Although its population is just over 17,000, Hermiston is the urban service center for nearly three times that many people in the expansive and productive agricultural industry that surrounds it. Irrigated farmlands and ranch lands produce livestock and crops, including alfalfa, potatoes, corn, and wheat. But the most popular export is the watermelons: the confluence of sandy loam soil, dry days, and cool nights creates the sugary magic that makes for the Hermiston brand of extraordinarily tasty fruit. Named for Robert Louis Stevenson's unfinished novel, The Weir of Hermiston, the city has more than 75 acres of parks, with the Columbia River just 6 miles to the north and the Umatilla River and Blue Mountains nearby.
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