Date of visit: May 29, 2011
When I drove through Kimberly in May, I almost DID drive right through without realizing it. It’s definitely a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kind of place. The place consisted of a store with a tiny post office, a barn-like building across the highway from the store, and some kind of outbuilding out in the trees. It took less than five minutes to see the place, take pictures, and move on.
When I got home and did some research I learned that Kimberly exists because of the nearby Kimberly Orchards, which I’m sorry to say I didn’t even notice even though I drove right past (the orchards are several miles past the community of Kimberly where I stopped for pictures). The orchards were started by Orin Kimberly in the early 1900s when he planted some peach trees along the river. The peaches were so sweet and juicy that people waited for Kimberly peaches instead of buying elsewhere. The Thomas family started an orchard nearby in the 1940s and in 1967 purchased the Kimberly orchard.
These days they grow 60 varieties of seven different fruits which are sold at grocery stores in central Oregon and also to local school districts. Family members sell the fruit at farmer’s markets, fix their own equipment, and take care of the accounting, although they do hire pickers during the summer. They sell fruit to customers at a fruit stand in Kimberly. I saw an unmarked building in Kimberly which may be that fruit stand. Too bad they don’t have a sign on it.