by Kelli Raines
Away from the hustle and bustle of Spokane city and suburban life, Green Bluff awaits in its red and orange fall splendor. Pumpkins, apple cider and scenic views make Green Bluff an attractive weekend outing.
Green Bluff, located off Newport Highway, is a collection of farms and orchards located at the foothills of Mt. Spokane, about a 20-minute drive from Whitworth University. Green Bluff offers an array of fruit, berries, gourds and Christmas trees, depending on the season. However, it has not always been the scenic spot it is today.
“Twenty-six years ago the first tree was planted,” said Derrick Hansen, son of Hansen’s Green Bluff Orchard LLC owner and laborer at the orchard. “Before that, the property was a wheat field.”
One of the most appealing factors of Green Bluff is the “U-Pick” experience. Visitors have the opportunity to go through orchards and pick out their own fruit. It is free to visit and pick; the cost to buy the fruit depends on the orchard.
“People can pick their own fruit and sample it,” Hansen said. “Also, this is a local industry and people support their farmers. Folks are tired of living in cities and seek out the open space, sights and sounds of a working farm.”
During the fall season, Green Bluff celebrates its Apple Festival on the weekends. Apple Festival consists of the orchards and farms offering large varieties of apples, cider and other produce. Also, there is live music, food, craft booths, vendors, antiques, farm mazes, hay rides, pumpkin patches and animals. It is free to visit the different farms and orchards, and the price for other activities varies depending on the farm. Although the city has a lot to offer students and other Spokane citizens, an afternoon of picking apples or pumpkins during the fall weather can’t be beat.
“It’s a different scene to go to,” senior Amy Morris said. “It’s fun to pick your own fruit and see all the farms and support the local community.”
Morris spent an afternoon on Oct. 8 at Harvest House and Hansen’s with her friend and avid Green-Bluff goer, senior Kendra Leggett. Harvest House and Hansen’s are two of the 43 orchards and farms located in the Green Bluff community.
“Usually I’ll come out twice or three times during the fall,” Leggett said. “I really like picking apples at Hansen’s and really like pumpkin doughnuts. It’s fun to see the Spokane community come out and enjoy the elements of fall.”
Vendors and local Spokane businesses are drawn to Green Bluff, too. On Oct. 8, vendors sold a broad assortment of merchandise, including purses, soaps, lotions, oven-baked pizza and hair clips. Tammy Randall, owner of Bitchin’ Bows, set up her merchandise at Harvest House. Bitchin’ Bows is a Spokane business focused on selling handmade bows for hair and clothing attire.
“Harvest House is wonderful,” Randall said. “Green Bluff draws lots of different people out here, especially since the weather is so nice. It’s just a nice place for people to come out and enjoy themselves.”
In addition to vendors, fruit and pumpkin doughnuts, Harvest House offers family and friends the opportunity to get lost in its corn maze. If that proves too challenging, there are blow-up toys in an area called “Family Fun Land.” The cost of admission for the corn maze is $8 per person, admission cost for Family Fun Land is $5 per person, and admission for both is $10.
Green Bluff’s Apple Festival will continue through Oct. 30 during weekends. However, most farms open daily when fruit and vegetables are in season. For more information about Green Bluff visit www.greenbluffgrowers.com.