Harry and David {& beautiful southern oregon!}

Ahhhhh…Harry and David.

When I hear that name, all kinds of goodness comes to mind. Since I was introduced to their impeccable products almost 13 years ago, I have forever been their fan.

Besides the Royal Riviera Pears that Harry and David is famous for, there’s enough variety in their fruit line to host a Fruit-of-the-Month Club. And it’s gorgeous fruit. Every pear I’ve eaten over the years has been big as a softball, and perfectly sweet and juicy. And this past summer my family had the pleasure of enjoying a box of their Oregold peaches. Wowzers, they were the best peaches I’ve ever had!

But the fresh fruit is only the tip of the iceberg at Harry and David. They are also famous for their gift baskets and towers, filled with all kinds of gourmet deliciousness from cheeses to chocolates to baked goods. I could go on and on and on…

So you can imagine my excitement when I was invited to spend a few days in southern Oregon, at the home of Harry and David. I do believe I pinched myself when the invitation showed up in my inbox. Please follow along, I’ll tell you all about it!

I met up with a great group of food and wine bloggers from across the country in the quaint town of Jacksonville, just outside of Medford, Oregon. If you’re ever in that part of the country, do not hesitate to lay your head at the Magnolia Inn. The owners of this fabulously appointed bed and breakfast, Robert and Susan Roos, were the quintessential hosts. Every welcoming detail was carefully thought out, every delicious breakfast and snack lovingly prepared. Staying at the Magnolia was truly a pleasure.

Visiting Harry and David while staying at the Magnolia Inn would surely have proven a wonderful experience all on its own. But add to the scenario a fabulous dinner at the home of Paul and Sandy Coughlin…and well, the bar was definitely raised for this trip. Sandy, the beautiful soul behind Reluctant Entertainer, blesses her readers with her warm gifts of inspiration and hospitality. And Paul, founder of The Protectors, is a person I’ve admired, too. I wish every school could bite off a piece of his anti-bullying curriculum. Together, Paul and Sandy were the loveliest couple. And the greatest of hosts.

It was a beautiful cool fall evening, warmed by a table-side fire.

The setting was gorgeous.

And the company was amazing:

We were treated to Harry and David deliciousness from beginning to end, from cheeses and relishes with our first sips of southern Oregon wine, to the incredible last bites of the evening, in warm pear pumpkin pecan cake.

It was especially delightful to see Sandy’s place settings. Each guest’s name was pinned to a mini velvet plush pumpkin from LoveFeast Table, another inspirational blog I admire (with a shout-out to another Minnesota blogger!).

We spent our first sunny southern Oregon morning where Harry and David was born, in their Royal Riviera pear orchards. I was amazed at the numbers…their orchards are home to 700,000 pear trees! Matt, their Director of Orchard Operations, explained how the Rogue Valley provides ideal soil, or rather sticky clay mixed with ancient volcanic flow, and excellent growing conditions for the Comice pears they are famous for. Their harvest had just recently wound down for the year, but we did manage to find a couple pears hiding amongst the branches.

It was at the orchards that I fell in love with Rogue Creamery‘s blue cheese. While talking with Harry and David folks, we were treated to crisp endive topped with pears, nuts, and this fabulous blue cheese. It’s smooth, buttery, and decadent.

Southern Oregon is some kind of beautiful. From this perch, Matt pointed out Harry and David’s peach orchard, way in the back, at the very base of the mountains. I smiled to know that’s where that beautiful box of Oregold peaches came from.

Then we were off to another kind of sweetness.

Candy and baked goods!

We toured Harry and David’s Bakery and Candy Kitchen, and witnessed firsthand the making of their famous caramel corn (left photo) and Moose Munch. I started itching for Christmas, seeing their caramel corn drenched in chocolate and sprinkled with peppermint candy (middle photo). And I wanted to jump right through the glass into their chocolate covered cherry making room (right photo). Those cherries are my absolute favorite Harry and David product!

I was amazed by the employee loyalty at Harry and David. Rhonda, their PR Manager and our very special guide during our stay, has been with the company for 25 years. We witnessed a big cake in the break room where someone was celebrating 50 years. Incredible! And then when we got to the Candy Kitchen, where we dipped our own pears and learned about product development, we were greeted by Charlie (lower middle photo). Charlie is their R&D Manager, who is a 3rd generation chocolatier and has been with Harry and David for 32 years. I talked with Connie (upper photo), who moved to Oregon from Minnesota many years ago, about all the fun she has had over the past 15 years in the Harry and David Kitchen. Just plain WOW!

