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Fill a shopping cart with unique varieties at Kiyokawa orchards

Kiyokawa Orchards offers four varieties of U-pick apples this weekend

Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea.
Kiyokawa Orchards offers four varieties of U-pick apples this weekend

Editor’s Note: Kirby Neumann-Rea slacked off and went on vacation last week, and waited until after deadline to write a “Tales of the Fruit Loop” piece, while reporters Adam Lapierre, Ben McCarty, Julie Raefield-Gobbo and Esther Smith all turned in their articles on time for the Oct.17 Kaleidoscope feature. The locations were chosen more or less at random; there are numerous other wonderful places to visit. So look for photos of some of the other Fruit Loop attractions in our Harvest Festival coverage next week.

PARKDALE — Visitors or locals can expect something they’ve never seen before at Kiyokawa Family Orchards in Parkdale.

On a visit Friday with my friend Lee, from Ohio, there was something at the fruit stand I’d never noticed, despite making 6-8 visits every fall to Randy Kiyokawa’s spread.

(I counted at least five varieties of apples or pears I’d never heard of. Every year Randy seems to have a new, often unique, variety to share. The fruit stand also features one of the largest selections of crunchy Asian pears in the valley.)

The main new thing, for me, was the shopping carts. I am told they’ve been in use there for years. I just never noticed them — probably because I was making a bee-line for the famous Comices, known as the Cadillac of pears.

The carts are just one more surprising touch to a place that bustles with activity and bursts with fruit every fall. If its range of fruit is not the largest in the county, it comes close.

This visit I tried the lemon-sized Butter pears, unique to Kiyokawa. The smooth quality befits the name; get them while you can.

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Lee was visiting from his home in Toledo, for the 2012 Homecoming at Linfield, where we became friends. Lee grew up in an agricultural area of northern California and spent his college years at Linfield and U of O. Lee has a fine eye for beauty; his Facebook posts and photos from Toledo make Lake Eerie look downright romantic, and I never knew anyone with such an appreciation for Oregon clouds.

So it was fun to see what surprised Lee at this rural orchard: the kiwi fruit arbor next to the parking lot. “I didn’t know they grew that way,” he said.

The trellised arbor was impressive for its thick, green canopy. A mother and child sat under it, eating yogurt to go with the fruit they had just purchased.

Though there are orchards closer to Mount Hood, just up Clear Creak or Cooper Spur roads, part of the charm of Kiyokawa’s is that it is the southernmost fruit stand in the county. Yet it is hardly out of the way, and draws numerous visitors who enjoy the bounteous pre-picked bins or grab a basket, or shopping cart, and venture out for the u-pick.

Just leave some Comice for me.

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