Owners Bob and Justin White stir apple butter during the Heirloom Apple Butter Festival
After 25 years we're still a family run business! On any given day you're likely to run into Bob working in the garden or Justin smoking pork for the BBQ or even granddaughter McKenzie stirring apple butter at the Heirloom Apple Butter Festival. Over the years we've come to know many of you by name, your kids have been raised on Huckleberry milkshakes and new generations are coming to share this place we call home.
We cannot say thank you enough for making us a part of your family too.
The site where Apple Valley Country Store now sits was once known as Tucker, Oregon. Barton and Mary Tucker and their eleven children moved here in
1887 from North Carolina where Barton fought in the Civil War. Upon
arriving in Oregon, Barton purchased a mill and some of the
finished product can still be seen inside the Cloud Cap Inn, built in
1889. When the Tucker Mill was destroyed by fire in 1900, he rebuilt,
enlarged and added a box factory to service the growing orchard
Apple orchards had been introduced in 1854 by Nathiel Coe and the first
commercial orchard was planted in 1876. While apples were the dominant
crop, a disastrous freeze in 1919 convinced many growers to replace
their trees with pears. Today, the Hood River Valley is the largest
pear growing district in the State of Oregon and one of the largest in
over a century later, the Tucker legacy continues to be reflected in
the names of local landmarks...like traveling over the Hood River on
Tucker Bridge, driving down Tucker Road, climbing Tucker Hill leading up to Odell or camping at Tucker Park.
And while the original Tucker homestead was destroyed by fire but rebuilt in
1892, the new home was considered so palatial that it soon became the
focal point of Sunday afternoon buggy rides in the valley. It can still
be seen directly across the street from Apple Valley.
Although Apple Valley Country Store is not one of the original
buildings, it was built with some of the lumber salvaged from old
buildings that sat on this historic property.
The empty, run down
building was purchased in 1989 by Bob and Kaye White to be used
as an outlet for the organic apples and produce they were growing on
their farm. Business was so slow that they started making jam out of the
fruit that was not selling. It didn’t take long to realize that
visitors to the store were much more interested in buying the jams than the fresh produce.
to increase business, the Whites started talking to other farms about
joining together to create a non-profit direct marketing group. Working
with the Hood River Grower Shipper Association, they received a grant
that enabled them to produce a map of all the farms in Hood River that
were selling direct to the public.
Hood River County Fruit Loop map was printed in 1993 and two years
later, it produced its first agriculture oriented event called
Gravenstein Apple Days as a fundraiser for the Hood River Senior
Center. At the time many orchardists were pulling up their Gravenstein
apple trees due to a lack of market. Since then, many farms have
replanted their trees and are once again benefiting from the demand
created by the event. Due to the immediate success of the first
Gravenstein Apple Days, the Fruit Loop added three additional events throughout the season.
the store and Fruit Loop grew in popularity over the years. In 2006,
the White’s son Justin joined the business after a 15 year culinary
career taking him from Boston and Key West to the San Juan Islands.
Justin added new energy to the business as he expanded the kitchen,
updated equipment and looked for new opportunities to streamline.
Using his expertise, Apple Valley now wholesales its jams to many other
farms in Hood River along with stores in nearby Portland and Bend. The
product line has grown to include over 50 varieties of fruit jams,
pepper jellies, syrups and pie fillings. We also produce a unique line
of pepper jellies as well as sugar free jams and syrups.
Justin also introduced an old
fashioned Country BBQ which is served at the store on special event weekends. Justin
smokes the meat with local cherry wood. His menu includes pulled pork and chicken sandwiches,
St. Louis style ribs and Polish sausages. All are served with his unique
pear coleslaw and cider baked beans, made with local apple cider.