Before You Leave Cashmere, Wash.

The Sunday Oregonian (Portland, Oregon)
July 23, 2006 Sunday
Sunrise Edition

KATHRYN KURTZ, Special to The Oregonian

Liberty Orchards is the birthplace of Aplets & Cotlets candy and not
to be missed before you leave Cashmere.

The story of this candy grew from immigration, friendship, patriotism,
innovation --and too much fruit. Specifically Armenia, World War I
and surplus apples.

It began early last century in Seattle. Two Armenian immigrants --Armen
Tertsagian and Mark Balaban --became friends. These new American
entrepreneurs found little success making yogurt or running an ethnic
restaurant, so they headed for drier weather and new opportunities east
of the Cascades. In the vale of Cashmere at the edge of the Cascades,
Tertsagian and Balaban bought an apple orchard and named it Liberty
in celebration of their new adopted country.

To survive tough financial times and make use of surplus fruit during
World War I, they began making apple-plum jam and drying apples. The
dried fruit went to nourish American soldiers overseas. Soon, a
longing for the Near Eastern fruit candies they had loved as kids
took them into the kitchen to cook.

By 1920 their experiments with apples and English walnuts became the
distinctive candy they named Aplets, followed soon by Cotlets, made
from apricots and nuts. The cornstarch and powdered-sugar-dusted,
two-bite, jellylike candies haven't changed much in 86 years.

Liberty Orchards no longer grows fruit, buying instead from local
farmers. President Greg Taylor, grandson of a founder, runs the
company; all the stockholders are family members. Twenty-eight
flavors of fruit candy are made, among them peach, blueberry, grape
and raspberry, as well as nut-free, sugar-free and chocolate-covered

Visitors can tour the factory, including the nut-sorting room, kitchen
and packaging room. Free samples inevitably lead to purchases at the
Candy Store.

Before you leave: Tour Liberty Orchards and buy a box of Aplets &

Where: 117 Mission Ave., Cashmere, Wash.

Hours: 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekends. Free
15-minute tours leave every 20 minutes.

More info: 1-800-888-5696,

Before You Leave appears on the fourth Sunday of the month
in Destinations. Reach Kathryn Kurtz, a freelance writer, via
[email protected]