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July 13, 2007

For half a century, summer and Evans Fruit Stand have arrived together

of The Chronicle

     Peaches in the summertime, apples in the fall...
     The breeze was thick with the sweet scent of raspberries, and a certain nostalgia overwhelmed me as thoughts of plucking the delicate fruit from the bushes of our garden flooded my memory.
     For those not lucky enough to have their personal raspberry bush, finding such delicacies can be tricky. But if you travel on East Second Street long enough to break free from downtown The Dalles, you’ll notice a small produce stand nestled just off the road.
     Evans Fruit Stand has been standing since the 1960s and has sold local Oregon produce for nearly 50 years.
     Owners Raegan Evans and her husband Forrest supply much of the fruit they sell at the stand. They harvest cherries and apples, apricots and peaches. As for the other fruits and vegetables they sell, Reagan travels about 1,000 miles a week during their busy season in July and August bringing fresh produce into The      Dalles from Troutdale, Hermiston, and Walla Walla, to name a few.
     The small stand is crammed with raspberries, peaches, blackberries, blueberries, rhubarb, onions, radishes, and more.
     Busy hands finger the fruit, eyeing the quality, smelling the ripeness, and eventually trading some green for nature’s sweet treat. A satisfied customer walks away, a crate of raspberries in tote.
     “I love it,”Reagan says. “It’s hectic, and crazy, but it’s nice to bring the community a good product,” she says in between hauling stacked boxes of cherries from her vehicle to the stand.
     After her mother-in-law ran the stand for more than 40 years, Reagan and Forrest took over, but are feeling a tad confined in the cramped quarters.
     Reagan says she often has to wait until they sell some of the goodies before she can unload the produce from her vehicle, it simply won’t fit, especially during the busy season when abundant amounts of watermelon and tomatoes are harvested.
     But moving is a tough decision to make, especially considering the history behind the quaint stand. The customers who’ve been coming to Evans Fruit Stand for years know exactly what to look for.
     “You have any today?” a guy asks as he jumps down from his pickup and jogs into the stand to examine the fruit, eyes lighting up when he spots the cherries.
     Reagan tells him she just picked up more cherries today, they were out yesterday when the man wanted to purchase some, but he waited and came back, eager to let the syrupy juices saturate his mouth.


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The Dalles Chronicle • PO Box 1910, The Dalles OR 97058 (541) 296-2141 •
Serving Wasco and Sherman counties in Oregon, and Klickitat county in Washington USA