Sweet, easy and fun — that’s why they call it cherry picking. In 2012, Oregon had 12,500 acres of cherries producing more than 54,000 tons. That means there’s likely plenty of Bings, Royal Anns, Rainers and Chelans for your picking basket. Head out the eastern side of the Columbia River Gorge this summer to get your fill of cherries. The sunny, rolling hills of The Dalles, Mosier and the Hood River Valley offer U-pick, farm stands and more.
The folks at Root Orchards in Mosier have been a cherry growing family since 1878. U-pick everything from Early Robins to Tietons and enjoy beautiful views of the dry side of the Gorge. Root Orchards is open for picking seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. when cherries are on. Check their website for updates.
Find more Mosier U-pick at Evans Fruit Company, growing everything from great sour pie cherries to delicate Rainers. Evans is expecting an earlier than usual season this year (U-pick started June 13) and helpfully lists its varieties in ripening order on the website.
For certified organic cherries, stop in at Idiot’s Grace (named by owner Brian McCormick in a nod to the unpredictable nature of the farming business) in Mosier. This small family farm is Oregon Tilth Certified Organic. Look for sweet Bings, Lamberts, Vans, Reginas and Attikas as well as pie cherries. (Idiot’s Grace also grows pears and grapes, which become Memaloose and Idiot’s Grace wines.)