A few weeks ago, I was invited down to Medford, Oregon by the good people at Harry and David. Wait. Are you thinking “Harry and David – that company that sends boxes with salami and cheese?” Well, that was my old way of thinking. The old way before I went down to the beautiful Rogue river valley, saw the pear orchards, listened to the horticulturist and his passion for his pear trees, met a real live Charlie who showed us around his chocolate (and other treats) factory, enjoyed a lovely dinner with paired wines from a local winery and food bloggers from around the country, and learned a lot about a good company who still does things the old fashioned way.
There were many things that impressed me on our two day jam-packed visit. The beautiful trees, orchards spread throughout the valley and workers who are paid fair wages.
The real live people making real live things that you or I might make (like these cinnamon rolls), just on a larger scale.
The incredible variety of gifts available to send to loved ones. The pears are grown there, the Moose Munch is made there. The chocolates, cheesecakes, brownies, and cookies are made in Charlie’s factory. We got to see the test kitchen where we were able to taste a toffee they are working on. (Verdict: Delicious but needed more salt.)
One of the first things we learned is that Harry and David is trying to give a gift experience, so the packaging and the personalization of the gifts is important. Every single bow is hand-tied. (A lovely woman tried to teach us how to do their signature bow. Let’s just say I won’t be getting that job any time soon.) The few times I’ve sent gift boxes in the past, I’ve chosen companies that simply aggregate the contents of the gift from companies they work with. You know, coffee from these people, brownies from those. With Harry and David, it’s all made or grown by them. In Oregon. I like that. I also like the community that they have created in small-town America and the jobs they create each holiday season.
I liked pretty much everything about those two days. I also liked the gift basket that I packed for myself that arrived a couple of days after my return. And the extra pears and cheese that I bought at the company store which arrived a few days after that. And then, just when we were starting to run low on pears, another huge gorgeous basket arrived, complete with Martha Stewart’s new Pies and Tarts book – autographed!
In short, they spoiled us. Food bloggers get invited on trips like these, and get spoiled rotten, in the hopes that we will write favorably about the company/product/resort destination. I did have my doubts going in to this trip but I was very impressed with all I saw and tasted and everyone I met. Because I like to share the bounty, I asked if I could give away some pears and my question was met by a resounding “YES!”. So, want some pears?
I’m giving away a six-pack of the famous Harry and David pears. Just tell me what gift you looked forward to receiving each holiday season. Leave a comment and I will pick a winner randomly next Monday, November 7th. You have until noon that day (PST) to enter. U.S. residents only please. (Sorry non U.S. friends – there are funny laws about sending fruit across borders.) UPDATE: This contest is now closed.
Finally, thank you all for being patient with the lack of food posts last week. I will be back on track soon. xo