Agri-touring & Exploring in the Valley

 Linking agricultural production and processes with tourism, agritourism is more than a form of entertainment for community members – it is also a means of education, allowing citizens to better understand the places that provide them with food, drink, and other specialized items. Oregon is an incredible place to enjoy the world of agritourism; with several farms, ranches, wineries, and nurseries, our area has a never-ending list of options. Here are just a few of the best agritourism spots near us.  

Food & Drink  

Corvallis-Albany Farmers Markets 

A local favorite, the Corvallis-Albany Farmers’ Markets are easy spots to hit on your agritourism bucket list. Farmer’s markets like these allow patrons to connect with the farmers and ranchers who sell their goods at the market, bridging the customer-seller gap and giving market goers the opportunity to learn about where their food, drink, and other items are coming from. The Corvallis-Albany Farmers’ Markets also give patrons the chance to build more appreciation for local farmers and ranchers, which ultimately leads to more support and growth for local agriculturalists.   

The Corvallis branch of the farmer’s market occurs every Saturday and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on 1st and Jackson, while the Albany branch happens every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on 4th and Ellsworth. Before you go, make sure to read the markets COVID guidelines.   

Peach Place 

Located off of Electric Road in Corvallis, The Peach Place has been in operation since 1981, bringing quality peaches to the Willamette Valley. A multi-generational family business, The Peach Place offers the opportunity for you to pick for yourself once the fruit ripens. As of now, The Peach Place is hoping to have ripe peaches ready to pick by July 27. The business will follow social distance guidelines.  

Blueberry Meadows 

This family-owned farm off of Highway 20 boasts 11 blueberry varieties and the opportunity for you to pickBlueberry Meadows itself has been in operation since the 1950s, thus providing both new and old varieties for patrons to enjoy. Blueberry Meadows is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.provided they don’t run out of berries to pick. Customers must bring their own containers, all ages are welcome, and pets are not allowed. Before visiting Blueberry Meadows, make sure to read their COVID-19 guidelines.  

Gathering Together Farm 

Gathering Together Farm (GTF) in Philomath is a must-visit for those interested in agritourism. Not only does Gathering Together offer a farm stand with organic, local produce, it also boasts a popular farmtotable restaurant. Additionally, GTF is a part of the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, which locals can become a member of to receive quality local food throughout the year. Currently, GTF’s stand is open and the public is welcome to shop, given that they mask up and practice social distancing. The GTF restaurant is closed for dine-in, but their food can still be enjoyed by ordering to-go.   

Tyee Wine Cellars 

Tyee Wine Cellars is more than just a winery, it’s an experience. Located on the Buchanan Family Century Farm in Corvallis, Tyee offers patrons the chance to explore an estate vineyard and winery, a tasting parlor and historic barns event facility, hiking trails and picnic tables in hazelnut orchards, and exquisite Willamette Valley native woodlands and wetlands. Tyee is currently open on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. A $10 fee includes open or covered picnic table seating, the tasting of five wines, the opportunity to bring your own picnic to enjoy, and the option to buy wine by the glass and bottle.  

Harris Bridge Vineyard 

Harris Bridge Vineyard in Philomath is known for their pinot gris, pinot noir vermouth, aperitifs, and dessert wines. Nestled alongside beautiful landmarks like Mary’s River and Harris Bridge, the vineyard is an incredible place to explore and picnic. Established in 1999, this winery also hosts a multitude of events for patrons to enjoy – in 2021, there will be the Harris Bridge Folk Festival, which will include yoga under the oak trees, a music parade, an auction, and more, as well as a Song Writing Camp for community members to join. Interested consumers can also become members of Ivy’s Axe through the Harris Bridge Vineyard, which includes discounts and special offers for those who sign up.   

Animals 

Iron Water Ranch 

Iron Water Ranch, located in Albany on Riverside Dr. is a multi-generational family sheep ranch that has recently made its way into the agritourism scene. Iron Water Ranch has been hosting multiple events for locals to enjoy for the past couple of years, including lamb and fleece sales, wool workshops and classes, and special family-friendly events. These include their Wool-raising Halloween Maze & Fleece Extravaganza, and Lambentine’s Day, where patrons can meet and bottle-feed lambs, participate in crafts or activities, and shop for fleeces and wool products. Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, Iron Water Ranch has been continuing to host events following pandemic guidelines. Coming up, they will be hosting an end of summer event on August 15.  

Leaping Lamb Farm 

Originally homesteaded in 1862, Leaping Lamb Farm in Alsea is a family farm experience in which visitors can stay on the farm, take farm tours, participate in farm activities, and buy produce and meat. Patrons can decide to stay overnight at Leaping Lamb, either at the Farm Cottage which looks over a hay field, orchard, and chicken yard and sleeps up to six, or at the 1895 Farm House, which boasts lots of space and can sleep up to twelve. Even if you don’t plan on staying overnight, there is plenty to do at Leaping Lamb Farm – you can take a tour, hike in the woods, feed the animals, bottle-feed lambs, garden and pick produce, pick berries, hunt for mushrooms, and more.   

Nurseries  

Donovan’s Place 

Donovan’s Place, located in west Corvallis, is a 13 acre Christmas tree farm boasting a ceramic pottery studio and two guest houses for visitors, which are open year-round. Visitors can choose to stay in the contemporary flat guesthouse, which is a modern escape featuring two bedrooms and a custom walk-in shower, or can decide to stay in the 1880’s farmhouse guesthouse, which can sleep up to 12 and is ideal for pets and kids. While staying on the farm, visitors can participate in pottery with one of the owners, Dale Donovan, who has been making pottery for over 50 years. Around the holidays, patrons can also buy a tree, wreaths, and garlands while enjoying hot cocoa and cookies.   

The Thyme Garden Herb Company  

The Thyme Garden Herb Company focuses on the sustainable growth and sale of herb seeds and herb plants, as well as dried herbs, herb teas, herb seasonings, hop rhizomes, herbal honey, and their own herb cookbook creation. Rather than only growing and selling their herbs, The Thyme Garden also focuses on bringing visitors to their garden with the intention of connecting them to nature and discussing the importance of sustainability. Via special events, garden tours, and herbal luncheons, The Thyme Garden seeks to reconnect patrons with the land and the goods it can provide. Nursery and display gardens are closed for the 2020 season, but will reopen eventually, given pandemic outcomes. Internet and phone orders are still available.   

By Cara Nixon