Harry and David’s Gifts to Give–Blogging Event

These past few days, here in the beautiful Rogue Valley, I was privileged to spend some incredible time with blogging friends (Lori, Jessica, Jenna, Rachel, Maria, Amy, Matt from HD, me, Bridget, Kristen, Rebecca, Heidi) learning more about the traditions of Harry and David and their orchards, Royal Riviera pears, candy kitchen, Moose Munch, perfect hand-tied, 7-loop bows, gifting departments, and the Country Village Store.

My history with Harry and David goes back as far as this photograph (seasonal workers around 1930) when my mom was born, the youngest of 7 and raised in Phoenix, Oregon, surrounded by orchards. My mom would have been 78 this year, the year that Harry & David started nurturing and harvesting the Royal Riviera Pear. Mom and her sisters worked their entire summers in the orchards here in the Rogue Valley. (I wouldn’t be surprised if one or two of her older sisters are in the above photograph.) :)

You may have read about the dinner party in my backyard, which was pure delight for me to host for my friends, and which featured so many delicious H&D products.

Then, the next day, we got down to business and started learning about Harry & David and the almost 700,00 pear trees. (Bridget in the orchards.)

We toured the pear orchards (set on 2000 acres) with Matt Borman, H&D’s Horticulturist, who relayed his love for the soil, trees, pears …

You’re involved with agriculture because you love it. Just like cooking, the sun is the timing and the blooming is the seasoning. -Matt

He knew he was speaking to food bloggers and that we’d “get it.” :)

We ended up at the Royal Crest Orchard area where we were served a light snack – peaches with Rogue Creamery’s Smokey Blue Cheese. Oh, boy!

So tasty and talk about an easy entertaining idea! (Rachel testing out the yummy snack.)

A little crazy fun. :)

On a serious note, I learned a lot how H&D treat their workers. Sun Crest is the place where they house them, feed them, they give them insurance and take the best care of them — all 330 workers.

They pick 3200 bins of pears a day, each bin holding about 450 pounds (about 9000 pears per bin). I could go on and on about the numbers. We bloggers were spinning these numbers around, calculating up a storm of pears in our minds, and eventually the numbers were so enormous, we quit trying to figure it all out. But it came out to something like this — 700 tons of pears are picked in a day in the Harry & David orchards.

The Royal Riviera is an heirloom Comice pear that came from Anjou, of western France, a winter pear variety not commonly grown in the world, making up less than 8% of the pears you find on the market.

You can say it’s our little “gem” here in the Rogue Valley, because of the specific weather conditions found here of heat during the day and a chill into the night. The pears are hand-picked in dry weather, sorted, hand-packed, held in cold storage at 30 degrees which allows the pears to last up to 5 months. An amazing process!

So, … do bloggers like to shop?

Yes!

We took a little break to Jacksonville where we ate lunch and did a bit of shopping. (Jenna leading the way.)

Rachel, Rebecca and Jessica having fun in Terra Firma.

And, do bloggers like to have nice dinners?

Yes!

Out in the Applegate Valley we visited Red Lily Vineyards where H&D hosted a beautiful sit-down dinner, cooked by Chef Paul of C-Street Bistro (formally from the Santa Barbara area). The food, wine, and setting were spectacular.


Again, the H&D staff enjoyed the meal with us — just like family.

A captured moment with Maria and her little pea, Caleb, who also came on the trip.

The next day the fun began in the candy kitchen with Charlie Douglass.

Charlie grew up in the family business, apprenticing in the art of making chocolate, fudge, and saltwater taffy at Douglass Candies in Wildwood, NJ.

He told us he had lived in a teepee for 2 years prior to starting his 35-year-plus job with H&D. Of course we started calling him, Charlie and the Harry & David Chocolate Factory.

He taught us a lot about making chocolate, molds, his experiments, what works and what doesn’t work.

We actually got to make our own designs, which Bridget was in “her element,” of course.

Bakin’ pals, Amy and Bridget. :)

Heidi’s documenting the amount of butter, and the gazillion flavors of Moose Munch that are now made! :)

Gingerbread Bark and Kristen looking over the process. :)

We did some chocolate tasting, touring, candy tasting, touring, … and then we enjoyed a beautiful lunch at the Ponds behind the H&D building.

