We were born and raised in fruit bowls.
Figuratively speaking, that is.
I’m from Yakima and Joel hails from Chelan; cities some 160 miles apart in Central Washington State. It’s a land of lush orchards, truck gardens and vineyards.
Having now lived for many years in the bustling Seattle Metropolitan area we have a greater appreciation for our ‘roots’ and often find ourselves drawn back to our hometowns when we need a deep breath of blue sky and open spaces.
Sometimes we’re so focused on our hometowns, though, that we miss some incredible places along the way.
For instance, it took an invitation from the tourism association to get us to visit Wenatchee, a charming town of just under 33,000 residents that stretches out along the banks of the Columbia River. Located only 30 minutes from Chelan, we’ve driven past it for years, never stopped.
But having spent a weekend there in July, we now know we’ve missed winery tasting rooms, charming restaurants, (the one pictured is housed in the old train depot) and one-of-a-kind dress and decorator shops scattered throughout its historic downtown. I'll get to all that in a future post. For now. . .
It is August. The harvest season. And if you find yourself in this fruit bowl you can have a taste of the area at:
1. Tiny’s Organic is a family-owned farm (and anything but 'tiny'), that participates in a CSA (community supported agriculture) program.
This farm/orchard combo delivers weekly to subscribers of its service in Seattle just-harvested veggies and fruit. And they also welcome visitors to come experience the farm and see what they raise first-hand.
For those old enough to remember it, this East Wenatchee spread, is no relation to the famous Tiny’s Fruit Stand that operated decades ago along the highway outside Cashmere.
Harvest of Lapin cherries had begun only hours before we arrived.
Walking among the pickers and the bins of harvested fruit, we were invited to pick samples right off the tree (no big deal to some of you, but I had never done that before. Yes, this photo is all that remains of these lovelies - I ate them.)
Both young and old will love the chicken coup. Suppose this could be considered ‘glamping’ in the animal world?
Tours and Tastings:
Tours are free but do require advance reservations at Tiny’s Farm, 669 S. Ward Avenue, East Wenatchee, 509-264-3973, www.tinysorganic.com
2. Snowdrift Cider Company, just down the road from Tiny’s makes award-winning hard cider. I’d heard of the beverage before but never had sampled any until this visit. I just may have a new ‘bad’ habit’!
Peter Ringsrud and his family operate this business that offers five blends (each with an alcohol content of 8 – 9%and slightly sparkling, meaning slightly bubbly), Dry Cider, Orchard Select, Cliffbreaks Blend, Semidry Cider and Perry. The beverages reminded me of a cross between an Italian Prosecco and the Portuguese Vinho Verde.
Peter led our tour and tasting, teaching us about pairing each with a particular sliced gourmet cheese and crackers. (This is the view from outside the tasting room.)
Tours and Tastings are free (but advance reservations are recommended) at Snowdrift Cider Company, 277 Ward St., East Wenatchee, 509-630-3507, www.snowdriftcider.com
3. The Farmhouse Table Foods Market, at 10 N. Mission Street, Wenatchee, operates year round. There you’ll find locally grown vegetables, fruits, meats, eggs, cheeses, honeys and baked goods here.
Food Market’s hours are May – November: Tuesday – Friday, from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.. Winter hours (December – April) Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. For information: 509- 888-3010.
Our stay in Wenatchee was as guests of the tourism association, but we aren't the type to make recommendations if we didn't like the place. Speaking of recommendations, where are your favorite ‘fruit and produce’ stands in Washington? What about wineries and locally made beverages? Add a comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org