Columbia Gorge Organic Fruit Co.
& Ronny Stewart
Hood River, OR
Pears & Stone Fruit
Columbia Gorge Organic is an honest-to-goodness family farm. Since 1975, the Stewart family has farmed in the beautiful Hood River valley, nestled between majestic Mt. Hood and the awe- inspiring waterfalls of the Columbia River Gorge.
It started with Ron and Cheryl and is passing on to their sons, Ronny and Jimmy. Like Mom and Dad, the drive for perfection, the curiosity and the willingness to experiment has kept this family farm vibrant and continually on the cutting edge of agriculture through two generations. The Stewart family bet everything they had on the belief that there was a better way to grow fruit.
In 1989, they took a huge risk by transitioning their farm to organic. At that time many of the methods and materials for growing organic tree fruit did not exist and most of the neighboring farmers said that growing without toxic chemicals and fertilizers couldn’t be done. Through their bold pioneering effort they helped develop some of the techniques that are now used in organic orchards throughout the world.
They now grow more than 60 varieties of fruit, including stone fruit, pears, and apples, and they make fresh organic juices right on the farm. Unlike the big guys, they do everything themselves: they grow their own fruit, pack it for the fresh market and they squeeze, press, or puree the less than perfect fruit to make premium refrigerated juices. From the left over juice pulp, they make approximately 2000 tons of compost every year to feed the soil in their orchard. That closes the loop and helps provide more, great tasting and nourishing fruit for the future.
Columbia Gorge Organic Farm has been the recipient of a number of awards, including two times “Farmer of the Year” from Oregon Tilth and “Handler of the Year” and “Farmer of the Year,” from the Oregon Organic Council. Despite these many accomplishments, there is never a sense of completion. There is always a new project or new vision to pursue. Whether it is new fruit varieties to experiment with or new juice flavors, the passion and the vision never cease. Learn more about their organic tree fruit, farming practices and juices at cogojuice.com.