Harry and David is nestled into a very special place in this world.

We were able to enjoy lunch outdoors, after a morning spent learning about Harry and David’s product packaging while sampling a table full of their sweet eats.

It felt like we were in Santa’s Workshop as we toured the gift basket and tower assembly area. I always love learning about the “behind the scenes” story of products we tend to take for granted in catalogs and on store shelves.

This stop was definitely a very happy one. We learned how to make bows (it’s not as easy as one might think!!) for their baskets and towers, and then packaged our very own Harry and David gift basket to send to the recipient of our choice. My mom and dad were elated to discover a box from Harry and David, packaged by ME!, waiting on their front step this past week!

Then we were off to the local Harry and David Country Village for some shopping. Oh, how I wish we had one of those stores in my neighborhood! I picked up some of that to-die-for Rogue Creamery blue cheese, plus a variety of marmalades and relishes for my own family. And then I officially started crossing people off our Christmas list as I filled my cart with all kinds of other Harry and David sweet and savory goodness.

Our time with Harry and David piqued with fabulousness during our final evening as their guests. Their execs were bubbling with enthusiasm as they were finally able to spill the secret they had been harboring for quite some time. Their big reveal?

Wine! Glorious wine!

Our group felt incredibly honored to be the first to taste their new line of wines, made right there in Medford, Oregon by their very own wine maker.

We were treated to an 8-course meal paired with 8 of their new varietals. With a long narrow table tucked into their cool dark wine cellar, twinkly lights overhead, it was downright magical. And sooooooo delicious! I enjoyed each and every course. The wine was beautiful, as I was expecting, and I fell in love particularly with their Viognier, crisp and chilled with a hint of coconut. I canNOT wait for Harry and David’s new line of southern Oregon wines to be available in the upcoming year!

(For a great recap on Harry and David’s wine launch, check out Matt’s post at A Good Time With Wine.)

Thank you so very much to Harry and David, and Sandy, for the opportunity to visit the beautiful Rogue Valley of southern Oregon, and for the incredible experience with your company and its people. 

Disclaimer: My travel expenses were paid for by Harry and David. I was not compensated to write this post. All opinions are 100% my own. 

   

46 Responses to “Harry and David {& beautiful southern oregon!}”

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    1
    Heather | Farmgirl Gourmet — October 19, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Great post Brenda! It was a blast for sure. Glad we got to catch up again. :)

    • Brenda replied on October 19th, 2012 at 9:54 pm

      I think at this point, I’d be lost without you!! ;) It was SO GOOD to see you again! xo

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    Sheila — October 19, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Brenda, I am so jealous….I hate to use that word, and I rarely do. But I have to say, my heart ached to be with you guys. I miss Carrie, and Sandy so, and i would love to meet you and Aggie! So I was very much following along on instagram wishing I was there. Isn’t Oregon stunning! I am jeaslous, but at the same time I am so glad you guys got to experience what you did and now you are all sharing it with whittle O me ; D

    • Brenda replied on October 19th, 2012 at 9:56 pm

      I do believe we’ll get the chance to meet, Sheila. And I’m so looking forward to it! Save up some hugs!! :)

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    cassie — October 19, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    This is outstanding, Brenda, what an amazing trip! I can’t wait to meet you someday, hopefully in a setting like this!

    • Brenda replied on October 19th, 2012 at 9:57 pm

      Some day, Cassie!! I’m waiting!! :)

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    Angie — October 19, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    Wow that looks like so much fun! I have always thought so much of Harry and David products and gifts.

    • Brenda replied on October 19th, 2012 at 10:00 pm

      It was SO MUCH fun! And seeing inside their company and talking with their people…I’m only more impressed than I was before. This trip was truly an honor.

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    Paula - bell'alimento — October 19, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    What a super fun trip! Just love everyone in that group!

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    Mom — October 19, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Thank you for the surprise package of wonderful Harry and David products. Everything we have tried so far is just delicious! You sure blessed us, dear daughter.

