East Countys u-pick berry bushes beckon
Grab a basket, print our handy guide and head for the hills
Phil Van Hise likes to say that blueberries chose him. He bought 25 acres from longtime farmer Ernie Blouser in the 1970s, and there were already 3 acres of bushes planted in neat rows on the property.
Now, along with selling nursery stock to nurseries nationwide, he runs a u-pick blueberry operation every summer.
'Machine picking is no fun,' Van Hise says. 'I like having a lot of people come through here.'
After his customers pull up the gravel road, Van Hise tells them all the same thing.
'Grab a bucket and go anywhere you like,' he says.
The Boring farmer doesn't use any nets.
'We share with the birds,' he says. 'And the bunnies.'
Although his berries are still a tad on the green side, he estimates he'll be open for u-picking sometime the week of July 10. The season is typically 12 weeks long.
'We share with the birds and the bunnies.' - Phil Van Hise, blueberry farmer
Blueberries have a shelf life of three to four weeks if kept in the refrigerator. They freeze nicely and can be dethawed anytime for cakes, pies or jams (see recipes at the bottom of the page).
They're also known for their healthy properties, including a wealth of antioxidants.
'Look at Ernie,' Van Hise says. 'He lived to be 102. It might have been the blueberries.'
East County's a great place to live come berry season. With 11 u-pick farms in the area, there's bound to be a farm convenient to just about every berry enthusiast.
At Thompson Farms, which grows more than 40 kinds of berries and vegetables, marionberries are the fruit of the moment. By next week, boysenberries and loganberries will be ripening, and green beans should be ready for picking soon.
The farm was started by Victor and Betty Thompson more than 50 years ago. Today, their son, Larry, runs the operation, which has two u-pick sites - Southeast 190th Avenue in Gresham, just south of the fire station, and on Southeast 242nd Avenue and Bohna Park Road. Thompson Farms also runs a farm stand in Sandy off Highway 26, next to the Sandy historic building on the corner of Hoffman and Pioneer.
You can also find Thompson produce in the Gresham, Portland and Hollywood farmers' markets on Saturdays, the Milwaukie and Boring farmers' markets on Sundays and in Portland on Wednesdays.
Operations Manager Julie Paul says the farm does not use any insecticides or fungicides, managing bug problems instead by intense crop rotation and cover crops. Pickers glean crops all day long for the stands, so customers are sure to get a fresh batch of whatever fruit or vegetable they want to buy.
So go ahead, grab a bucket, wander through the fragrant rows of sweet berries, and pick to your heart's content.
U-pick farms in East County
Glovers Century Farm
Miriam and Clifton Glover
29177 S.E. Highway 224
A-1 blueberries. No spray on bushes. Call for availability.
28951 S.E. Church Road
Blueberries, peaches. Days and hours vary. Please call.
Phil Van Hise
30425 S.E. Haley Road
Blueberries, u-pick and ready pick. Hours are Sunday through Friday, 8 a.m. until dark. Closed Saturday. From Gresham, take Highway 26 east to Haley Road, turn left, go 0.6 miles to blueberry sign.
Don Smith Tree Farm
Blueberries at Estacada
22509 S. Stormer Road
Blueberries, ripe around July 1 (or call). Five acres, clean patch, heavy crop. U-pick is 60 cents a pound or picked by order only. Call Don or Betty at 503-631-2915. Closed Sunday.
Larry and Betty Thompson
24727 S.E. Bohna Park Road
Strawberries plus other berries, veggies picked daily for you. U-pick also. Farm stand open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., closed Mondays. 40 crops on 100 acres. Crop update line, 503-658-4640. No insecticides or fungicides used. Five miles south of Gresham on Southeast 242nd Avenue.
Cereghino Farms Produce Market
Michael and Joshua Cereghino
18641 N.E. Sandy Blvd.
Season runs through November. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday; from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Fresh fruits and vegetables in season. Call ahead, orders taken. Canning supplies available. Take Interstate 84 to exit 13. Go north to Sandy Boulevard. We are on the corner of 185th and Sandy Boulevard. Berries, cherries, fruit, melons, corn, tomatoes, lettuce, pumpkins, honey, garlic, apples, pears and more.
2511 S. Troutdale Road
June to July. Seven days a week. From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Ready picked strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries. Farm and berry stand at Stark and Troutdale Road and 242nd Avenue and Glisan Street in Gresham.
Augie and Dominic Giusto
3518 N.E. 162nd Ave.
July-February. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed Sundays, Basil, beans, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, corn, eggplant, leeks, shallots, potatoes, fava beans, chestnuts, squash, tomatoes, turnips, rutabagas.
Clair and Beverly Klock
931 N.E. Salzman Road
Season is mid-July to late August. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Sunday only. Call for availability. U-pick and orders taken. Bring own containers. From Exit 22 on Interstate 84, take Corbett Hill Road 2 miles to Crown Point Highway, 2 miles east of Corbett to Larch Mountain Road, two blocks to Salzman Road. Turn right a quarter-mile to Klock Farm. Blueberries, blueberry plants, perennials, nursery stock.
Richard and Linda Ott
17632 S.E. McKinley Ave.
Season is July 15-Aug. 31. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Call for Sunday hours. U-pick, ready picked orders taken. Call for availability. Bring containers. Clean fields. Ample parking. Located in Southeast Portland. Go east on Powell to 182nd Avenue (Highland Drive). Turn right and go south about 1.5 miles. Turn right on Giese Road and follow signs.
Tony and Julie Schedeen
28150 S.E. Highway 212
Season is May through December. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday; and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Farmer-owned fruit stand featuring all our berry varieties picked fresh daily, vegetables and cut flowers, cherries, peaches, apricots, pears and apples. Jams and syrups, fall ornamentals, plus beekeeper's honey. Red, yellow, black raspberries, marionberries, boysenberries, tayberries, Olallies, loganberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, peaches, cherries, fall raspberries, pumpkins and Christmas trees.
Blueberry Orange Smoothie
from Phil Van Hise
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 cup pure orange juice
1 frozen banana
from Thompson Farms
4 cups fresh or frozen marionberries and their juice
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup buttermilk
Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine marionberries and their juice, sugar, flour and lemon juice. Gently toss berries to combine with other ingredients. Spoon berry mixture into a deep, 8-inch square ceramic baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes. As berry mixture is baking, prepare biscuit topping.
In a food processor, add flour, baking powder, soda and sugar. Process to combine. Add butter to flour mixture and process until butter is the size of small peas. With processor running, add enough buttermilk to make a moist dough.
Remove the berry mixture from the oven. Keep the oven turned to 350. Drop large spoonfuls of the dough onto the top of the berry mixture. Return cobbler to oven and bake 20 minutes. Remove, let cool on rack until warm. Serve with vanilla ice cream.