JoannaMethow

By Joanna Bastian

On Sunday morning I followed the curves of the Methow River down valley, past the frothy rapids, through the narrow canyon, and among the orchards festooned with sliver ribbons and green nubs of early fruit. I stopped where the mouth of the Methow yawns wide into Pateros Lake before joining the Columbia River.

At the Rest Awhile Country Market, I sat at a bright red picnic table under the thick limbs of a maple tree with my apple cinnamon bun and hot coffee. An adult osprey was teaching its young how to fish from the river. They soared with wings wide, the little ones screeching in short bursts while the adult dived headfirst into the water, wings bent. She disappeared under the surface for a split second before launching up out of the water, fish in talons.

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Cherries at the Rest Awhile Country Market orchard. Image courtesy of Amy Wu

The smaller ones practiced for over an hour, catching fish with every dive. Sometimes the fish were too big and the young birds would flap their wings and struggle to rise above the surface, wing tips sending up sprays of water before the weight of the large fish brought them heavily back down with a loud splash. Reluctantly, the little osprey would let that one go and try again — screeching in victory when it found a fish it could carry away above the lake.

The cinnamon roll was fresh from the oven. I ate it slowly, loosening the soft thick spirals, releasing the tender chunks of apple infused with cinnamon. These were generous cuts of fruit. There must have been half an apple in that one roll, if not an entire apple.

As I sat in the shady orchard of Rest Awhile, a downy woodpecker hopped along the maple tree, following the underside of the rough-barked branch until it was just above the table, its soft red head turning intently in search of insects. Birds filled the picnic area in the orchard with song while from the kitchen of the Rest Awhile, the sweet voice of a baker floated out, “Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina in the morning. No one could be sweeter than my sweetie when I meet her in the morning.”

Owner Amy Wu attends pastry classes every winter and introduces new items at the Rest Awhile every summer. She showed me beautiful pictures of macaroons, cakes, bread pudding, strawberries trussed up in chocolate, and little sponge cakes dipped in chocolate and rolled in coconut. She takes special orders for parties.

Amy’s lovely photographs of Methow Valley landscapes, fruit trees, and pastries are displayed on gift cards available in the Rest Awhile store. An abundant selection of hats fills cabinets and stands throughout the store. Amy brings back a unique selection of hats, handbags, scarves, jewelry and sundresses from the San Francisco International market and offers them at reasonable prices in the boutique corner of Rest Awhile.

Fresh-picked cherries line the produce shelves, and an abundance of pastries fill the display case up front. The kitchen offers fruit smoothies and milkshakes, salads and sandwiches. On summer nights you can find specials like barbecue and lasagna.

On June 20, the cherries will be ready to pick, closely followed by apricots and peaches. Keep an eye on www.restawhilecountrymarket.com to find U-pick events throughout the summer.

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