Top U-picks to Visit in Oregon’s Willamette Valley
Berry season is around the corner, so roll up your sleeves and come pick your own! Enjoy family-friendly fun and buckets of the freshest, most flavorful berries around. The Mid-Willamette Valley is home to dozens of nurseries and orchards. Pick your own fruit at the farm, cool down with a sweet treat at a farm stand or meet the growers at one of the many local farmers markets held throughout the summer.
Pick them, mix them, mash and smash them. Boil, bake and brandy them. Eat them right off the vine and as part of the most elegant meal in a five-star restaurant. They’re caneberries – in other words, berries that grow on a cane like raspberries, blackberries, marionberries and boysenberries – and Oregon grown varieties are some of the most sought after in the world. That’s what happens when you take the clean air of the Northwest and mix it with sparkling waters from the Cascade Mountains, along with a maritime climate that lets our berries hang on through long, chilly springs and ripen gently during warm summer days.
There are more than 500 berry growers in Oregon who operate small to mid-sized farms, many of which have been in families for generations. Get out on the farm and pick some for yourself.
Top U-picks to visit in Oregon’s Willamette Valley
Aspinwall’s Produce and Nursery – For more than 50 years, Aspinwall’s Produce and Nursery has provided the Salem area with farm-fresh, seasonal produce. Today, the farm store also sells plants, flowers, ice cream and homemade treats. The store is open April through October.
Bernards Farm – Situated on an old, 100-acre farmstead outside of McMinnville, Bernards Farm features a small nursery, u-pick and we-pick produce throughout the year and homemade candy. Open seven days a week, seasonal produce includes spinach, potatoes, and berries.
E.Z. Orchards Farm Market – Starting in late May, visit the E.Z. Orchards Shortcake Stand to indulge in a fresh shortcake or biscuit topped with heaping servings of fresh berries or peaches, ice cream and whipped cream. The stand also serves up milkshakes, floats, smoothies, ice cream and espresso. Afterwards, head inside the farm market to shop from an assortment of local produce, gourmet foods, artisan goods and fresh-baked donuts.
Jeff and Jen’s U-pick – At Jeff & Jen’s in Dayton the season begins with Sweet Sunrise strawberries around Memorial Day weekend. Hood strawberries will follow in June and raspberries usually get their start around end of June or July as the weather gets warmer. Blueberries follow soon after.
Morning Shade Farm – Farm and produce stand located in a peaceful setting offering U-pick and “picked to order” blueberries (11 varieties), and U-pick on raspberries, marionberries, boysenberries, currants (black, red, white), gooseberries, elderberries, pie cherries, hardy kiwis, apples (10 varieties), plums, pears, asian pears, Organic Vegetables (including tomatoes, beans, corn, peas, squash, and greens). Open July through October.
Fir Point Farms – From strawberries and peaches in the summer, to apples and squash in the fall, Fir Point Farmssells seasonal produce throughout the year. Stop by the country market to enjoy a scoop of Tillamook ice cream or purchase specialty foods from the Northwest, including jams, syrups and snacks. Kids will enjoy the farm’s resident bunnies, chickens and goats.
Red Ridge Farms – Red Ridge Farms has grown wine grapes for more than 40 years. Now, the farm has expanded to include a specialty plant nursery, Oregon’s only commercial olive oil mill, olive grove, wine tasting room and gift shop. See how olive oil gets from tree to table during one of the farm’s mill tours or explore the farm’s 17 acres of olive trees. After the tour, visit the onsite tasting room to taste Durant Vineyards’ Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris or Chardonnay.
Find U-pick berries and other produce: www.oregonfb.org