Willamette Valley Food Trails Showcase the Region’s Bounty
With rich volcanic soils and a steady diet of rainfall, the Willamette Valley has become known for its fertile farms and passionate growers. Our farmers produce more than 170 crops and livestock items every year—from world-famous wine grapes to succulent berries to fresh produce. The region is even recognized as the nation’s top producer of hazelnuts, blackberries, boysenberries, and marionberries—which were first developed in the Willamette Valley.
So it’s no surprise that a trio of self-guided Willamette Valley Food Trails have been established to share this bounty and celebrate the growers who power the region.
Best of all: Many of these experiences can be enjoyed, at least in a modified form, during the COVID-19 pandemic (as long as you are already in the Willamette Valley, that is). Several producers offer curbside pick-up and take-out service—so even if you can’t stick around, you can still leave with a taste of the Willamette Valley.
Here’s a look at the food trails—which can be enjoyed at your own pace, and in any order—along with what to expect along the way.
Mid-Willamette Valley Food Trail
The Mid-Willamette Valley Food Trail launched this spring and shows off a rich variety of family farms and regional delights, from flowers and strawberries in spring to pumpkins and hazelnuts each fall. And that’s to say nothing of the Willamette Valley’s vaunted wine harvest, which happens every September and October.
The trail covers a number of farming communities, including Monroe, Albany, Philomath, Corvallis, and Alsea. In addition to farms, the Mid-Willamette Valley Food Trail showcases craft beverage producers, farmers markets, eateries, and more for an immersive look at the farm-to-table (or farm-to-glass) experience.
For more information, you may download (and print) the Mid-Willamette Valley Food Trail brochure (PDF). This helpful brochure includes travel tips, region-specific itineraries, and a broader list of farms, eateries, artisan producers, brewers, and more throughout the broader mid-Willamette Valley.
South Willamette Valley Food Trail
The self-guided South Willamette Valley Food Trail gets to the heart of what makes Oregon’s agriculture so special: award-winning wineries, cozy eateries, family-friendly farms, food-focused lodges, and more. You’ll find plenty of goodies all year long, but highlights include fresh steelhead and Chinook salmon between April and October, berries all summer long, pumpkin patches in fall, and Oregon’s coveted truffles every winter.
In all, nearly 60 stops dot the trail between Eugene, Creswell, Cottage Grove, Veneta, Monroe, and more. Adventurous foodies can even head into the West Cascades and along the McKenzie River for a quieter, yet no less enchanting experience.
Great Oaks Food Trail
The Great Oaks Food Trail launched in Summer 2020 and is the newest of the Willamette Valley’s three food trails. The trail celebrates Polk and Marion counties and a land that was for centuries a great oak savannah.
In all, nearly 50 businesses comprise the brand-new trail. The self-guided culinary journey invites you to connect with the region’s growers and makers by sampling red wine and wood-fired pizza from Left Coast Estate, hand-crafted toffees and truffles from Melting Pot Candy, and locally sourced beer amid the crops at Rogue Farm. Download the Great Oaks Food Trail brochure (PDF) for more information and to get started.
Interested in a Guided Tour?
Interested in a guided farm, foodie and beverage tour? The following operators offer tours to select trail stops and can build custom itineraries:
Best Oregon Tours | bestoregontours.com | 503-572-5323
Oregon Traveling Tours | oregontravelingtours.com | 541-224-8150
Farm2Fork Tours | https://www.farm2forktours.com/ | 415.465.4063