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Oregon cherry grower brings sweetest crop to stores in 100th year

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THE DALLES, Ore. /PRNewswire/ – Good things come with time, and this year’s cherry season is no exception, especially for Orchard View Cherries whose centennial crop is in local stores now.

“Since we began picking last week, our trees are showing potential for a very nice crop with excellent quality,” said Brenda Thomas, Orchard View Cherries’ president. “We are excited that our 100th anniversary season shows so much promise, with peak availability for July 4 festivities.”

Orchard View Cherries at sunset (CNW Group/Orchard View Cherries)

Orchard View was established by Thomas’ great-grandparents in 1923. Over the years the operation evolved to specialize in the true craftsmanship of cherries — and only cherries. Thomas’ team now manages over 3,500 rain-shadowed acres along the Columbia River, with cherries planted in microclimates suited to each variety. Growing both red and blush cherries, each is carefully staged to assure the best cherry available at any given time is the one delivered to stores.

Thomas credits the enduring success of the farm to the efforts of the families who have worked alongside her own to bring cherries to the market each year.

“Our cherry family includes many in our community who join us as we grow, harvest and pack,” she said. “A lot of expertise and a lot of heart goes into producing what we believe are the world’s best cherries. We are grateful for everyone who contributes, from our neighbors in The Dalles to those who travel to work with us each season for the eight-week harvest.”

But there’s one person in particular whose passion for cherries and commitment to education has shaped not only his own life but the lives of those around him. J. Carmen Gamez Garcia, known by friends far and wide as Carmelo, and known for his signature wide-brimmed hat, is a self-made cherry grower, community advocate and Orchard View’s own field manager. “Carmelo is an exceptional representative for the mid-Columbia cherry community,” shared Thomas.

Born and raised in Mexico, Gamez moved to Oregon with a third-grade education when he began picking cherries in the mid-1970s. There he met Mel Omeg and Bob Bailey, Thomas’ father, whose families have been farming adjacent properties for nearly 60 years. The Omeg family partnered with Orchard View in 2018 to bring the best of The Dalles’ cherries from its multi-generation growers. Gamez’s dedication to learning and the invaluable guidance of these two mentors paved the way for his deep understanding of cherries and their cultivation.

His expertise and willingness to share his own knowledge have made Gamez a respected figure in the community, “If someone is looking for advice, I always do my best to help them out. It’s what my parents taught me,” he shared. His father, bearing his same name, and mother, Maria Martha Garcia Luna, engrained the power of education into his being. Not only in his professional life, but personally too, participating in various school board and education initiatives. Gamez believes in the positive impact it can have on individuals and communities. He has always been committed to sharing his knowledge and experiences, serving as a mentor and advisor to aspiring cherry growers and community members seeking guidance.

Gamez’s commitment to cherries and his community manifested in the purchase of his own orchard in 2010. The Dalles holds a special place in his heart, as he believes it offers one of the most conducive climates for cherries. From the optimal chill hours to the fluctuating temperatures of hot nights and cold days, every element aligns harmoniously, resulting in the best cherries nature has to offer. Since its inception, Gamez’s crop has been packed in the Orchard View brand.

As Orchard View celebrates its 100th anniversary and Gamez reflects on his extraordinary journey, their stories intertwine, representing the legacy and passion of cherry growing in Oregon. Both exemplify the dedication, hard work, and commitment required to produce the finest cherries and contribute to the flourishing cherry industry.

The celebration of a century of cherries and the invaluable contributions of those who have shaped the industry will be savored by all who indulge in the fruit of their labor.

You can find delectably sweet Orchard View Cherries locally at Fred Meyer and Zupan’s Markets.  

SOURCE Orchard View Cherries

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Family

Get Creative with Easter Sweets

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Kid-friendly crafts that bring loved ones together

(Family Features) Holiday hams and deviled eggs may take center stage at Easter gatherings, but edible crafts offer a reminder of the magic of the season that’s found in moments spent together. Simple recipes that call for a dose of creativity are perfect ways to bring the kids to the kitchen, made even easier when all that work leads to sweet treats.

While plastic eggs may have led to a decline in good, old-fashioned egg-dyeing, there are still fun ways to bring crafts back to Easter celebrations. Consider these Kids Krafty Easter Cake Pops, which call for little ones to help dip seasonal shapes in chocolate, use cake molds and more.

Children of virtually any age can relish in the joys of using cookie cutters and decorating Easter Sugar Cookies, all with a little supervision and short list of instructions. This version shows how to make the cookies and homemade icing so you can create any color you desire for maximum creativity.

Remember, these delicious crafts don’t have to be perfect – having fun and making memories that last a lifetime are what make Easter truly special.

Visit Culinary.net to find more Easter inspiration and recipes from “Cookin’ Savvy.”

Kids Krafty Easter Cake Pops

Recipe courtesy of “Cookin’ Savvy”

