blackberries and even – while not technically in the same family – big sweet bulbous blueberries. And these aren’t just any grocery store berries contained in plastic carted there far off season. These are pluck from the vine and eat by the fistful, buy by the flat full, juicy red or purple bake in a pie, cobbler and crumble, compote it, jam it make freezer jelly even serve straight in your salad summer for one bite of locally grown goodness Oregon berries.
And my favorite place to pluck such sweetness is just north of Portland, Oregon on Sauvie Island – a little slice of agriculture and nature filled wonderful smack dab in the middle of the Willamette River. Here the river flows north shortly before its exit into the mighty Columbia, then further on into the deep cold blue of the Pacific Ocean.
To get to Sauvie Island – take Highway 30 north from the city, follow signs across the bridge and you’ve landed. Turn left once over the bridge and follow Northwest Sauvie Island Road. Look for osprey spying for watery prey, fishing from their perches along the slough lined with houseboats. Catch vistas of the volcanoes that mark this section of the Northwest landscape. You should find what’s left of Mount Saint Helens and the still unperturbed peak of magestic Mount Hood.
Watch where you’re going though. Sauvie Island is home to many self-pick purveyors. Of course I will share with you where I prefer to procure my berries. You knew I would. Thanks for playing. Only about 1.5 miles past the bridge, turn right into Kruger’s Farm. And make sure you arrive on a Thursday evening around 6:30pm. Load your car with kids and friends and family. Pack a picnic dinner. Or don’t. Bring a blanket and low chairs. We’re gonna rock the crop tonight. It’s Farm Tunes people.
Every Thursday night starting mid-June through early September, there is a special slice of heaven available for you and yours at Kruger’s Farm. Spread out your blanket, grab a craft-brewed cup of Oregon beer. Raise it up. Let the sun shine through – liquid gold. Pinch yourself. Cheers. You’re here. Wave friends over to your corner of the lawn carved out. Let the kids loose. Check out the chickens. Say hello to the pig. If the line isn’t too long, try the sweet grilled corn on the cob. Tiny caramelized kernels pop in your mouth, all the better with fresh butter. Full dinner options available for those who can wait. We bring our own, so we can prioritize the picking at some point with our party.
Soon the music will start. Live and in person. A new act every week. A little stage is set out under the lights strung up over the lawn. Tonight it’s rock-a-billy and classic country with the “Oregon Trailers.” I did not make that up. That’s their name. I swear it’s true. We listen and we laugh and we dance if we want to with our littles. Cheeks lit with smiles and bellies soon sated, its time to make our way out to the front of the farm. Hay rides will pull us to the fields fresh and ripe. We scramble up and the tractor chugs along at a snail’s pace. But the light is late and streams on us warmly.
Today, we have choices. And it’s raspberries we choose. The tractor makes a u-turn and slows to a halt. Off we jump with boxes and crates in our clutches. Pick a row any row, but preferably not mine. Just kidding, I’ll share. I really don’t care. The vines here are full and laden with berries. Big giant juicy sweet as candy red berried nuggets of yum. Oregon raspberries. We fill a few boxes, eat a few too. Little ones laugh and peek through the rows probably toppling their collections as they go. No worries, we can scoop them all up as we head down to the tractor making a leisurely swing back around. Off come the next round of eager berry pickers. We smile and trade places and get a pull back to the lawn.
The light turns late and the music winds down. Time to pack up our goods and pay for our pickings. Friends hug goodbye, cheers and see you soon. Another pretty as a picture, crystal blue memoried evening for the books. You too can enjoy this Oregon summer magic. This summer’s berry harvest may be winding down, but don’t worry – the tunes are still rocking for another whole month.
Bring a picnic or buy food from one of vendors. Beer and wine for sale — CASH ONLY. (ATM in the store). No outside alcohol allowed. We love dogs, but ask that you leave them at home on concert night.” – Kruger’s Farm
FARM TUNES DEETS:
Kruger’s Farm – 17100 NW Sauvie Island Rd, Portland, OR 97231
Every Thursday from June 16th – September 1st, 2016
$15/car for parking and picking
U-pick priced by weight
Cheers from this Oregon Girl here in Copenhagen. Vi ses! Bye for now. Erin
*This post is especially for Jill and Joy and Cary and Chris and John and Michael and Melissa and Bo. Thank you for joining me for one of my favorite nights of our trip. Love you all!
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