    • Brenda replied on October 19th, 2012 at 10:01 pm

      You’re so welcome, Mom. So much of this blog is because of you and Dad and how I was raised. xo

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    cheryl — October 19, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    I love Harry and David!!!! Buying their chocolate covered cherries is dangerous for me. I could eat the entire bag in one sitting. Yummy! I am so happy that you could spend time with them.

    • Brenda replied on October 19th, 2012 at 10:03 pm

      Hatti & I are trying not to eat them too fast, but it’s so hard, and there are only a few left from my trip. They’re SO GOOD!

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    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — October 19, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    What a fun (& delicious!) experience, beautiful photos!

    • Brenda replied on October 19th, 2012 at 10:04 pm

      Thank you, Laura. It WAS so fabulous.

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    Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen — October 19, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    What an amazing trip and what a fun bunch to enjoy it with!

    • Brenda replied on October 19th, 2012 at 10:15 pm

      Truly amazing, all around! :)

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    10
    Aggie — October 19, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Oh Brenda, meeting you was such a highlight! I really enjoyed our time together & seriously can’t wait till our paths cross again. What a great trip & experience!

    • Aggie replied on October 19th, 2012 at 10:11 pm

      Oh and I would be in serious trouble if there was a Country Store in my neighborhood – wowzers, loved that place! :)

      • Brenda replied on October 19th, 2012 at 10:16 pm

        I agree. It would be trouble. But so worth it!!! ;)

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    Sue Kment — October 20, 2012 at 1:34 am

    Tickled to read of your visit to our beautiful state!

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    Donna — October 20, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Wow Brenda, that trip and the awesome things you got to do and see made me feel jealous too, and like Brenda–that’s not a nice way to feel. Sorry! I am so happy for you though to have enjoyed such a wonderful time there at Harry and David’s and have those sweet memories of a great trip to cherish forever.

    I am lucky though to have a Harry and David store in my city I live in! Praise the Lord for that and don’t be feeling jealous, right! :- )

  13. #
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    Mercedes — October 20, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    This sounds like such a fabulous trip and experience!

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    Paula — October 20, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    As if the entire weekend at Harry & David’s wasn’t special enough, your group was chosen to taste the first samples of their wines. How wonderful. You were all certainly treated like royalty and I do love that every post I’ve read of this company mentions the long-term employee loyalty. Very reflective of the respect that they have for their staff.

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    Melinda Stanton (Auntie Em) — October 20, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    Brenda, I loved this beautiful post– really made me want to visit! I found you at Sandy’s and just followed you on my WordPress reader– didn’t know if those follows show up on your stats, and I want to make sure you knew!

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    nest of posies — October 22, 2012 at 7:15 am

    wow. what an incredible experience! i love Harry & David. the first time i ever tried any of their products was on a road trip with some girlfriends, long ago. someone brought their popcorn that’s covered in chocolate & caramel. ohmyword! ever since then, i’ve been a big fan!

    the venue looks fabulous!

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    Shaina — October 22, 2012 at 10:08 am

    This looks like a fantastic trip!

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    Sommer@ASP — October 22, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Oh what a wonderful experience this was and I was so glad to finally meet YOU in person! :)

  19. #
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    Kristen — October 22, 2012 at 11:29 am

    I’m so happy you got to experience such a wonderful trip. Great company, great bloggers, great food! Great recap too :)

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    cheryl — October 22, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    Owen saw the salami with herbes de Provence from Harry and David in Mom and Dad’s fridge yesterday. He started drooling so they opened it up. Wow! It was delicious!!!!

  21. #
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    TidyMom — October 23, 2012 at 8:02 am

    What a beautiful wonderful time you guys had!! all your pics made me feel like I was right there!

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    Erika — October 24, 2012 at 11:46 am

    No way!!! That is awesome. Those are some beautiful photos!!

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    Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies — October 25, 2012 at 10:17 am

    What gorgeous photos! And those pears… ah! I can practically taste them now!

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    Linda — March 9, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    I just ran across this post checking out your recipe for brownie bites with strawberry fluff frosting. I have lived in Oregon all my life and never been to Harry & David’s place. My husband and I really must go there now! We are in Salem so we have one of their stores very close at the Woodburn Outlet Mall, so we still can enjoy their great stuff. We usually go at Christmas time for gifts that typically end up under our own tree! ;o) Wonderful story about them. Thanks for sharing! And love your recipes…..I get them everyday!

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