The last part of the day, we got silly making ribbons.

But … we had a new appreciation for all the hand-tied bows that are made and used for the gifting baskets.

And we got to make our own basket–packed with pride, signed with our own names.

That was a blast. And then we got to send it on to whoever we wanted (thank you, H&D).



We can’t thank these ladies (H&D staff) enough for all the hard work they put into this blogging event. It was one of the best trips ever!

That night we said our good-byes in Ashland after another fabulous dinner, and parted ways early the next morning.

Harry & David made our time so rewardable, not only sharing about the orchards, pears, and how to touch lives by sending the perfect Harry and David gift basket, but teaching us new ways to cook with their products from the Country Village Store, and encouraging us to take it a step further and practice easy entertaining with our friends and family.

The value of people and friendships in our lives — whether sharing a meal with them in our homes, or sending them a gift “just because” — Harry & David knows that their company’s success begins and ends with good people.

What’s your favorite Harry & David gift to give or receive?

(My 3 days in Medford were sponsored by Harry & David. And I personally want to thank Mary, Rhonda, Catherine, and Krystl for making this trip so spectacular and special for all involved.)

Other posts to share from HD blogger’s experiences:
How Sweet it is
Eat, Live, Run
Two Peas and Their Pod
Foodie Crush
Foodie with Family
Recipe Girl
Bake at 350
She Wears Many Hats
Dine and Dish

   

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32 Responses to “Harry and David’s Gifts to Give–Blogging Event”

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    1
    Kristin S — August 20, 2012 @ 7:31 am

    My only experience with Harry & David are the outlet stores. This makes me want to find real locations and order online! Thanks for sharing – and Instagramming all the deliciousness last week.

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    2
    LoveFeast Table — August 20, 2012 @ 7:44 am

    He lived in a tee pee! I bet that was a great story! Looks like the whole experience was a blast.
    ~Chris Ann & Kristin

  3. #
    3
    Heather | Farmgirl Gourmet — August 20, 2012 @ 8:09 am

    Great write-up Sandy. I love it!! Next time you’re at H&D ask them if they plan to bring back the Holiday House. :) So much fun!! Thank you for sharing your experience.

    xo
    H

  4. #
    4
    bridget {bake at 350} — August 20, 2012 @ 8:11 am

    Miss you already, Sandy! And miss being in a town with Harry & David!

  5. #
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    Rachel - A Southern Fairytale — August 20, 2012 @ 8:15 am

    Those pictures make me smile, and miss y’all more! This was one of the most wonderful ‘weekends’ that I’ve had.

    I am so head over heels for Harry and David now! I can’t wait for our baskets to be delivered to our special people and for our goodies to reach our houses! I’m already planning my salmon with charred pineapple relish and peaches (sadly not H&D) with smoky blue cheese!

    Wonderful! My heart is still brimming :-)

  6. #
    6
    Barbara | Creative Culinary — August 20, 2012 @ 8:17 am

    I’ve always enjoyed Harry and David products and know that when I ship a basket to friends or family I am assured they will receive something wonderful. Seeing behind the scenes was special…thanks for sharing.

  7. #
    7
    Darla — August 20, 2012 @ 8:34 am

    I like all the H&D things I’ve tried but right now I think my favorite basket to receive would be those peaches. I”ll bring the blue cheese :-)

    Darla

  8. #
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    Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles — August 20, 2012 @ 8:35 am

    What a great time! I love seeing all the fun pics, plus all the behind-the-scenes at Harry and David – it’s so interesting to learn about the products and processes we tend to take for granted. There’s just sooooo much more to seeing a bag of Moose Munch on the store shelf, or a perfect pear!

  9. #
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    Lori @ RecipeGirl — August 20, 2012 @ 8:40 am

    Loved every minute of it!! Thank you, my sweet friend for including me in the fun this weekend. I loved learning about Harry and David and their wonderful company, and it was so fun to see Oregon and meet your family too!!

