A winter road to Rome

A short travelogue of a winter trip to EZ Orchards in the Salem area.

Traveled 99E through a landscape recently soaked by days of rain.  The Willamette was surging through the falls at Oregon City.   I stopped for a view, but the large brown foaming river didn't lend itself to a beauty shot with my I-phone.

Not so the country south of  Canby and Hubbard.

At EZ Orchard, I met Kevin and his father Steven and we discussed renovation of Mercedes (Steven's passion) and the changes in taste of the fruit-buying public.  The Rome apples have fallen in disfavor, trends now more towards crisp and sweet apples.  For me, the uneven sizes, the deep red color of the skin, and the aroma of bins even cold is alluring.  Reminds me of the apples on our winter porch each year, purchased by the travelling apple salesman who traveled from New Hampshire door-to -door through New England.

Kevin and I took a stroll through the soggy orchard to admire the statuesque pear trees in his extensive orchard.  These gnarled guys contributed to what is one of our best vintages of brandy.

The Rome apples are now crushed and quietly fermenting back in Portland, just under 2,000 pounds.  Once distilled in March, we anticipate blending them with Sonata from Hood River and some of EZ's Jonathan from the previous year, and barreling them up in oak to deepen their flavor and hold the recollections of Oregon winter.