All In A Day's Drive

Apples and pies a Day's Drive from Eugene

Apples and pies a Day's Drive from Eugene

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SALEM, Ore. — Only about an hour up the highway from Eugene, you can find fresh apples ripe for the picking.

Oregon’s capital offers a few places where you can enjoy a sweet treat.

Here's something to chew over as you drive near Salem. Even in the middle of town, you can truly feel like you're on the farm.

"We call this downtown Brooks. My grandpa had it for a long time, and then we've kind of been built around, but it's enough acres that you kind of forget about all that," Erin Gruetzman said.

Even these grade schoolers feel like kids in a candy store as they wander the rows at the Beilke Family Farm. For nearly 60 years, the family has offered several varieties of you-pick apples every fall.

"One of the questions the kids asked was why are they not shiny?" Scio teacher Shawna Mole said.

But filling a bucket of red, green or gold apples is no challenge at this orchard.

"Depends how full the tree is, but you can do it fast. And you don't have to use the ladder. We keep the trees short. It's really easy. There are apples hanging down that a two-year-old could pick," Gruetzman said.

Now if it's a slice of apple pie you're after, you can come to the Willamette Valley Pie Company outside of Salem, where they know a thing or two about pies.

"In about an eight hour shift, they can do about 2,400 pies," Mindy McCool said.

On this particular day, bakers are turning out hundreds of pumpkin chiffon, a seasonal favorite. Still, if you come for the Pie Happy Hour between nine and 11 am on weekdays, they'll serve you a slice for $1.

"It's not a bad way to go, especially to sample different varieties of pie. It's kind of a nice way to get your feet wet and decide which one is your favorite," McCool said.

But finding a favorite is just part of the fun. And you can find it all in a day's drive.

On October 3rd, the Willamette Valley Pie Company will open its 2013 harvest festival, which includes a five-acre corn maze and a pumpkin patch.