On Saturday, I went berry picking. Sauvie island, made by the merging of the Willamette and Columbia rivers, is a flat large island 10 miles outside of Portland. The island is predominantly farmland and wildlife refuge, with fewer than 1000 year-round residents. Bicyclists flock to the island because of its flat topography and lengthy amount of low-volume roads that are ideal for cycling. And because a good road for cycling is even better for scooting, I added “Lil’ Blackie” (working name) to the caravan.
The drive was exhilarating, especially as the old 30 highway passed industrial Portland to drive parallel to the Willamette. A stretch of road got up to 55mph, and despite getting buffeted around by wind, the scooter was able to hold its own among the cars, with some power to spare. Unfortunately, due to stiffer suspension and smaller tires, higher speeds aren’t nearly as comfortable as they were on my last scooter. After passing through a small, forlorn town, I crossed the quaint (and only) bridge onto the island. I was immediately in countryside, and driving down the raised road towards the berry farm was filled with the fresh scent of flowers, grass, the real.
Kruger farms had a lot of different crops crowing, but only the berries were ripe. Once you got a basket, you were basically free to wander around at your leisure. This ensured that I ate about half the berries I picked on the spot. If we are allowed many personal versions of heaven, then eating fresh-picked fruit outside in the sun is one of mine. I gorged most on raspberries, leaving only a pinch of room for the freshest blueberries I’ve ever eaten. And fruit from the grocery store will taste like gym socks in comparison.
The center of the farm was a warehouse building with other produce for sale. Most was local and mark with ridiculously low prices. Enormous artichokes were 75¢ each. Sugar snap peas were practically free, while peaches and tomatoes were half what you’d pay in the grocery store. Earlier that day I had been to the Portland farmer’s market, which while having a wide variety of good produce also charges a premium for it.
Saturday was the first time I’d eaten a Rainier cherry. They look like they’d taste like crab apples, but the taste is ding against the lesser flavor of the darker Bings.
The route taken to Sauvie Island.
A close up of the route taken on the island to the get to the beach on the far side. It was a beautiful scooter drive through farmland.
J. in the raspberry path.
Raspberries on the vine.
Blueberries on the bush.
A tray of berries that I managed to save.
C.’s take, with V. approaching in the background.
A view of the Columbia river at Walton Beach(?). The opposite shore is Washington.