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  • Writer's pictureErin Lair

5 Year Old Bread

Work on the orchard is never-ending and all-encompassing. We knew this would be the case when we bought this property, and, for the most part, it is the kind of work that you hit your pillow at the end of the day with a deep sense of accomplishment and productivity. Recently, a few friends and family showed up to help us tackle the picker camp and prepare for our 2021 harvest. And although all of the work around here seems as though we won't be able to pull it off in time for the next "thing," this camp was especially daunting to consider bringing it back online solo.

The cabins in the camp have sat idle for over 5 years. In the 6 years prior to that, they were used only a few times. Although they are all in good repair, the nature of leaving buildings vacant results in dirt and critters having the opportunity to take up residence in your absence. There was no exception or lack of either dirt or rodents when we set to cleaning the buildings. Each cabin had plenty of dust, signs of the expected neglect from non-use. They also had mouse droppings, a variety of wasp nests, and miscellaneous proof of having been used in the past. We found handfuls of coins, abandoned socks, a CD (who still has those, even in 2017!), and a bag with a petrified loaf of wheat bread. We vacuumed and washed and bleached and cleaned until each cabin came back to life as something worth staying in!

In addition to general cleaning, we brought all the amenities back to life. The kitchen has 4 propane burners in it. Each cabin has a refrigerator. There were three microwaves placed throughout the camp. All of these things needed plugged in and cleaned up. Additionally, a small building in camp houses two clothing washers. We had our fingers crossed after cleaning them up that they would run- they both whirred through their cycles flawlessly! The shower house needed new plumbing and shower heads. It also needed to be deep cleaned and scrubbed. The largest building at the entrance to the camp has an outdoor kitchen that was buried under picnic tables as well as debris from being open to the elements. So, it was scrubbed and reset as well.

The lawn was mowed and water was set to green it all up. The cabins radiated care.

The camp had an up to date OSHA registration on file; however, we recently learned it required a name change for this season. Needless to say, this caused a bit of a panic as we are starting to push up against our picking window. The folks in Salem and our local consultant have been incredible to work with. We had a consultation this morning and should receive a clean bill to register the camp under Forest Cove Acres. In fact, the consultant told us that if he weren't working he would be inquiring as to how to come stay in the camp. Everyone who comes through says the same thing, it's really quite serene.

Sitting down along Mill Creek, this camp is something to see. I am so glad we can provide such a comfortable and desirable to be for the incredible picking support that will descend on the orchard in a matter of weeks (maybe days?).

We finished hosting for the season in our little Cherry Camp- Skeena Cabin. Once I know how long harvest will run, watch for dates to open back up in August and run through the first of October. I hope to also open up one of the larger cabins for families to come enjoy later this summer and fall as well. In the short term, feel free to reach out- we are doing orchard visits by appointment and as our regulations for Global GAP allow.

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