Land of Orchards

 

"It appears to me that if any area of the country is able to handle additional farm production, it is here"

AR Chase, Bureau of Reclamation, March 1946

 

Fertile soil and intense sun had lain in wait for thousands of years. Early farmers had scouted, dreamed, and strategized on how to divert water from the Wenatchee and Columbia rivers to the surrounding countryside—hot and dry with wild grasses, sage scrub and plenty of rocks. Whether by necessity or by brave optimism, over the course of several decades the community rallied, petitioned, and toiled to turn a grand vision of green acreage in the midst of a near desert into a grander reality.

The Greater Wenatchee Irrigation District succeeded in their quest, beginning construction on a reservoir and delivery system in 1960 that yielded an impressive crop in 1964. Read more about the Reclamation District's efforts to reclaim this semiarid land here.

Today, this area is lush with mile after mile of rich orchard land, growing with well-established trees and producing the largest crops of apples and pears in the nation. The orchards mark the passing of the seasons with their changing colors – white and pink mark springtime, deep emerald hues mark summer, multicolored displays of fall foliage mark autumn, with its rich produce of big, juicy fresh fruit. Then the whole valley rests through the winter, storing up its energy to repeat the cycle the following year.