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    judy — August 20, 2012 @ 9:03 am

    Hi Sandy…..loved this segment! I have been a fan of H&D for a long time. I am always looking for new and delicious ways to serve light snacks..I was particularly intrigued by your photo of when you were in the Suncrest Orchard area (photo 6)…you had peaches with Rogue creamery smokey blue cheese – yum! I also noticed it looked like there were some salted almonds and other goodies there…was that salami or something in the photo too? Can you please tell me (if you recall) what else was there? It looked like quite a nice (and light) spread. Thank you!

    • Sandy replied: — August 20th, 2012 @ 11:02 am

      You got it right, Judy. There were nuts and also salami. It paired quite nicely with the Pear Sparkling Juice they served with it. :)

      • Sandy replied: — August 20th, 2012 @ 11:49 am

        Actually, Judy, it was not salami. I believe it was some type of raisin herb crisp … they were delicious!

        • judy replied: — August 21st, 2012 @ 8:30 am

          Thanks Sandy! I appreciate the reply! It looked like a fantastic event…lucky girls!

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    peabody — August 20, 2012 @ 9:25 am

    Good to see that all the same workers from last year are there. Tribute to what a great company they are. I had such an amazing time when I went last year. This just stirs up memories of that!

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    Heidi @foodiecrush — August 20, 2012 @ 10:38 am

    I’m with Rachel, seeing these pics make me miss it even more! And I loved learning more about Harry & David and all of those pear trees! Amazing work this company does. Can’t wait for the near truckload of yums I bought at their store arrive, then I’m getting some serious cooking on!

    XOXO

  13. #
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    fabiola@notjustbaked — August 20, 2012 @ 10:41 am

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful story with these awesome photos! I love the rich history of Harry and David and I do wonder if your Aunts are in the photos, wouldn’t that be amazing?!!! And the blue cheese peach, yum yum yum. That is what I would want in my basket!

  14. #
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    jani lebaron — August 20, 2012 @ 11:48 am

    I felt like I was right there with you fun bloggers! I’ve sent H&D baskets and gift towers for as long as I can remember!

  15. #
    15
    Sarah @ Will Run for Pasta — August 20, 2012 @ 2:48 pm

    Beautiful pic of Maria and Caleb, totally made me tear up but I have no idea why :D

    Love Harry & David! We send gift baskets for Christmas and I’m always jealous of our family members who get them. Oh, and I’m totally doing that peach-blue-cheese combo sometime, sounds amazing!

  16. #
    16
    Liz — August 20, 2012 @ 3:44 pm

    Sounds like a great event! I love getting a behind-the-scenes look at some of my favorite brands. Thanks for sharing yours :)

  17. #
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    Bev @ Bev Cooks — August 20, 2012 @ 5:49 pm

    I love EVERY. SINGLE. FACE. Looks like the best time evar!

  18. #
    18
    nancy — August 20, 2012 @ 6:50 pm

    Moose Munch!!!!

  19. #
    19
    Kelley {mountain mama cooks} — August 20, 2012 @ 8:02 pm

    With such an amazing group of women, I can only imagine what a wonderful time you all had! That picture of Maria and Caleb brought a tear to my eye. Seriously. What a beautiful moment you captured. You’ve gotten my excited to go over to my local Harry & David and browse the yummy food and get inspired. xoxo

  20. #
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    Amy — August 21, 2012 @ 5:18 am

    Ohhhh … I miss you and all the others so much.

    I was surprised to learn so many new things about Harry and David. I had no idea that they grew and made so many of the items that they offer. Pretty cool.

  21. #
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    TidyMom — August 21, 2012 @ 7:26 am

    I just loved following along with you all via Instagram Sandy!! What a wonderful time you all had!!

    My favorite H&D gift is the fruit of the month club!! I received that for 6 months last year and my family enjoyed it so much!

  22. #
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    JulieD — August 21, 2012 @ 7:58 pm

    Love it all, Sandy!! So beautiful and wonderful to hear of another American company taking care of its workers. Thanks for sharing your family history with Harry & David. We love their pears, in our house, they’re simply the best pears we have ever tasted. I love that we can buy Moose Munch at Target too. Thanks for sharing all of this with us!! xo

  23. #
    23
    Zachary — August 25, 2012 @ 9:46 pm

    Holiday House will be back this holiday. Keep watching your catalogs!

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