Last night on the farm our electric fans turned on when the temperature plummeted below 32 degrees. It was the First Frost of the Blossom Season 2015! The blossoms are out about 3 weeks early from our usually warm winter (faux winter) and I have been anticipating the first frost for some time now. I call the frost line each and every night and I had a feeling that this was coming when I listened late last evening. We have 3 electric fans on our orchard and when they all get going it sounds like huge helicopters are landing with an important diplomat inside or there is some sort of an intense man hunt happening in our back yard.. It wakes you up suddenly and compels you to go outside to protect your crops. Our fruit orchard is surrounded by other orchards as well who use electric fans and in total there were about 15 fans frantically chopping away to bring the temperature UP in the wee small hours of the morning.
I immediately sprung out of bed because fans are not safe to be on in heavy wind or rain and I also wanted to make sure they all three had started correctly. I am not a big fan of freezing weather so I put on all of my jackets(ALL OF THEM) and headed out around 1am. Sure enough the 2 out of 3 were going strong but one of the fans was not running at all.
Fans have the ability to bring the temperature up any where between 1 and 15 degrees through the process of inversion. We only use electric fans on our farm and do not believe in burning diesel, using propane or using smudge pots because it is environmentally harsh and an outdated farming practice. After praying all the prayers and coaxing my Papi out of bed we got the 3rd fan up and running as well. Great Success!!!
My Hero, showing me how to set the fans manually and also have them start automatically when it drops below freezing. We were able to turn off the fans when they sun came out(8am) because it warms up the air significantly within minutes of sunrise. I was also trying to be mindful of the electric bill that will be rolling in next month.
Mt. View Orchards is our HOME and we always choose the most clean and safe way to protect our crops here. We are surrounded by the the Middle fork of the Hood River and the Trout creek. Both are teaming with life and we also have many animals that live nearby us that we are trying to be mindful of when we are carrying for our land not to mention our own health and desire to breath clean mountain spring air. These pear blossoms made my heart smile so I am sharing them with you this morning.
On Monday I prepared 20 bins of seasoned pear wood that my Papi brought down to one of our favorite restaurants Ned Ludd in NE Portland. I am excited to be heading there this evening with some friends to enjoy some of their wood fired magical eats. When I used to live in Portland the past decade, I would walk to this restaurant often in the evenings after work and order their trout because it is quite frankly the best thing I have ever eaten my whole life. If you haven't had the culinary pleasure of trying this place out I want to encourage you to make a reservation tonight because food cooked with fruit wood has the most glorious complex taste. Food cooked with fruit wood fire is the BEST! Test me on this one, I dare you!
It is also a way for us not to waste our fruit wood from our orchard renewal. We try to waste nothing here at Mt. View Orchards. New baby trees are planted in their place and the older trees get to go have a second life in preparing wood fired food in the city. Above is a photo of chef and owner Jason Francis French unloading the fruit wood from Mt. View Orchards. If Portland were to elect a culinary ambassador, Jason Francis French would be high in the running. We love Jason/Ned Ludd and it is a huge honor to collaborate with them each year with fruit wood and fruit. A Delicious Collaboration for sure!
Want to know when to visit the Hood River Valley to see the Blossoms this year. This weekend could be one of your best bests. The Month of April is usually a good time to come and the blossoms are out extra early this year! There is a blossom festival that runs the 17th-19th but that may be too late to really enjoy the drive on Hwy 35 this year to see the Hood River Valley in BLOOM.
You probably noticed that I am sharing more photos on this blog than I normally do and it is mainly because there are so many spectacular moments to share forward on the farm this week but to be really candid I am feeling pretty exhausted from staying up most the night with the fans. I am in my first year of farming and I am a bit of a newbie at staying up all night in the COLD. I am literally having trouble making complete sentences and I feel like I could use a good nap or cry or both. It normally takes me an hour to knock out a blog and its almost noon and I am about to post! I am so hopeful we will have a great crop next fall and that our fans did a wonderful job at protecting our blossoms. Before my parents invested in electric fans nights like last night would totally wipe our their crop and they would harvest a minimal amount of pears in the fall. I am a big HOPER and I am filled with great HOPE that last night did not damage our future crops and I Thank you for following along and praying all the prayers with me that we will have an abundant harvest at Mt.View Orchards in the Fall.
xoxo, your super grateful(yet sleepy) farmer.
PS. Sharing a quote by my dear friend Julie V. on Good Friday....."when our friends scatter, and darkness comes, and everything falls apart, and it seems the worst has happened, that this is when new life springs forth. My hope for you on this Good Friday is that all things in your life that need raised from the dead have the sweetness of hope blown and them. That we all know that this dark hopeless place is where miracles happens, lives are changed, and God shows up. Have hope today, and thankfulness that all is never lost, no person, no situation."