Basin City families open year-round fruit store in Kennewick

By Loretto J. Hulse, Tri-City HeraldAugust 25, 2013 

Fresh Picks

Shawney Garcia stocks the fresh fruit shelves Wednesday of Fresh Picks, located at 8378 W. Grandridge Blvd. in Kennewick. The fresh fruit and smoothie store is the latest venture of the Rowley & Hawkins Fruit Farms.

RICHARD DICKIN — Tri-City Herald Buy Photo

For five generations, the Rowley and Hawkins families in Basin City have nurtured, harvested and sold a variety of fruits both fresh and processed.

They sell under two business names, Rowley and Hawkins Fruit Farms and Fresh Picks.

Recently, the partners -- Mark Rowley, his brother Mike, and Bart Hawkins -- opened a year-round retail store, Fresh Picks, at 8378 W. Grandridge Blvd., Kennewick, and stocked it with many of the products produced on the farm -- from fresh fruits and to cider to jams. The store is behind Costco and next door to Great Harvest Bread Co.

The store is managed by Whitney Rowley, Mike Rowley's daughter. The families' slogan is "from bloom to your dining room."

"It's a business we love," said Mark Rowley.

The family's main focus is pie cherries -- they have 600 acres of them. They also have 60 acres of apples, plus peaches, berries, nectarines, apricots and asparagus.

The cherries are sold fresh, frozen, dried and juiced. They also end up in several of the 32 varieties of jams produced at the farm, including blackberry/cherry, cherry/peach and cherry/raspberry. A 14-ounce jar sells for $5.

The apples -- those not sold fresh -- are juiced for cider, plain and cherry flavored. It's sold frozen and ranges in price from $4 to $6.

They also bottle-juice squeezed from the tart pie cherries.

"It's great stirred into lemonade or other juices, or just water. Many people believe it can help reduce inflammation and swelling from arthritis, especially the gout type," said Mark Rowley. A 16-ounce bottle is $24.

Fresh Picks carries all the products produced by Rowley and Hawkins Fruit Farms, and also features freshly made smoothies in 21 flavors, or create your own.

"They're all fruit, no corn syrup or artificial flavors, and 100 percent juice. We can make them gluten-free, for diabetics and nondairy," said Whitney Rowley.

The store also stocks a variety of protein powders, chia, flax seed and peanut butter add-ins.

Call 24 hours in advance and Whitney Rowley and her clerks can whip up party-sized fruit platters and fruit bouquets. The bouquets range from $30 to $55.

The store also has a variety of fruit-based desserts -- parfaits and tarts -- chocolate-covered dried cherries and fresh fruit by the pound or the box.

Opening a retail store wasn't such a giant leap for the hardworking, enterprising families. They've sold their produce at a stand in Moses Lake for years and have attended the farmers market there for decades.

When the farmers markets opened in Pasco, Kennewick and Richland, they began selling at those sites too.

About three years ago, Rowley and Hawkins Fruit Farms began a Community Supported Agriculture program under the name Fresh Picks. Sign up for a week, a month or the whole season, and customers can pick up a box of fresh picked fruits and veggies at specified sites once a week.

"About 90 percent of what's in the boxes comes from our farm. The rest we source locally," said Mark Rowley.

The boxes come in two sizes and are guaranteed to be valued at $25 for the large box and $18 for the small. Sign up for several weeks of the season and receive a weekly discount.

"They're definitely a lot more work and take more time than selling an entire box of a single item. We need to split the produce between the boxes, load them and deliver to various drop off points in the Tri-Cities, Connell, Warden, Moses Lake and Basin City," said Mark Rowley. "But we get great comments on both our product and what we do."

-- Fresh Picks is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Saturday. Through the end of August, the store will stay open until 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

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