A Pear in a Harry and David Tree….Just for You

A Pear in a Harry and David Tree

I think it was his description of the frost air settling at the bottom of the pear orchard that was the final hook for me. How, when this happens, they steal silently from their homes in the pre-dawn hours to coddle the trees. They start up the modern day windmills to diffuse the cold air and then, they spread silently throughout the orchard. Crouching down, they light the small heaters, spaced every few trees, which soon radiate a warmth like a down comforter protecting each tree on the chilly night.

Harry and David Pear Orchard

What I wouldn’t give to see this from up the hill. The gentle glow, the frost air, the dark sky, the silhouettes of the trees. Seems like there should be cowbells tinkling in the distance.

About a week ago, I spent four days in Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley with 12 other food and wine writers touring Harry and David, an Oregon-based fruit and food gift company started over 75 years ago. Matt Borman, Director of Orchards, for Harry and David, spent Thursday morning modestly telling us how much care and attention goes into growing their renowned Royal Riviera comice pears.

From the way the pears are quickly flicked from their branches to preserve the stems, to the way they are stacked sideways in the “buckets,” like a zipper, to prevent bruising. From the way the workers who harvest their pears are housed and paid to the meals they are fed alongside Harry and David employees. From the heaters they light on cold nights to the puffer pheromone boxes they hang in the trees confusing the threatening codling moth and sending him into a fatal frenzy to find his one true love like a character in a Shakespeare tragedy. A fitting end to a moth here in the land of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

Clearly, I’m smitten.

The Last of the BeansThe Purple Hues of AutumnCharlie's Candy Factory

Tucked in and around our visit to the orchards, we sniffed our way through Harry and David’s “chocolate factory,” which is headed up by a third-generation candy-maker named, Charlie. Yes, Charlie. We marched into the “gift factory” to be schooled in the art of gift basket assembly. We were wined and dined at local favorites like Ashland’s Peerless Restaurant and Jacksonville’s Déjà Vu Bistro. We arose each morning to find homemade pastries and fresh coffee in the charming kitchen of Jacksonville’s Magnolia Inn. We were treated to an 8-course meal prepared by Harry and David’s Chef Tim. Each course paired with a preview of a new Harry and David wine due out early next year.

Deja Vu Wine Bar and Bistro, Jacksonville, ORTacos from The Peerless Restaurant, Ashland, ORJacksonville's Magnolia InnThe Charming Magnolia Inn, Jacksonville, ORLovely Barista at Good Bean Coffee, Jacksonville, ORPumpkins outside Harry and David's Medford, Oregon store

For all of this we are truly grateful; however, I believe one particular meal stands out in our minds. The evening we arrived, our spectacular host for the trip, Sandy Coughlin author of the inspiring blog, Reluctant Entertainer, invited us all over for dinner. She shared a meal, her home, and her family with us. It’s one thing to host 12 people for dinner, and it’s quite another when those 12 people are food and wine writers and photographers.

Treated to Dinner

I’m home now, but I feel like I left a little bit of myself in the luminous Rogue River Valley and especially in the pear orchard.

Harry and David's Pear Orchard, Rogue River Valley, Oregon

I know that when the foggy, frost air moves into my own valley, my thoughts will turn to the Harry and David orchard with the warm glow and I’ll say a word of thanks for those folks who care for the land from which we all eat.

The Harry and David Gang

Brenda-A Farm Girl’s Dabbles, moi, Brian-A Thought for Food, Sandy-Reluctant Entertainer, Heather-Farmgirl Gourmet, Dara-Cookin’ Canuck, Matt-A Good Time with Wine, Gaby-What’s Gaby Cooking, Julie-PB Fingers, Aggie-Aggie’s Kitchen, an Maggie-Three Many Cooks (Not pictured: the lovely Sommer-A Spicy Perspective, and talented Kelly-Martha Stewart Living)

Thank you to Sandy, my 12 other talented cohorts pictured above (all with inspiring websites of their own…click on their names to stop by their sites,) and all of the incredible folks at Harry and David for sponsoring this trip and educating me about their fabulous company. I was not paid for this opportunity and all opinions are, of course, my own.

Harry and David's Applegate Gift Basket Classic

Being the generous folks they are, Harry and David are giving away one of their Classic Applegate Gift Baskets filled with their exquisite pears so one of you can have a little taste of the Rogue Valley.

Should you be interested, leave me a comment by Friday, 10/26/12, at midnight PST saying something like, “Throw my hat in the ring.” or “Oregon ROCKS!” (To do so click on the green comments link at the top or bottom of this post, enter your name, email address – which I never share – and message, type in the scrambled letters and hit Post Comment.) I’ll draw a name and announce the winner at the beginning of next week.

Cheers, my friends!

PS: Should you be looking for something to make with pears, here’s a shameless plug (the tie-in was too good) for my latest AMNW appearance demonstrating my Chicken with Pears, Sweet Onions, and White Wine. Recipe in the latest 1859 Oregon’s Magazine or on the AMNW website.

 

 

Comments

  1. I don’t need to win, but yes, Oregon Rocks! And I love this post and your generous words, Carrie. You’re the best and 1859 Magazine is lucky to have you. I agree, H&D is an amazing company …

  2. Oh my goodness. First: your photos are stunning, once again. Second: I recently appeared on local TV and also forgot my cutting board!! What is it with TV stations not having extra cutting boards laying around?? ;-) Third: loved reading your story – you are an excellent story teller!

    • Thank you Liz…and while we’re on the discussion of what TV stations should have backstage…how about wipes and paper towels??

