The Harry and David store is one of the unique treats near Ashland, and this Memorial weekend included a special event with free wine-tasting, sweets and sauces to taste, and lively music. This company, located a few miles north of Ashland in Medford, was founded in the Rogue Valley 3 generations ago, to pack and mail pears and dried fruits around the country. Today it is no longer just a family business, but it features wines and beers, jellies, sauces, coffees and teas, local produce, glutin free breads and pizzas, chocolates and a completely addictive popcorn and chocolate mix called Moose Munch. In the old days there were free bins of candies and nuts to taste. Today the samples are less generous, except for special events like this weekend, but it is just as well because it is a place that widens your waistline as it lightens your wallet. It is a fun indulgence, and factory tours are available for $5 (interesting and sweet but not as adventurous as Willy Wonka!) I find the unique local foods, like Rogue pear, cranberry and Pinot Noir Jam, or Watermelon mint tea, Apricot Ale, dark chocolate covered peanut butter filled pretzels, sweet peach pepper jelly or pears dipped in melted truffles hard to resist and easy to store in the pantry for special moments. Living here and joining their club brings coupons and discounts to make the indulgences a bit more affordable. Fancy gift assortments abound on holidays -- maybe you've received one.
We stop in often for a dollop of coffee, in a petite paper cup, always free, and a piece of whatever is being passed around that day. But we rarely get away without buying something. It was always a fun tourist stop but just as sweet for locals who might be passing through Medford. Below are a couple of pictures of the temptations that you'll find.
We ran into a crowd at a new Togos sandwich place near Harry and Davids, opened only 2 weeks ago. We were told a major kids soccer tournament nearby was the reason for the overflow of customers, usually a rare sight in Medford. We noticed three baseball fields filled with kids as well. Spring is certainly bursting forth in Oregon, even when the weather is still a bit cool.
Here is a bit of the scene at Harry and David, with all of its temptations