In Oregon we get to experience every glorious season which I absolutely LOVE! A perfect spot to enjoy all of falls majesty is Hood River. It’s a gorgeous town on the Columbia River Gorge surrounded by rich farm land that leads all the way to Mount Hood. There are so many orchards and farm stands to visit, they’ve named it the Fruit Loop and created a map!
Last Saturday we packed up the kids and headed west to explore a few of our favorite spots. Draper Girls Country Farm was first on the agenda. They offer a year-round self-service fruit stand along with seasonal u-pick cherries, apples, pears, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, prunes, peaches, and nectarines. There’s even farm-raised lamb, pork and beef for purchase. We picked two large baskets full of Winter Banana (a baking apple) and Honey Crisp (an eating variety). We also purchased pears, cinnamon sugar dried apples (YUM), and visited with their goats!
The next stop on our sunny outing was a pumpkin patch with a breathtaking view of Mount Hood, Rasmussen Farms. October 1-November 11th is their Pumpkin Funland event, which has been recognized by Sunset Magazine and NickJr.com as a must see for fall. We enjoyed wheeling around an old wooden cart to pick pumpkins from the patch. There’s also a corn maze with stops along the way depicting an original version of The Ugly Duckling using painted gourds. Inside the farm stand there’s a variety of fruits and vegetables for sale as well as cider, caramel apples, and jams.
As we headed back toward town we stumbled upon the annual Hood River Valley Harvest Fest, in full swing right on the river. Talk about a sweet surprise! Tons of produce, flowers, craft booths, amazing food vendors, a family friendly beer garden with live music (SCORE), two bouncy houses, and face painting. The total package. Did I mention beer? Hood River is also home to Full Sail Brewing Company. We ate a picnic dinner right on the river and left with peaches and local honey. Perfect end to a perfect fall day.
We picked enough apples to make our own applesauce and of course caramel apples (a tradition) but I also wanted to try a new recipe that I spotted on Pinterest. Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars….are you kidding me?!!! Lucky for me it only makes an 8×8 pan because my motto is “Too much of a good thing is a good thing.” (Thank you for that, Alan Jackson). You can see the original recipe post on Sally’s Baking Addiction.
What’s your favorite apple recipe?