Saturday, March 13, 2010

Reason To Ride Salem #9: The Ultimate Cycling Food, Willamette Valley Fruit!

You really can’t beat the fruit that grows in the Willamette Valley when it’s just been picked and brought to the market. And that’s what is so great about this area in the summer and early fall. You won’t have to go far to find a good apple or pear or peach or berry or...well, you get the idea.

Just after we moved to Salem last summer, Steve-O and Monster drove down for a bike ride with me here. It was sort of a man-version of a housewarming. I was grateful that they would make the trip, and was glad when we were given a beautiful August morning for the ride. After rolling through some hills and farmlands out south of town, we turned and headed east toward Stayton.

Coming into Aumsville we saw a makeshift fruit stand on one of the street corners with a little sign: “PEACHES.” Perfect timing; we were ready for a short break and some quick calories. These perfectly ripe, juicy peaches zapped us right in the gills with that sweet tangy pleasure that only comes locally, and only at that time of the year. Kind of funny how a piece of fruit could turn the three of us into complete neanderthals, grunting with pleasure as we devoured our sweet treats. Eating peaches was the piece de resistance of this ride.

In anticipation of the upcoming season, I took a picture today of EZ Orchards, a place that comes highly recommended by everybody around these parts. It’s east of I-5 on Chemawa Road as it intersects with Cordon Road. Walk into this place and I bet you an asian pear you won’t come out empty handed. One other suggestion: Salem's Saturday Market. This market is nowhere near the size of the one up north, but the produce that arrives every Saturday is out of this world.

Your ride in Salem could be a lot more fruitful than you might expect.

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