A week ago I had the great opportunity to visit beautiful Medford, Oregon and the wonderful folks at Harry & David. If you’re like me, you probably have heard about Harry & David, and most likely have either ordered from them or received a beautiful gift basket at some point in your life. I can recall my mother receiving the catalog every holiday season and thumbing through the pages of deliciousness. So when the email came through that they wanted me to come visit their facility and hear about their products, I was over the moon excited.
I arrived in Southern Oregon and settled in to the Magnolia Inn in Jacksonville, just outside Medford. Can I just tell you – the Inn was incredible. The owners, Susan & Robert Roos, made each of us feel like family. Every morning the smell of bacon wafted through the historic home and every afternoon we were met with delicious goodies like Oreo Brownies that Susan found on Pinterest. Yum!
The cars came to pick us up for dinner at Sandy’s house. If you haven’t checked out Sandy’s blog www.reluctantentertainer.com you are in for a treat. Not only is she beautiful, talented and a great gardener, she’s also an AMAZING hostess. She treated us to a Harry & David infused dinner, including a kicked up version of H&D’s Wild Mushroom & Leek Soup, in her gorgeous home.
It was a wonderful evening and I had the pleasure of meeting some food bloggers in person that I have made great online relationships with and reconnect with some of the bloggers I have met on other trips. Here’s the complete list of all of the fab friends that came:
- Sandy – The Reluctant Entertainer
- Maggy – Three Many Cooks
- Brenda – A Farmgirls Dabbles
- Brian – A Thought for Food
- Dara – Cookin’ Canuck
- Sommer – A Spicy Perspective
- Carrie – La Pomme de Portland
- Gaby – What’s Gaby Cooking
- Julie – Peanut Butter Fingers
- Aggie – Aggie’s Kitchen
- Matt – A Good Time with Wine
After our orchard visit we headed to the Harry & David factory where we had the opportunity to see the world famous Moose Munch being made. Then we headed to the testing lab were we had the opportunity to taste test some of the best chocolates in the world. One was considered as 2012’s best chocolate. Yum! If this isn’t ironic, I don’t know what is. The head chocolatier at Harry & David….his name is Charlie. I’ll give you a second to think about that…….
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? Ya, totally cool. He was super informative and is actually a 3rd generation chocolatier.
We headed to the amazing city of Ashland for a wonderful lunch at The Peerless Restaurant and Bar and some shopping. Every little detail of this trip was well thought out. Building in time to shop and just chill out was really a wonderful surprise.
Day 3 started with a visit with the merchandising crew and a long and interesting discussion about future products that Harry & David will be rolling out as well as some prototypes still be considered. It was a lot of fun. We enjoyed a delicious lunch by the pond and enjoyed mingling with new H&D faces followed by a nice stroll around the pond post lunch.
After lunch it was time to get to work. We headed back to the facility and into the basket making abyss. We started through the fruit sorting area where we saw pears the size of your head. Yes, really. Huge pears. Then on to the basket production line where we had the chance to make a basket on our own and then ship it to whomever we wanted. My grandmother is going to get a great surprise in the mail today!! We headed off to the Harry & David store for some serious shopping. My box came in the mail today I can’t wait to make a luscious dinner from the goodies I bought there.
After shopping we headed back to the inn for some R&R. And by R&R I mean massage. Oh yes, every detail. Sandy, you rock girl. It was amazing and refreshing.
To end the day we headed for dinner at a surprise location. It turned out to be a wine cellar where we would be having an 8 course meal. How exciting…we all love wine. We mingled for a minute when our attention was shifted to one of the H&D executives who had a special message to share with all of us. Not only were we having 8 courses paired with specific varietals, but those varietals would be none other than Harry & David’s new line of wine. Our wine guy Matt was beaming from every pore! We tasted a few before heading to the wine cellar for an amazing meal prepared by H&D’s chef. I took a few phone pics, but it was dark, my phone camera lens is scratched, so I won’t bore with you the unsavory photos.
Note: Harry & David’s wine line will be out in early 2013…so stay tuned.
Leaving on Saturday morning was incredibly hard. We had so much fun. So many laughs. I think I left part of being in that beautiful valley. Many thanks to Harry & David and Sandy from Reluctant Entertainer for inviting me on such a fun trip. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my experience in gorgeous Southern Oregon.
Disclaimer: I was not compensated to write this post. I was however, provided airfare, hotel and meals. All opinions expressed here are my own.