Baker County’s Eagle Creek Orchard Recovers From 2013 Freeze
Photo by Lisa Britton Asian pear trees are in loaded with blossoms at Eagle Creek Orchard near Richland. But not every flower results in fruit — Rob Cordtz can tell by looking that the flower with a brown center (right) isn’t viable, but the one just to the left appears healthy. Also, the fruit must be thinned to allow room to grow and ensure the limbs don’t break from a heavy load.
By Lisa Britton
For the Baker City Herald
A year ago Rob and Linda Cordtz spent all night watching the temperature plummet in their fruit orchard and trying every frost protection measure they had to save the harvest.
The cold won, resulting in a nearly 100 percent loss.
A year later to the day — April 15 — the couple smile and laugh among trees bursting with blooms and the promise of fruit.
“They grew like crazy. It’s going to be a bumper year,” Rob says.
They own Eagle Creek Orchard near Richland. It has been certified organic with Oregon Tilth since 2008, and this year will be their 10th harvest.
After losing their crop in 2013, the Cordtzes knew they had to upgrade their frost protection system, and were encouraged to fundraise through a crowdsourcing website called Indiegogo. Donations met the goal of $30,000.