bounty From Hood River, with Love The Fruit Company’s gourmet gifts of local fruit and treats bring joy on holidays and other special occasions by janet cook At a time when many Gorge businesses hunker down for the slow season, The Fruit Company ramps up. At its headquarters in Pine Grove, five miles south of Hood River, the company’s 40 full-time employees are joined by more than 150 temporary hires who work in two daily shifts from the beginning of November until the end of the year assembling the company’s gourmet gift baskets. In addition to the multiple gift packing lines set up in the company’s warehouse, a phone bank springs up across the street in the former grange hall, where an additional 20 employees field calls on the 24-hour customer service line. In other words, it’s go-time for one of the leading gift basket companies in the nation, which assembles most of its gourmet gifts with Hood River Valley fruit as the centerpiece. “We do 50 percent of our business between November 1 and the end of the year,” said The Fruit Com- 72 the gorge magazine // winter 2014 Scott Webster, on a packing line at The Fruit Company.