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  • Erin Lair

The History in the Name


Photo from The Observer- La Grande

Stress needs distraction. It seems each time this process doubled-down on frustrating stalls and control was outside our grasp, we doubled-down on dreaming and planning. One of the first conversations we had early on- when we realized we needed a business plan- was to try to settle on a name. Having a name for this dream seemed like an important way to anchor our plans. And, the business plan template we were asked to submit had "Business Name" right at the top of the form.

We live in a small, rural community in the foothills of Mount Fannie in Eastern Oregon. The mountain was named for the first resident, Fannie Pauline. Who settled this valley in a tent with her uncle, Samuel Cowles, in 1861. At this point in time, the town was called Forest Cove, and more settlers arrived to call it home throughout and after 1862. Mail was originally brought to Union (another small town only a few miles south) and then delivered out to Forest Cove by a local effort. However, in 1868 when Forest Cove established its own post office, there was confusion within the postal service with a larger town in Oregon, Forest Grove. Not without hesitation and argument, Forest Cove soon became just Cove and has remained that way since.* (History summarized from John Van Schoonhoven's account)

From the early years in Cove, orchards have dotted the foothills. Cherries were the defining crop of Cove for many years and known throughout the region. They are part of the fabric of Cove's history and are still an anchoring part of the community. You will see cherries in the welcome signs and an annual Cherry Fair is held each August.

Since the history of Cove links so tightly to the existence of orchards, it seemed fitting to pick a name rich in history for a crop equally as prominent in the narrative of this small community in the Grande Ronde Valley. We played with a number of different names using "Fannie"- it seemed fun and unique and lent itself to snickering. It seemed laughter was a fairly good angle for marketing. However, nothing sounded quite right. We quickly moved to using "Forest Cove" to call back the original name of the town. Then we set off to determine if we were an "orchard" or a "farm." It seemed important that, although 45 of 65 acres were set to be an orchard and unlikely to change, we wanted to be more than just fruit trees within our community. Calling this a "farm" also felt a bit narrowing and brought to mind the wrong mental images of what we would produce. "Acres" captured a broader picture. Thus, Forest Cove Acres was born.

We hope Forest Cove Acres offers a connection point between the long history of our community and the rich opportunities of the years to come. We are anxious to get busy growing and managing the orchard and finding ways to invite you out to experience the beauty of our little slope nestled up against Mount Fannie.


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