Out in Hood River, the closest large town to Portland along the Columbia, there's a loop road that travels through the nearby countryside that's called the Fruit Loop because of all the fruit orchards that it passes. We've been out there tons of times - it's only about an hour from Portland, the scenery is fantastic, and the fruit is the same. While my mom was visiting, we struck east because cherries are in season in a major way right now. Hood River has a bunch of cherry farms, but we got lucky at the first one we stopped at and picked over 10 pounds of cherries!
I don't know about you (and I'm a little ashamed to admit it), but I never even knew how cherries grew! I mean, I knew generally that they grow on trees, but I never expected them to hang in such great numbers off of every branch of the cherry tree! It was surprising, having only seen ornamental cherry trees before. It took no time at all for us to pick our 10 pounds.
After we said goodbye to the cute farm cat, we went up the road a bit to a lavender farm. The lavender festival was the week before and it was the perfect time of year for it - this farm had u-pick, so we snipped huge bunches of lavender for $3 each.
Not bad, and all with a fairly lovely view of Mt. Hood in the background. To finish off the day on the Fruit Loop, we stopped at a winery and enjoyed the first wine tasting that any of us had ever been to. It was nice and relaxing and we tried some really tasty wines! We'll have to do it again sometime.