We Bought an Orchard
Updated: Feb 1, 2021
January 29, 2021- after just over four months of navigating a seemingly endless purchasing process, we are signed and recorded. We officially own 65 acres at the foothill of Mt. Fanny with 45 acres of sweet red cherries. My plan in writing this post was to recap the last trials and frustrations that consumed every last moment of this purchase; however, I sit surrounded by boxes and a pea green carpet with nothing but contentment. It's time to fully focus on what it means to own and run a cherry orchard. So, instead of dwelling on the frustrations, I'll answer a few of the FAQs that have come through my inbox:
Wait, did you sell the vineyard?
Yes. When we moved back to Eastern Oregon originally, we purchased a home that was once a winery. Our house was the main event house. The rest of the winery and vineyard had been split into two additional parcels. One was the parcel with "grandma's house" on it. The other had the event barn and a wonderful retired couple came and built on a beautiful home. So, we never owned a functioning vineyard, just the old winery house. And, yes, we sold that house to purchase this one. I posted a picture of it in a previous blog.
Is Shane going to keep working on helicopters?
No- for the most part. Truly, the original and entire intent of finding and purchasing this ag business was to open the option for Shane to be home. His current occupation as a helicopter mechanic has him traveling at least 50% of the year. We miss him. He's going to be our full time orchardist now. We imagine that in the slower times of the year he may still go wrench on a bird or help with some training or support.
Why not? Just kidding. Cherries, specifically, were never the plan. We didn't necessarily have a definitive plan, just a constant eyes-to-the-sky type outlook of hoping we could find an option that allowed us to work together as a family and for ourselves. As we started down this journey with cherries, we have found that it is going to be easy to have a passion to ensure our orchard thrives. The learning is energizing, while also a bit daunting. The seller of this orchard has been a phenomenal resource to us and has filled the last four months with so much information.
Will you sell the cherries? Will you do U-Pick?
Yes. This is a functioning, commercial cherry orchard. There is a large producer that also has acreage in cove and we will be contracting with them for workers, shipping, and packing. There are around 23,000 trees in this orchard. Around 11,000 are fully fruit bearing with the rest following into maturity over the next three years.
We plan to do some U-Pick if the commercial picking allows. We also have 24 peach trees that will ripen after the cherries. We plan to open those trees up for U-Pick. Watch for events to show up on the website.
Where did the name come from?
You can read all about the name in a recent blog post: The History in the Name
Are you going to remodel that house?
Eventually. We bought the orchard, not the house. The house does, however, have some pretty incredible features. Maybe the orange counters, carpeted bathrooms and kitchens, and paneling will come back in trend. We had intended to tackle floors and the kitchen immediately when we moved in; however, with the delays in closing and learning more about the pruning schedule, we likely won't have much time to mess with the house for the next 6 months or so.
It seems like such a cool place, will you have events there?
This is the part of this venture that I (Erin) am the most excited about. Yes! I want to make this orchard part of our community. I am picturing opening the orchard for photographers. Having dinners in the orchard. Paint nights. Cheesescaping classes. I have also thought about utilizing the iconic "Red Barn" for things like yoga and holiday bazaars (we just need to unpack the storage that is currently in there). This is a beautiful setting and I can't wait to show it off.
If you have other questions. Be sure to head back to the home page and reach out via the contact form!