All In A Day's Drive

Hit the road and visit some nearby farms

Hit the road and visit some nearby farms

Watch All in a Day's Drive Wednesdays on KMTR NewsSource 16 at 6 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.

PLEASANT HILL, Ore. — The time is ripe for picking fresh fruit. You can find plenty of you-pick sites around the Willamette Valley. Many of them are family owned farms with decades of experience.

On a farm south of Eugene, you can find plenty of shiny, red treats among a green field.

“It's the best time with the heat coming on, things are nice and red and ripe,” Sheri Donahoe said.

On a sunny morning, strawberry pickers of all ages are drawn to River Bend Farm in Pleasant Hill.

“It's a simple pleasure for a farmer to watch kids out in that field,” Dick Pershern with River Bend Farms said.

“My hands are red, I probably eat more than I take home, they're so good,” Donahoe said.

The season for you-pick strawberries is almost at an end, but while pickers typically like to hunt down the larger berries, Pershern says it's actually the smaller, darker berries that'll have more sugar.

“If I want berries for jam, those are the ones I'm going to go for. It takes a little longer to pick them, because they're smaller, but the flavor is just incredible,” Pershern said.

North of Eugene, near Harrisburg, you'll find more juicy fruit at Detering Orchards, one of the only you-pick sites in the Willamette Valley that grows both Rainier cherries and peaches.

“Everything's a bit early and it's just been much drier, but we've done a lot more irrigating than we typically would,” co-owner Becky Detering said.

“The first time you take a peach off the tree and enjoy that peach, there's nothing like it,” Cindy Dixon said.

This weekend, the Detering family will welcome more visitors for its season grand opening.

“We have a great apple blaster, which is really fun for families. It's a big apple slingshot,” Detering said.

And both farms are almost a straight shot from Eugene or Springfield.

Detering says the peaches normally ripen up by July 1. Besides strawberries, River Bend Farm also offers apples, Asian pears and hazelnuts.