Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Walter's Fruit Ranch

Juicy peaches hang heavy, waiting to be picked.

    We spent our last night in Washington at Walter's Fruit Ranch just outside of Spokane. We were welcomed as part of Harvest Hosts, and shown to a grassy parking area where we set up our trailer for the night. I got to work making a simple soup for dinner, and blueberry cobbler for dessert. I mean, what's a woman to do when there are still blueberries in the fridge and acres of peaches to be picked? Use up some blueberries, of course! Erik and the kids set off to explore the orchard and farm grounds and I enjoyed a cool breeze blowing through the trailer as I worked. It was another wonderful Harvest Hosts stay, a destination in its own rite, and we were glad to have time to explore it more in the morning. It's on a loop where there are many small farms, and if you're ever in the Spokane area, it's a great area to explore! 

After dinner we walk together through the orchard, enjoying the cool of the evening in waning, golden light. 

Lovely apples, crisp and delicious, ripen to perfection.
Shaggy sheep come eagerly to greet the kids, who are delighted to sink their hands into thick fur.
Instead of a sandbox, there is a large, covered box full of dried sweet peas, perfect for play! I've never been a big fan of sand because it seems to stick with us a bit longer than I'd like, so I thought the pea box was brilliant! The kids love it too. 

A Sweet Pea among sweet peas.
There we are, on a grassy slope with lots of room to roam. The crickets sang us to sleep beneath a starry sky.

Sunset over the farm.

After breakfast, we set out again, this time to pick. We get to ride the tractor wagon out to the orchard, and after being instructed on proper picking techniques, Poppy carefully selects her fruit.

Mmmmmm.... nectarines! They are delicious. 
I want to snap a picture of the kids in the wagon, and of course they all make a nice face for me! 

And here are the parents of the crazy children. 
Would you like a peach? Pearl will share. 
I've refused to buy apples all summer, since I don't want to pay triple price for out of season fruit shipped up from South America. Peregrine has been waiting a long time for apple season to arrive! 

I think I'm going to be a crazy chicken lady someday. They're so beautiful, and I miss the little backyard flock we had a few years ago. 
Before leaving Walter's, I ask if they know of anyone nearby selling eggs. We continue around the loop to find a farm with this little shack containing a vintage fridge, a slot for money, and a sign asking $3 per dozen. I happily tuck my money inside and take four cartons of fresh eggs. 

They are just what I hope to find, beautiful shades of green and brown in varying sizes.  Down the road a way I fry some up for lunch and they don't disappoint with their dark golden yolks. I'm so thankful to give the kids these wonderful experiences, getting to visit farms and share in my excitement of finding good food! I'm so thankful to Harvest Hosts who have provided us with this opportunity. I love that we get to be up close and personal with small farms. 

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