Destination fresh fruit: Four road trips in search of Utah's best produce

By Allison Laypath

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 4 2012 4:00 p.m. MDT

There are few things more wonderful than biting into a fresh Utah peach or an ear of sweet corn in late summer. Utah growers offers an abundance of local flavor throughout the harvest season, and it's not necessary to travel beyond your own garden or local farmers market to find it. For travelers, however, Utah's harvest can serve as a road map for fun and adventure.

Here are four road trips that include some of Utah's best fresh produce along with other area attractions to enjoy.

Bear Lake raspberries

A perfectly sweet, firm raspberry can be an elusive thing. Raspberries are delicate, and finding that perfect ripe raspberry that is neither too tart nor too mushy is tricky. Perfect raspberries grow abundantly in the Bear Lake area on Utah's northern border. Every August, raspberry lovers flock to Garden City, Rich County, for the annual Raspberry Days festival. Though the festival has now past, but it’s not too late to enjoy the last sweet raspberries and some outdoor recreation during the remaining days of summer.

Find Bear Lake raspberries at farm stands in the area and purchase what you can eat or use within a day or two — raspberries do not last long or travel well. LaBeau's famous raspberry shakes are one of the best ways to enjoy this fresh fruit. Similar shakes can be found in several local eateries and are a tradition for many visitors to Bear Lake.

Bear Lake is popular for water sports throughout the summer, so if you are headed that direction, be sure to bring your water toys. Bear Lake is a fun place for boating, water skiing, kayaking, rafting, swimming and fishing. Don't miss the chance to tour Minnetonka Cave on the Idaho side of Bear Lake. There are few hotels in the area, but rental homes and condos are available, as well as campsites.

Brigham City peaches and 'Fruit Way'

There is a stretch of U.S. 89 from Brigham City to Willard that has become known as "Fruit Way" because of the many seasonal produce stands that line the road. Baskets full of peaches in several varieties stock their tables right now, along with pears, onions, squash, peppers and even ruby-red popcorn kernels. Throughout the fall, visitors to Fruit Way will find peaches, pears, apples, pumpkins and more. Brigham City's Peach Days are Sept. 5-8 and would be an ideal time to enjoy the fruits of the harvest.

Brigham City and Perry have a few really good local restaurants, including Maddox Ranch House and Idle Isle Cafe. Owners of Maddox are known for raising their own beef and bison and were serving locally sourced food long before the restaurant was trendy. Don't expect any snobbishness or small portions because Maddox specializes in home-style entrees such as chicken-fried steak. Soup or salad, bottomless hot rolls, raspberry honey butter, a potato and seasonal vegetables are included with every meal. Idle Isle Cafe has been in business on Brigham City's Main Street since 1921. This is the sort of classic cafe where you take your kids or grandkids to show them what it was like in the "good ol’ days."

A trip to Brigham City will provide an opportunity to visit the Golden Spike National Historic Site, a few miles to the northwest. In 1869, the transcontinental railroad was completed here, connecting the United States from coast to coast. It is difficult to fully appreciate today what an amazing accomplishment this was and how it changed the Western United States forever. Re-enactments of the driving of the last spike are held on Saturdays and holidays through mid-October. The Junior Ranger program is a fun way for kids to learn about this historic event and earn a free souvenir badge.

Capitol Reef historic orchards