  3. I don’t need to win either, but I wanted to let you know that reading your recap took me back to being in Medford. What a fun few days and it was amazing meeting you!! We need to go back for a reunion soon! xo

  4. Lisa Galeski says:

    Of course Oregon Rocks, and of course I’d like to win! By the way, I just made your most recent AMNW recipe – the chicken with sweet onions and pears, last night. Huge hit! I am a pretty good cook and try a lot of new things and this by far was our recent favorite. I love it when you are on AMNW, and I agree that 1859 is lucky to have you! Looking forward to the next recipe !

    • Lisa, thank you for letting me know that my family is not the only one that loves the chicken and pear dish…even if my family is now saying, “Haven’t we had this dish about 50 times already?”

  5. Oregon Rocks! I want in. Thanks for the opportunity…..Sandy @RE rocks too.
    Kindest regards,
    Barbara†
    @madreminutes

  6. Your post was beautiful and pictures were stunning! And I would love to win! :)

  7. Oregon and you both Rock! I love reading your blog each month…and reading about your trip reminds me what great gifts Harry and David baskets make at Christmas.

  8. Carrie, another wonderful combination of writing and photos. You have a gift, girl. Thanks for using it. You rock, my whole family thinks pears rock, and I’d love a chance at the basket.

  9. Laurie Walker says:

    Toss my name in the “pear basket”! This post helped to confirm the gift baskets I’ll be sending to friends and family this year – nothing quite represents Oregon as well as Harry and David. Having grown up in Medford, the fabulous photos certainly reminded me of the days we spent exploring beautiful southern Oregon. Thank you, Carrie!
    Laurie

  10. Throw my hat in the ring. My husband says that Oregon rocks! He gets to go there for work, but I’ve never been. Maybe I’ll get my chance to join him in a few years when the kids are off to college.

  11. I love Harry and david. Order from them a lot!!!!

  12. Oregon Rocks!

  13. Karna Leinbach says:

    Hi Carrie,
    I love reading your post and your photos are always so beautiful! I love to share your blog with my Seattle friends!

  14. Yes, of course Oregon rocks! And you were a lucky girl to be wined and dined in beautiful Southern OR. Looks like a fab trip. And gives me a renewed love of H & D pears and all their goodies. Katie and I have been eating a pear almost every morning-yum. Glad you had the chance to go. Miss you (and OR) lots!

  15. Holly Spearing says:

    Oregon Rocks (so does Oregon State…and you Carrie!)

  16. Oregon rocks!!! :)

  17. Carrie,

    Oregon Rocks and GO DUCKS. Maybe I will get extra points to win the basket if I am a DUCK fan. I have a special person in mind to donate the basket to. Please Will, pick my name.

    Anne

  18. I live in Jacksonville and it was fun to see all of the photos that you took of my stomping grounds. I’m glad you had such a wonderful visit down here. Before they started heating lamps in the orchards, they used to turn on giant fans on freezing nights and we would wake to the sound of helicopter type sounds and knew that it was a cold one outside, as we were tucked tight in our warm beds.

    • Kristin, I love love love that story. Thank you for sharing. See, I knew there was something about those cold nights and taking care of the pear trees that makes everyone feel warm and cozy. I loved your hometown. Cannot wait to go back!

  19. Wendy lambeth says:

    Well …of course ,Oregon Rocks…and the Harry and David pears are to die for..

    • Wendy lambeth says:

      Quel moderation?

      • Not to worry, Wendy….you have been moderated and found to be okay. In all seriousness, it’s just a little “check point” system to prevent those spammers from filling up my comment box with ads for male enhancement medication.

  20. Looks lovely! And of course, Oregon rocks!

  21. Kirsten Crombie says:

    FPE 2nd graders are the best! :-)

    Thanks for the lovely start to my morning.

  22. Oregon does Rock! And I <3 those pears! drool!

  23. oregon rocks!

  24. Oooh, Oregon rocks indeed! I live in Portland but have yet to experience anything Harry & David…

  25. Melissa Nelson says:

    How fun! Loved all of the photos. Looks like it was a wonderful get away for you! Please throw my name in too;)

  26. Sarah Case says:

    I <3 Harry & David's!

  27. Yvette Novak says:

    I’ll give it a whirl…Love Harry and David

  28. Oh my, enter me! I’d love to try those beautiful pears! :)

  29. Carrie, what a fun trip and the pictures are just lovely. Yes, Oregon rocks, but we both know that ;)

  30. Jennifer Sigl says:

    I feel like Harry & David is part of my DNA. Every year we would recieve the Christmas Basket and then the fruit of the month…a gift from my father’s company. It holds so many great memories and I am thrilled this company still exists, keeping up the tradition and creating new ones…so glad you had such a wonderful opportunity!

  31. Oh my! I would love to win. :)

  32. Carrie,
    I’d love a chance to win the basket. This Oregon native loves pears from the valley. Yum! I especially admire the fine manner in which Harry and David employees are treated.
    Thanks so much.
    Pears for Pat Please

  33. I don’t need to win either, but you sure captured the beauty in both Oregon and Harry & David! I love their company, and it’s too bad we didn’t get to experience that trip together. Next time… in Austin for BHF. Plan it!

  34. Sandi Woods says:

    How about You Rock and Thanks for the chance to taste Harry & David’s. I have sent gift baskets to my Daughter from them but I have never had the opportunity to taste any of their products. She lives in Ca and has always loved pears since she was a Baby so I always send her a Gift basket with Pears as my way of telling her how much I miss her!

  35. Your recap makes me relax. Lovely words and photos that take me back to a beautiful visit to Oregon and Harry and David. It was so nice to meet you, and your great smile and tinkly laughter. (not entering the giveaway, BTW)

  36. I would love to visit Oregon someday!!

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