Like many Portland, Oregon parents, I’m fortunate. My kids love fruits and vegetables. Those battles I see on television—Brussels sprouts being fed to the dog, tantrums preceded by bribes to eat all your peas and carrots and then you can have some ice cream—these are all fairy tales… battles I have never personally witnessed. The problem, though, is that my children have become spoiled when it comes to produce. The waxy, tasteless, genetically modified fruits and veggies from many chain grocery stores are not good enough for them. But, like most young families, we’re on a budget and cannot always afford organic and natural produce.
Farmers markets and their clean and pure produce selections are seasonal, meaning the options for natural fruits and vegetables decrease as winter rolls in. Thankfully, Spicer Brothers Produce in Oregon City is open year-round.
Spicer Brothers is not a fruit stand—it’s a year-round produce store specializing in local fruits and vegetables. The prices are reasonable and the quality is second-to-none. While they certainly have tropical and South American fruits like Tangelos and Star Fruit, they specialize in local fruits and vegetables. Apples from Canby, Pears and plums from Forest Grove, lettuce, carrots, onions and potatoes from Walla Walla are often picked and delivered the same day.
Local produce not only supports the local economy, it is also good for the environment. Having less distance to transport goods means less fuel and fewer emissions. When you couple these with the amazing flavor, it’s clear why my children love going to Spicer Brothers for fresh fruits and vegetables.
Living in Cedar Hills, Spicer Brothers is a bit of a trek. Historic Oregon City is a bit off the beaten path (it’s about a twenty minute drive from downtown Portland), but well worth the trip. We always make a day of it.
Last Saturday, we all piled into the car and began the drive. It was a crisp fall day, with leaves dazzling from the trees, and Mt. Hood begging us to come up for a ski trip soon. My children counted and named the bridges of Portland as we drove. When this game grew tiresome, we played “Eye Spy”. Before long, we spied The Scottish Highland Pub, on the outskirts of Oregon City, where we enjoyed a traditional Irish pub lunch while basking in the views of the mountains and the river.
After lunch, we resumed our trip to Spicer Brothers. As soon as I was parked, the kids zoomed from the car and rushed inside. By the time my wife and I had caught up to them, they had grabbed a cart and filled it with cucumbers, potatoes, melons, apples, oranges and, yes, Brussels sprouts. I smiled and found that I couldn’t be more pleased that my children love to eat healthy. That fact that our overflowing cart came with a reasonable price tag and tremendous customer service was just wonderful. Spicer Brothers is a Portland institution with Portland values, even if it lies in rural Oregon City (which, by the way, is the oldest city west of the Mississippi. It’s a field trip in its own right.)
Next time you want fresh produce, don’t grab some wax covered tasteless stuff from the grocery store. Make the trek to Oregon City. It’s well worth the trip and your taste buds will thank you.