Hurried harvest, but time for pie

Parkdale weigh station operator treats fruit truck drivers to slice of homemade

PIES are the day’s reward at Diamond pre-size, thanks to Kathryn Widman.

Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea
PIES are the day’s reward at Diamond pre-size, thanks to Kathryn Widman.

At Diamond Fruit in Parkdale, the busiest fruit delivery day is also the tastiest.

Monday was annual “pie day” at the facility’s weigh station, where orchards deliver fruit for weighing before it is taken inside for pre-sizing of the Bartletts, Anjous and Boscs from upper valley orchards.

Kathryn Widman was waiting, not just with recording tags and a clipboard, but also with marionberry and apple.


After each delivery is recorded, drivers including Salvador Santillan of Parkdale’s Valley Crest Orchards, choose their slices; Santillan asked for blueberry cream.

“I don’t know when I started doing this,” Widman said of pie day. She serves her baked goods on the one day she figures it will be busiest.

”It makes them happy, and I like to bake. The kitchen is my favorite room in the house,” Widman said.

Drivers can choose from lemon, chocolate, coconut cream, peach, apple, strawberry, cherry, marionberry, and apple.

Widman, a 43-year Diamond employee, also lines the window of the weigh station with samples of the largest individual pears each season, brought by growers.

Most of the pies’ fruit ingredients are given by local growers, including Scott Halliday’s blueberries for the popular blueberry cream pie, said Widman, who lives in Parkdale.

Widman started as a sorter for a year, and then the woman working the scales passed away and then-manager Chuck Fioretti, now of Hood River, asked her to take the job. “He said, ‘I want someone who’ll stay with it.’” She jokes, “I think I filled that. He’s gone and I’m still here!”

Plant manager Doug Hedges said the fruit is coming in steadily this week, with about two more weeks of deliveries before the growers start taking Asian and other specialty pears directly to Diamond Central in Odell, where all the pears are packed.

Widman posts a sign inside the weigh station commemorating the single-day record for one grower (544 bins) and for total one-day delivery (218 loads, 3,835 bins) on Sept. 23, 1995.

She does not remember if it was pie day.

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