Fletcher Hukari is a man of many interests, an orchardist, mountaineer, and aspiring filmmaker to name a few. He lives in Oregon's beautiful Hood River Valley where his family has been farming for four generations.
Photography and Videography by Hunter Thompson.
Hi Fletcher, tell us about yourself.
I’m a 4th generation orchardist and I live in Hood River, Oregon. One of my hobbies is filmmaking—I’m lucky enough to get gigs where I can make money and have fun shooting at the same time. That’s me! I’m kinda migrant as far as the seasons go: In the winter, I’ll chase storms and fresh snow. Come spring, I make my way back to Hood River and it’s time to grow some fruit for the summer months.
Hood River is stunning. Have you always lived there?
I went to school at the University of Utah—I could still go to class and still go to the mountains every day: Alta, Snowbird and Brighton were my go-tos.
Skiing vs. Snowboarding?
I grew up on skis and I used to ski race, it’s just what I learned. I’ve since learned to snowboard.
Got it. Your life is so linked to mountains, then. This Field Tester video shows you so close to Mount Hood working in the orchard. Is it a farm or is it an orchard?
I call it a farm, but the actual name is Hukari Orchards. We grow mostly pears and blueberries—Hood River is the world’s leading producer of Anjou Pears. We also sell some apples locally to fruit stands in the valley. Pretty much everything else we grow is shipped out and commercial and distributed across the United States and sometimes the globe.
Do you have plans to go into the family business?
I’m kinda figuring it out right now. My parents are super supportive of what I want to do—which helps a lot. It allows me to be able to leave for a week to go work on a film project, for example. I definitely want to continue my family’s legacy of farming. Maybe not full-time right now, but that is important to me.
And not just farming, but farming in such a special environment, in basically the foothills of enormous mountains, right?
My family has a long history of being in the mountains, especially on Mt. Hood. My grandfather and my dad are mountaineers and were always into climbing and skiing. It’s fun, and it’s rewarding to look at Mt. Hood while I’m working out in the orchard. I think my grandfather climbed it, like, 53 times? A bunch of my family members are members of the Crag Rats, which a mountain rescue group that’s based on Mt. Hood.
What kind of film projects do you work on?
I do a lot of short form branded content for different companies. And little documentary stuff. I like that a lot because it really slows down the process and allows me to be a little more creative. I do a lot of run-and-gun shooting which can make it hard to capture moments I want, and I only get once chance to nail the shot. I want to get more creative with crafting with light, and bigger projects with a little bigger budgets. I want to be more creative with crafting with light and bigger projects with little bigger budgets. And I do as much production assistant work to build up my experience.
As a film buff you must have some favorite movies and TV shows?
Shawshank Redemption is one of my favorite movies—Roger Deakins is a legendary director of photography. I follow a bunch of DP’s and try to learn as much as I can from watching their work. I also really like Chef’s Table, on Netflix. It’s filmed beautifully, and the story is powerful.
When I’m at home, I ski at Mt. Hood. It’s my favorite—mainly because that’s where I learned to ski, I grew up on its slopes, and my family has a lot of history playing on it. It’s fun in the winter to ski at Mt. Hood Meadows, and Spring is great in Hood River: You can summit and ski off the top of three different volcanoes all within a couple hours’ drive from my house (Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, and Mt. Adams).
What does “mountaineering” mean to you?
It basically is me navigating the high alpine—above treeline—which you can do here, going out on a daytrip, camp the night before you go. Spend 6 to 10 hours hiking up, in order to ski down. I don’t like to climb just for the sake of climbing. I like to be able to ski back down…
So that all sounds kind of mind-blowing. What a life! Not sure why you’d ever want to leave, but when you do, where do you like to travel?
I haven’t found anywhere else that fits the role of “home” as well as Hood River. But I do love to travel. It’s fun to leave here and be able to come back. I like to go to Baja, Mexico in the early Fall. My friends are pretty dialed in—spearfishing and surfing and drinking a lot of margaritas. I drive down there from Oregon and end up near Todos Santos. And I’ve had a blast skiing in Japan, will definitely go back.
So what does the future hold?
I have an idea of what I want and I want my set up to be like. It’s just a matter of making it happen.
Sounds like a plan to us. What did you think of the shirts?
I love the short-sleeve button-down. I can wear it on a film gig and look professional, or wear it to grab a beer with friends and not feel too dressed up. It’s always in my bag when I’m traveling. I wore the crewneck T-shirt on a sunny day at the farm, and I was surprised at how cool it kept me throughout the day. I find myself wearing it a ton.
I’m not much of a reader, but I listen to podcasts from time to time—most recently this one called “The Wandering D.P.”
Favorite place to hang out in Mt. Hood?
I like this place off Highway 35 called the Gorge White House. I always see friends there, and it has great views, cider, and food.
What 3 things do you always pack when heading to the mountains for an adventure?
A camera, a bucket hat, and pre-rolls (‘cause, ya’ know, it can be too windy to roll up on the side of a mountain).
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