We are very fortunate to have family friends who own orchards in Omak, Washington. As a lifelong Juneauite, it wasn’t until we visited those orchards many years ago that I tasted a fresh picked apple. It was incredible – so unlike the ones we could purchase back home, the ones I’d grown up with, the ones so tasteless and mushy. This apple was crisp, clean, and oh so good.
As we were deciding where our travels would lead us, we knew we’d be visiting family and friends along our route and of course, Omak was included. Not only could we visit friends we’d not seen in many many years but I would be able to wander in the orchards, marveling at the fruit. And with any luck, my incessant questions would be tolerated and I’d learn a few tidbits about the fruit business. Here are a few things I learned…
- Cherries are dried by low flying helicopters; it is incredibly dangerous
- A foil like material can be laid between the apple rows to reflect light up to the fruit so it colors properly
- Even orchard owners prefer Honeycrisp apples to Red Delicious
- Pears are picked before apples (and there didn’t seem to be as many on the ground)
- A drive lined with trees groaning under the weight of red apples is a beautiful sight
- There is nothing more depressing for a fresh produce deprived Juneauite than hearing the sound of apples falling to the ground and seeing the hundreds of apples that have fallen, never to be savored
But most importantly, I was reminded of what generous, caring people we call friends, how I truly appreciate their patience with my questions, and how much I love the taste of fresh picked fruit.
Now – want to bet on how many miles that box of apples will last?