E.Z. to Love
Salem farm market a local favorite
Walking up to E.Z. Orchards Farm Market in Salem, I notice a definite buzz. It isn’t the bees — although I’m sure they are around, working the property’s 165 acres — it’s the energy from the storied “shortcake stand” and the surprising number of workers on this otherwise sleepy, 95-degree summer day.
E.Z. is named for owners Mark, Kevin and John Zielinski’s grandfather, Edward Zielinski, who established the orchards in 1929. After graduating from a cardtable at the end of the driveway in late ’50s to a farmstand in the barn, E.Z. is now located in a commercial space most recently updated in 1992. While John manages the market; Mark and Kevin run wholesale operations and the farm, growing primarily pears, apples, peaches and hazelnuts.
Upon entering the doors, a glorious smell greets me: raspberry and Marionberry doughnuts made fresh in the store. A few feet away, artisan foods — including E.Z. jams — and kitchen goodies line shelves and fill baskets. Each aisle is capped with colorful aprons, and on the wall above, farm-inspired art hangs for sale or “see.” On the other side, an impressive patchwork of local produce leads to a small wine selection, where I find E.Z. Orchards’ prized cider.
Starting in 2000, the Zielinskis planted apple trees of the bittersweet French variety with the intention of making traditional French-style “cidre.” They also grow English and early American apples blended to make their North American-style hard ciders, Hawk Haus and Roman Beauty.
Under Kevin’s direction and care, all the ciders/cidres are produced using native fermentation, with an extended fermentation of three to five months in stainless steel tanks. It is not back-sweetened or pasteurized, and the carbonation is produced petillant naturel.
With sparkling pear and apple dessert wines also on their list of offerings, I can see why E.Z.’s garnered national attention … and why there are so many customers inside the store on this sweltering summer Tuesday.
The buzz for E.Z. continues.
E.Z. Orchards Pomme Apple Dessert Wine
Modeled on French Pommeau, the No. 12 Pomme, E.Z.’s apple dessert wine, was barrel-aged for 24 months and shows notes of baked apple and ripe fruit on the palate with a hint of toasted walnut on the nose. $32 (750 ml)
E.Z. Orchards Roman Beauty Apple Cider
Named for the heirloom apple that makes up most of this cider blend, Roman Beauty represents E.Z.’s heritage as the family has been growing this variety in their orchard since 1929. Fermented cold and slow to retain a ripe apple aroma, Roman Beauty is semi-dry with mild acidity. Enjoy chilled. $7.99 (16.9 oz)
E.Z. Orchards Fresh Donuts
Made fresh every day, E.Z.’s doughnuts are two decades in the making with well-perfected flavors depending on what’s in season. Varieties include: Cider, Pumpkin, Strawberry, Blueberry, Raspberry, Marionberry, Chocolate and more. $5.99 (dozen); $3.25 (half)
Images of America Books
Arcadia Publishing is the leading local history publisher in the U.S. with a catalog of more than 9,000 current titles and hundreds of new ones released every year. Puruse the 150 Oregon-themed books on their website. www.arcadiapublishing.com
Victory Estates EVOO
In establishing Victory Estates in 2002, Larry and Dawn Monagon researched the best varieties for the area’s climate. Their groves of 1,200-plus trees — mostly Spanish Arbequina — near Salem produce a quality harvest each year. Olives are milled on site and blended California olives to achieve the finest EVOO. Sizes and prices vary. www.olivesfororegon.com.
Adam’s Rib Smokehouse Barbecue Sauce
Known for his Santa Maria-style barbecue, Mike Adams prides himself on meats slow-smoked over hard woods smothered in his own sauce, now available outside his Salem location. Choose from: Original, Spicy and Hefeweizen. $5 (12 oz); www.adams-rib-smoke-house.com