Canyons, Peaks and Orchards

Greg Robeson and Randy Kiyokawa, Guest Author
May 17, 2013 (Updated August 28, 2013)

When Randy Kiyokawa was a kid, he dreamed of growing up to be a policeman or a disk jockey. His parents had other ideas. Nice thing is they happened to own orchards in one of the most stunning places on earth. After college and three years working in Portland, Randy returned home to join the third-generation family operation that began in 1911 when his grandfather emigrated from Japan. Randy now grows over 100 varieties of apples — plus cherries, pears and much more — on nearly 200 acres near Parkdale, at the base of Mount Hood. Kiyokawa Family Orchards has a bustling farm stand that welcomes visitors when the fruits are ready to pick. He also has quite a following of chefs, bakers and farmers market customers who’ve discovered his unique and extensive line of heirloom varieties. Here’s how Randy recommends taking a tasty two-day trek around the eastern and southern sides of Mt. Hood.

Start your day:
If I’m headed east through the Columbia River Gorge, I’ll pull over in Mosier and grab a Sumatra “pour over” at Ground Central Coffee Station. They use beans delivered fresh daily from 10 Speed Coffee in Hood River, and this special drip cone method really brings out the intense local-roast flavors.

Meet the maker:
In The Dalles, the historic Sunshine Mill is home to Quenett Winery, where you can taste their Columbia Valley-grown Barbera and Grenache, and probably chat it up with vintners James and Molli Martin, part of the sixth-generation family that saved this 130-year-old landmark.

Unique sleeps:
In Maupin, steelhead fishing and whitewater rafting rule, and the Imperial River Company is the place to unwind after a day on the Deschutes River. This quaint inn features 25 Oregon-themed guest rooms located just steps from the stream.

A treat worth driving out of your way:
Eagle Bakery is a hidden gem in Madras. They’re a small family-owned shop open on Fridays and Saturdays only. Get there early for one of their signature cinnamon rolls or a daily special like biscuits and gravy.

Get out the camera:
Heading down the backside of Mt. Hood on Highway 35, drive past Cooper Spur Resort up to Cloud Cap viewpoint. It’s one of the most amazing views of the mountain you’ll find from any direction.

You’ve gotta see this:
What could be better in the summer and fall than dozens of fruit orchards and roadside stands brimming with just-picked apples, pears, and cherries? The Hood River Fruit Loop is 35 miles of U-pick nirvana, wineries, fruit stands and seasonal events. Bring a picnic and enjoy it under the trees with some fresh-pressed cider.

Can’t-miss dinner:
There are two restaurants in Hood River that are my go-to places when I want a great meal. Celilo Restaurant and Bar does wonders with locally grown and foraged ingredients. At Stonehedge Gardens & Bistro I love to grab a seat outside on their massive stone patio.

Looking for more culinary inspiration? Check out our other Trails to Feast around the state.