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Apple Picking at Highland Farm, Holliston, MA

DSC_2955DSC_2957On a trip to Boston we stopped for some apple picking with some friends. We went to Highland Farm in Holliston. They offer 11 varieties of apples but it was pretty late in the season so there were lots of apples on the ground. We mainly picked Pink Lady apples (my favorite!) and Honey Crisp. My daughter loved eating the apple straight from the tree with juice dripping down her chin. It is funny because each time we go out “foraging” for food, she eats a ton while we are picking but when I try to serve the same fruit on a plate she doesn’t show much interest. She did this when we went blueberry picking in Oregon and the same thing happened with the apples. Maybe eating straight off the tree… or just in nature is the trick? Or maybe she feels like she is getting a free meal? Anyone else notice this with children? Whatever the reason, we will try to do pick-your-own more often! DSC_2956

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Farm Visit: Harley Goat Farm, Pescadaro

I took a little trip out to Pescadaro over the weekend. One of my most favorite stops is the Harley Goat Farm. I have been to this farm several times now and every time it is just as charming and well worth the stop! This working dairy farm is a perfect place to visit with some goats, sample their cheese in their cheese shop and enjoy the beautiful weather and scenery of Pescadaro. The farm buildings are painted with their own goat milk paint which they also sell in the store. They also are very water conscience and collect rain water in large cisterns. You can get right up to their herd of goats and they even had a 3 week old goat out for visitors to see. There is also a small herb and flower garden which they use to grow their own edible petals and herbs to add to their cheeses.

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Inside the building they have a hayloft which they use for their seasonal farm dinners. The dinners are a communal five course meal prepared with ingredients from the farm or sourced locally. The loft is really a magical place and has a small deck that overlooks the farm. I would love to eat dinner here one day although it would have to be a special occasion at its price point!  DSC_2564 DSC_2567DSC_2573 DSC_2574DSC_2565

Perhaps my most favorite part of the farm is the cheese shop. Enter through a vibrantly goat milk painted door and you are greeted by a row of baskets to fill with your choice of beautiful cheeses, infused oils, honey, or goat milk body products. Personally my favorite cheeses are their feta (which is on the salty side) and their apricot goat cheese round. They also sell freshly made goat cheese ravioli, farm eggs and cheesecake. If you do come to visit do bring a cooler to put your cheeses in for the ride home or bring your own baguette to eat your cheese right away on the beach (a 5 minute drive from the farm). The cheese shop doesn’t sell any crackers or bread so I always like to bring some along. You can also pick up bread at Arcangeli Grocery on the main road. I highly recommend the Garlic Herb Artichoke Bread. Yum!

If you are a cheese lover and you are looking for a little day trip, this is the place for you!

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Blueberry Picking on Sauvie Island, Oregon

We stopped by Sauvie Island for a little blueberry picking on our trip in Oregon. Sauvie Island is about 10 miles from downtown Portland and is predominantly a farming and wildlife refuge. The island is full of fruit and vegetable farms offering u-pick harvests. We stopped at Bella Organic Farm. The blueberries bushes were full of ripe blueberries and we picked almost 8 pounds of blueberries. We stopped just at one farm for picking but I would love to come back and explore the island a little bit more.

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Fruit Loop: Hood River, Oregon

We spent some time in Oregon last week and stayed a night in Hood River. The Hood River County Fruit Loop is about one hour from Portland located in the Columbia River Gorge. We spent one day exploring part of the Fruit Loop, a 35 mile loop which connects farms and orchards. There are about 32 stops along the way.

The first stop we made was to Cody Orchards Fruit Stand. We bought some cherries from the stand to enjoy throughout the day. You can also pick your own apples, pears and cherries here depending on the season. I really enjoyed the little garden right outside the fruit stand.

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The second stop we made was to Packard Orchard and Bakery. They had a little fresh fruit but seemed to specialize in jams, preserves, and baked goods. They also had ice cream. The view from the orchard was beautiful and you had a direct line of sight of Mount Hood. I did like their display of pickled veg including pickled beets, jalapeños, dilly beans, ginger pickled radish, and asparagus to name a few. If you are a sweets lover this might just be the place for you with the assortment of very large cookies, and fruit-packed pastries. I don’t eat items with processed sugar added so this wasn’t the place for me but I did enjoy the view.

DSC_2324DSC_2330 DSC_2321 DSC_2325The third stop was to Hood River Lavender and this was one of my favorite stops! This is an organic lavender farm with beautiful views and smells! They had rows and rows of lavender which you could cut yourself plus they had lots of other flowers interplanted. They also had a portion sectioned off for wildflowers with a trellised grape entrance. This place was buzzing with bees and butterflies. The tiny shop offered lavender oil, lotions, soaps and much more. DSC_2334 DSC_2335 DSC_2336 DSC_2338 DSC_2340 DSC_2343 DSC_2344 DSC_2345Our last stop was Cascade Alpacas and Foothills Yarn and Fiber. We were greeted by several adorable and gentle alpacas. They had been sheered in May so their coats were not as fluffy as the alpaca I remember from my trip to Peru. However, they were still really soft. They also had a few baby alpaca born just a few weeks ago! Inside the store there was yarn from their alpaca both dyed and natural colors. They also had lots of other yarns from other places in their well stocked store. If you are a knitter this is the place for you! We bought some yarn from their baby alpaca which they label with the name of the alpaca so you know which babe offered their wool to you! Plus the staff here were welcoming and very knowledgeable. They took the time to explain how they care for their animals as well as the process of making their yarn.

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If you are in Oregon, I would highly recommend the Fruit Loop and the Hood River area. There is nothing better than eating freshly picked fruit surrounded by beautiful scenery!