  • 1 box cake mix
  • 1 can frosting
  • 1 bunny chocolate mold
  • 1 cakesicle mold
  • ice pop sticks
  • 1 bag white chocolate chips or melting chips
  • cake pop sticks
  • 1 bag orange melting chips
  • 2 tablespoons canola or coconut oil, divided
  • 1 bag green melting chips
  • pastel sprinkles
  • 1 piece hard foam (optional)
  • edible markers
  1. Bake cake according to package instructions and let cool completely.
  2. Crumble cake and mix with 1/2 can frosting until dough forms. Add more frosting, if needed. Using small cookie scoop, form dough into balls and set aside. Place dough in bunny molds then pop out and set aside with balls. Place dough in cakesicle mold, insert ice pop stick in each slot and freeze 5-10 minutes.
  3. Melt handful of white melting chips. Stick tip of each cake pop stick in chocolate then insert into every cake ball and bunny until each has one stick. Set aside to dry.
  4. Remove cakesicles from freezer and pop out of molds. In bowl, melt orange melts then mix in 1 tablespoon oil and transfer to cup. Dip cakesicles and scrape off excess using rim of cup. Place on parchment paper to dry.
  5. In bowl, melt green melts then place in zip-top or piping bag. Cut tip off bag, pipe carrot leaves onto piece of parchment paper and let dry.
  6. Melt remaining white melts and mix in remaining oil. Transfer to cup and dip ball-shaped cake pops and bunnies then tap stick on edge of cup to remove excess.
  7. Over separate bowl, sprinkle ball-shaped pops with pastel sprinkles. To keep ball shape, let dry by sticking in piece of hard foam. Bunnies can dry face side up on parchment paper. After bunnies are dry, use edible markers to make face and color in ears.
  8. When carrots and leaves are dry, remelt orange melts and place in piping or zip-top bag. Cut off tip and drizzle orange over carrots. Add small line of orange on each ice pop stick and place leaves on each stick. Let dry.

Easter Sugar Cookies

Recipe courtesy of “Cookin’ Savvy”

Icing:

  • 1/3 cup meringue powder
  • 1/2 cup warm water, plus additional for thinning (optional), divided
  • 3 tablespoons vanilla
  • 1 bag (2 pounds) powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • assorted food coloring

Cookies:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 dash salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  1. To make icing: Mix meringue powder, 1/2 cup warm water, vanilla, powdered sugar and corn syrup. Separate into bowls and add food coloring; mix with water, as needed, to thin for piping.
  2. To make cookies: Heat oven to 350 F.
  3. Cream butter and sugar. Mix in egg, vanilla, baking powder and salt. Mix in flour 1 cup at a time to form dough. Roll dough out to 1/4-1/2-inch thickness.
  4. Cut into shapes, place on baking sheet and freeze 10 minutes. Bake 8-12 minutes. Cool completely before icing.
  5. Place icing in zip-top or piping bags and cut off tips. Put cookies on parchment paper. Trace outline first then fill in middle. Use toothpicks to smooth out.
  6. Let dry 6 hours and finish decorating with different icing colors or edible markers.


SOURCE:
Culinary.net

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Beverages

Sipping Sunshine: Celebrating National Margarita Day

Celebrate National Margarita Day on February 22nd with a glass rimmed with salt, savoring the taste of summer whether on the rocks or blended! 🍹☀️ #NationalMargaritaDay

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February 22nd marks a beloved occasion for cocktail enthusiasts worldwide – National Margarita Day! This festive day invites individuals to raise their glasses and indulge in the tangy, refreshing flavors of this iconic beverage.

The classic Margarita, with its perfect blend of zesty lime, smooth tequila, and a touch of sweetness, encapsulates the essence of summer in every sip. Whether you prefer it on the rocks, elegantly garnished with a salted rim, or blended to icy perfection, National Margarita Day is a celebration of versatility and taste.

Beyond its delightful flavors, the Margarita embodies a spirit of relaxation and enjoyment. It’s a drink that beckons you to unwind, kick back, and savor the moment. Whether shared with friends at a lively gathering or enjoyed solo as a personal indulgence, the Margarita has a way of brightening any occasion.

So, on this National Margarita Day, take a moment to treat yourself to this timeless cocktail. Allow yourself to be transported to a sun-soaked beach with every sip, relishing the flavors and embracing the carefree spirit that the Margarita embodies.

Whether you’re a devoted Margarita aficionado or new to the world of tequila-based delights, National Margarita Day is the perfect excuse to raise a glass, toast to good times, and celebrate the joy of this beloved cocktail. Cheers to National Margarita Day – a day dedicated to sipping sunshine in a glass!

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Food and Beverage

Creamy and Delicious Chicken Alfredo Recipe

Indulge in the creamy goodness of our Chicken Alfredo recipe: tender chicken, al dente pasta, and a rich Parmesan sauce—a true culinary delight!

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Authentic Italian fettuccine alfredo pasta dish with grilled chicken breast

Welcome to our kitchen! Today, we’re going to show you how to make the best chicken Alfredo that will leave you craving for more. This classic Italian dish is creamy, flavorful, and oh-so-satisfying. Let’s get cooking!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fettuccine pasta
  • 2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)

Instructions:

  1. Prep the Ingredients:
  • Cook the fettuccine pasta according to package instructions until al dente.
  • Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Cook them in a skillet over medium heat until fully cooked. Remove from the pan and slice into thin strips.
  1. Make the Alfredo Sauce:
  • In the same skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant.
  • Pour in the heavy cream, stirring constantly until it starts to simmer.
  • Gradually whisk in the grated Parmesan cheese until the sauce is smooth and creamy.
  1. Combine the Ingredients:
  • Add the cooked pasta to the skillet with the Alfredo sauce. Toss to coat the pasta evenly.
  • Gently fold in the sliced chicken strips, ensuring they are well coated with the sauce.
  • Let the dish simmer for a few minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
  1. Serve:
  • Plate the chicken Alfredo and garnish with freshly chopped parsley.
  • Optionally, sprinkle some extra Parmesan cheese on top for an added cheesy kick.
  • Serve hot and enjoy your homemade creamy chicken Alfredo!

There you have it – a simple yet decadent chicken Alfredo recipe that is sure to impress your family and friends. This dish is perfect for a cozy night in or a special gathering. Bon appétit!

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