Saturday, July 7, 2018

In the Valley

The Willamette Valley is my homeland. When we visit I love to have Tom drive me around while I look at the crops growing in the fields. As times change, so does what grows here. There are still hop fields with vines climbing up lines strung on tall poles. Grass seed fiends are still prominent. I wonder if they still burn them off after harvest. 

We saw fields of other seed crops, both vegetable and flower seeds. There are still bean fields, but now they are bush beans, picked by machine. No more pole bean fields, where I spent so many weeks of my summers picking beans in the August heat. 

What we noticed most was the increase of filbert ( hazelnut) orchards, huge blackberry fields, and vineyards. I guess Oregon hazelnuts, blackberries and wine are doing well. Count me in on the hazelnuts and blackberries!

In fact it was blackberry time and I had to find myself some to eat, now! I knew I could find them at the small French Prairie Farm and Nursery.
Yep! I bought a single carton. 
 They also had ice cream! Umpqua ice cream, blackberry flavor! 
I sat at one of their picnic tables, surrounded by flowers, and added berries to each bite of ice cream. Yum! I ate half of the box that way. Tom had a few, but mostly I ate them. I finished them off with cereal at the hotel the next morning. 

Then of course we looked at all of the plants the nursery had to offer. I even bought a begonia I had been looking for that I could't find around here. 

This was all after spending the morning through a late lunch with my sisters and cousins doing our "Roots" tour, that I posted previously, and on our second day in Oregon, after touring Portland gardens the day before. 

The day was winding down, but we still had time before heading to a late dinner near our hotel in Woodburn, so we went to Al's. 
 Yep. More flowers and plants. We are incurable. The funny thing is we thought we had said goodbye to sister Laurie and Arnold, when across the display floor I hear her say "Hi". She can't resist Al's either, stops there whenever she is in the area. She lives in Winlock, Washington. 

 Look at this curly plant! Weird. 

 Then I saw these face pots. I recognized then as from an artisan from Sherwood, Oregon whose work I have purchased before. Sadly, he passed on, and there will be no more of his creations, so I bought one. 
 Maybe I can keep his tillandsia "hair" alive this time. 
We said goodbye, again, to Laurie and Arnold, and were on our way to the hotel and then dinner. 

Near the hotel is an Elmer's Restaurant, where they make German pancakes. That's what I had, with berries!
And thus ended our second day in the valley. 


  1. What a colorful and tasty post! Thank you, Linda!
    Willamette Valley is our favorite destination too; I can't wait to be there in fall again.

  2. Wow that pancake is huge! Being od Austrian and Prussian background I have had Pfannebkuchen of many variations. My facourite ones were the salty ones with bis of bacon and of course the potato ones.
    Your love of floral displays is one of mine too. Thanks for sharing so much beauty.

  3. Thank you for sharing such beautiful flower photos! And the berries look yummy!

  4. I immediately recognized that Elmer’s German Pancake before I read your post. Good stuff you’re talking about there. Where I grew up as a child is very different than the Willamette Valley.This time of year in Texas you hear the dried, brown grass crunch under your feet, fried to a crisp by the hot sun.

  5. You are having such a good time. I am so curious about what sort of begonia you bought because you couldn't find it around where you live. There seems to be no end to the nurseries near where you live. It must be a special begonia. Please do tell.

    1. It's a Begonia boliviensis 'Bonfire Orange', commonly used in hanging baskets. I could find enormous baskets of them, but not single plants. In any of the nurseries around here that had them, they went fast.

  6. I think you found flower nursery paradise! That place has the most beautiful flowers. I would stop every time I got a chance too. Sigh. I think I really was supposed to live in the Pacific Northwest.

    Jim and I toured that area in 2007. I’ve been wanting to back. It is all so beautiful.

  7. That's funny. Saying good-bye to your sister then promptly meeting her at a nursery!
    Your Blackberries are a few weeks earlier than ours. That German pancake looks so good.

  8. How wonderful. Such vibrant colors in the flowers. And you're making me jealous with all this ice cream. Maybe I should have some, eh? :-)

  9. we misssed eating blackberries but were cool in 67 degree weather at oregon coast, now home 3 days driving later to 107 degrees...

  10. Everything is so pretty there! Those blackberries are amazing! and so is that ice cream. I made a blueberry pie yesterday and had a large piece with vanilla ice cream. The most amazing thing though is that German pancake with berries. Going now to comment on your July 4th post. :)

  11. What a terrific day with bright colors , good food and a surprise meeting your relative again.

  12. What a fun day! I love blackberries and totally want some in ice cream.

  13. The flowers are all awesome. but I did like Al's the best! Great color and texture combinations:)

  14. Ice cream, berries, and plants -- perfect day for the Reeders. I must say I have never seen anything quite like that German pancake!
    Now if I ever get to the Willamette Valley, its wine will not be neglected in my post about it.

  15. Still shuddering a bit at the mention of bean picking. I only did it one day--- brutal job. But then the flowers and berries cheered me up. Loved the face pot.

  16. The big question in my mind is, what begonia did you buy? Oh so much glorious color at Al's and sweet to see Jeff Pinto's work there as well. Blackberry time - YUM!


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