As of Tuesday, April 22, 2014
We Eat Well — "You can't find gooseberry pie anywhere, but we get it here every year," said Longview's Harry Blair, who ate at the Parkdale Grange Blossom Dinner with his wife, Dorothy, and his brother, Terry, and his wife, Suzie. Harry and Terry get Granger Tommy Elliott to sign the Grange's "Feeding the Flock" cookbook, which contains the gooseberry pie recipe. The couples visit Blossom Craft Fair, and come to the Grange for dinner and go to the West Side Fire Department Sunday breakfast. "We do it every year. We do the orchard run. We love it." Suzie said, "The trees are really good this year." Harry said that when they arrived at the Grange, they were told, "Grab your pie, have your dinner, and you can always grab that second piece, so I did that." Said Suzie, "That's the way to eat here. We eat well."
Blossom Fest is first and foremost about the blossoms and right now the Hood River Valley is absolutely covered in whites and pinks thanks to the fruit trees in the valley’s many orchards that are currently blooming. But fruit trees aren’t the only parts of the valley in bloom; the wildflowers in the east hills are going crazy, as well. This photo, taken Friday afternoon from the Whoop-dee Trail off the Old Dalles Drive east of Hood River, shows both the blooming orchards of the Hood River Valley, as well as the yellow balsam root and the red Indian paintbrush currently blooming in the east hills.
Adult Center importance — Hood River Valley Adult Center volunteers Mida Kay, Jinx Woods and Paul Zastrow talk to locals at the weekend’s Blossom Craft Fair in Odell about the center’s need for help — especially with the Meals on Wheels program — and pass out the monthly calendar of activities. They also held two free raffle drawings, one for a $15 credit at the center’s thrift store.
Odell Lioness Raffle — Michelle Guertin sells raffle tickets at the Odell Lioness booth during the craft show, held at the fairgrounds. The Lionesses assembled a gift basket — or actually, several — filled with over $1,200 of merchandise donated by area businesses. The winning ticket will be drawn during their May meeting.
Beautiful music — Members of the Gorge Strings, under the direction of Deniese Sajdak, entertain the attendees of the Blossom Craft Fair Sunday afternoon. Donations and proceeds from a bake sale help support the all-volunteer group. The string ensemble welcomes beginning and intermediate string players. Visit http://bit.ly/1nkG3kA for more info.
Lust for lavender — Rebecca Brochu tends to one of the 3,000 lavender plants at Hood River Lavender in Odell Saturday. The lavender farm, which features 70 different varieties of lavender, was open last weekend specially for Blossom Fest. Although the lavender isn’t yet in bloom (that occurs in June) guests enjoyed hot lavender tea and lavender shortbread cookies while perusing the many different homemade organic lavender products the farm has for sale, including facial soaps, essential oils, jellies, perfumes, potpourri, and many others. Hood River Lavender owner Diane Orcutt said the farm will be open for u-pick seven days a week starting Thursday, May 1. Once again, the annual Lavender Daze festival will be held at Hood River Lavender during the third weekend of July.
Quality quilting – Cindy Sherlock studies quilt blocks before voting for her three favorites, during the quilt show at the Blossom Craft Fair at Wy’east Middle School. The winning blocks will become part of the 2014 Harvest Fest Quilt.
Edie Pfaff pours one of Mt. Hood Winery’s many award-winning spring releases at the winery’s tasting room in Pine Grove on Saturday. Guests enjoyed tastings and food pairings while drinking in the sweeping views of the Hood River Valley. Mt. Hood Winery recently came home with multiple gold, silver, and bronze medals for a number of their varieties during the 2014 Great NW Wine Competition. The winery is one of many in the Columbia River Gorge that are participating in the sixth-annual Columbia Gorge Passport Month.
All-you-can-eat — Sunday's annual West Side Fire Department all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast drew its usual large crowd, but the headgear looked a little different as firefighters greeted guests. Brian Lay, center, sold raffle tickets, and handed out the accustomed red fire hats along with other fun things for the kids, and pens and fire prevention material to the adults. On Lay's head, and Don Moore’s and Becky Beckner’s, were fuzzy bunny ears. Volunteers poured coffee and took breakfast orders wearing purple or blue ears. Volunteer Steve Benton explained, "The breakfast doesn't happen on Easter Sunday every year, so this year one of the members went and bought a bunch, as a way to celebrate. I think I'm the only guy in pink ears."