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Detering's our pick for best produce.

Byline: Best of ... by The Register-Guard

The Beatles were wrong: Strawberry fields aren't forever. But you don't have to wallow in U-pick withdrawal just because July has rolled around.

More than a dozen local farms extend "pick your own" privileges to other produce. The cream of the crop? Definitely Detering's.

There's no better place than this third-generation family farm to pick just about anything. U-pick crops run from A to Z:

Apples. Apricots. Beans. Blueberries. Cherries. Cucumbers. Onions. Peaches. Pears. Peas. Peppers. Plums. Prunes. Pumpkins. Raspberries. Rhubarb. Tomatoes. Zucchini.

There are 20 varieties of apples, alone.

Roger Detering estimated that his farm grows 800,000 pounds of fruit a year on 10,000 acres of family-owned and leased land.

Some fellow farmers think he's plum crazy for continuing to put up with the U-pick public, which they consider a hassle.

"We've always done U-pick," said Detering, who was born on the farm in 1934. "That's the reason people like to come out here."

When his parents established the farm on 40 acres that same year, the nation was in the grips of the Great Depression. Folks chose U-pick mainly for financial reasons.

"It's still a lot cheaper," said Donni Wittekind, a college student who runs Detering's produce stand each summer.

U-pickers generally save at least 50 percent over the cost of purchasing prepicked fruit or vegetables.

"Today, for instance, our U-pick cherries are 60 cents a pound, versus $1.50 for ready-picked," Wittekind said recently.

But the experience of picking is the big draw for most people today, Detering said.

"A lot of them reminisce about living on a farm when they were kids," he said. "Others like to come out as a family; one family last week even brought pizza and drinks out here and had a picnic in the rows."

U-pickers also savor an understood rule that it's "fine to sample while you're out there," Detering added.

All those factors were cited by a Lebanon family picking Bing cherries recently.

"It's pretty out here, it's cheaper than the store, and it's right off the tree so it's good to eat," said Tanya Samoylich, 15.

Her brother, Daniel, 8, was happy to demonstrate.

"I like the dark ones," he said with a cherry-stained grin. "They're sweeter!"

Best of ... is as sweet as the juice of a warm peach right off the tree, even if it is `we-pick.' To pick the ripest items from the Best of ... archive, go to www.registerguard.com/bestof.

BEST U-PICK

Detering Orchards

Location: 21090 Coburg Road, five miles south of Harrisburg, seven miles north of Coburg

Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week, through Nov. 1

CAPTION(S):

Tanya Samoylich picks cherries with her family at Detering Orchards north of Coburg.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Reviews; For sheer variety, the landmark farm south of Harrisburg is the cream of the crop
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Review
Date:Jul 2, 2004
Words:462
Previous Article:FRESH SHEET.
Next Article:We'll take our iced tea with a twist.


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