Stop for produce, flowers and award-winning wine
Find produce, flowers and award-winning wines on the Marion Farm Loop. The route takes you to 22 different farm stops in the Salem, Oregon, area. The trail has everything from flourishing gardens and family-owned farm markets to picturesque wineries and one-of-a-kind accommodations. Here are seven must-do experiences along the trail:
1. Take a scenic drive through Oregon’s Mid-Willamette Valley
The Marion Farm Loop spans across a gorgeous portion of the Mid-Willamette Valley. From Aurora, Oregon, to Jefferson, Oregon, the loop will take you on a scenic route through the valley. Situated between the Coastal Range and Cascade Range, you’ll have breathtaking views of mountains, rolling hills and the countryside.
The valley’s mild climate and fertile soil makes it an ideal farming location. Along the way, you’ll also pass vineyards, hopyards and hazelnut groves.
2. Pick fresh ingredients straight from the farm
The Pringle Creek community garden offers organic produce and honey at its one-of-a-kind urban farm and farmstand. While you are there, check out the eco-friendly growing methods used inside the restored, vintage glasshouses. This sustainable, residential community, or “agrihood,” is located just southeast of Salem.
Family-owned since 1925, Meyer Peach Orchard, in Salem, grows two different varieties of peaches on its u-pick farm. Order ahead of time for larger quantities of pre-picked peaches, or walk up to purchase a five-pound box.
Go apple picking at Beilke Family Farm, in Brooks, Oregon, from August to November. The nine-acre, u-pick orchard features 15 varieties of apples throughout the year. In the summer months, the farm opens its blueberry fields for both u-pick and we-pick.
Pick your produce directly from the source at Greens Bridge Gardens in Jefferson. The farm offers u-pick on nearly all of its available produce. Find ripe berries and peaches for summer desserts, or gather tomatoes and peppers to keep for winter soups.
3. Taste foodie finds along the way
There is something for everyone at a farmers’ market! Visit one of the Salem Community Markets’ four weekly markets during the summer months to pick up your Oregon-grown organic produce, purchase fresh baked goods and munch on homemade goodies from local vendors.
E.Z. Orchards is a popular spot among locals to pick up fresh produce and treats year-round. But the farm market is best known for its homemade donuts. The donuts are baked fresh every day, with seasonal flavors such as apple cider, blueberry and pumpkin.
Stop for lunch at Willamette Valley Pie Company. With both indoor and outdoor seating, the retail store serves lunch, smoothies and coffee throughout the year. Don’t forget to grab a slice of pie on your way out!
In the summer months, visit the Minto Island Growers Food Cart. From salads and sandwiches, to wood-fired pizzas and milkshakes, the cart offers a delicious spread of farm-grown, homemade food. The organic farm is also home to one of the only farm-scale tea plots in the country.
The French Prairie Gardens bakery is full of great foodie finds! Cookies, scones, fruit pies and breads are baked fresh every day using as many ingredients from the farm as possible.
4. Visit Wine Country
Wine enthusiasts will appreciate the trail’s wine loop. From well-known vineyards to small boutique wineries, the 60-mile-long experience will take you to six different tasting rooms.
Located just minutes from the heart of downtown Salem, Honeywood Winery is the oldest producing winery in Oregon. The winery offers complimentary tastings seven days a week.
Once told that there was no future in winemaking for women, Sandee Piluso is now the owner and winemaker at Piluso Vineyard & Winery. The tasting room is located in Aumsville, Oregon, on a turn-of-the-century farm. As Sandee is also a master gardener, guest can enjoy picnic lunches in the vintner’s garden.
Pudding River Wine Cellars is a family-owned vineyard and winery in Salem. The winery pours small-lot, boutique-style wines, including Pinot Noir, Syrah and Malbec, out of its barn-inspired tasting room.
Vitis Ridge Winery started out as a hobby for Chris and Sharon Deckelmann. The winery now produces more varieties of wine than some large production wineries. The Deckelmanns focus on producing unique wines and specialty blends. The tasting room is located right outside of downtown Silverton, Oregon.
At Scenic Valley Farms, in Gervais, you will find handcrafted wines from grapes grown on the estate along with cherries, hazelnuts, hops, pears and more. Visit the vineyard, bring a picnic lunch or explore the antique tractor collection.
5. Plan a family day on the farm
Bauman’s Farm & Garden, in Gervais, Oregon, hosts one of the largest harvest festivals in the Salem-area and is consistently ranked as one of the best fall celebrations in the valley. The farm offers more than 30 activities for children of all ages. Adults can enjoy the festival’s live entertainment and the farm’s hard cider. You’ll also find harvest festivals at E.Z. Orchards, Greens Bridge Gardens and French Prairie Gardens.
6. Grow a garden
The Salem-area is home to beautiful Sebright Gardens, which offers more than 900 varieties of hostas, as well as 150 varieties of ferns and other shade-loving plants. Wander through four acres of display gardens and then select plants to take home for your yard or patio.
Egan Gardens is located on a family farm in Salem. With greenhouses full of flowering plants, hanging baskets and planters, the garden center strives to grow strong, healthy plants that will thrive in your garden. Gardening help is available through weekend classes or by asking staff members, who help grow and care for the plants.
Make your garden dreams a reality at Terra Gardens Nursery & Bark in Salem. This one-stop-shop is a great place to find everything you need for indoor and outdoor gardening. Continue your gardening tour to Margie’s Farm & Garden. What started as a roadside flower shop has now blossomed into a retail center in Aurora, Oregon. This family-run garden center grows everything from vegetables and herbs to succulents and lavender.
7. Book a stay
Overlooking an 80-acre garden, the Oregon Garden Resort offers spacious rooms in a picture-perfect setting. Located in Silverton, the resort has a full-service spa, outdoor pool and Northwest-inspired food and wines at the resort restaurant. Guests receive free tickets to explore more than 20 specialty gardens located on the property.
Plan a luxurious wine country retreat to Willamette Valley Vineyards’ Winery Suites in Turner, Oregon. With expansive vineyard views and award-winning wines, the suites offer an unforgettable experience. Enjoy dinner in the tasting room or watch the sunset over the vines on your private outdoor patio.
Stay in a restored, two-story country farmhouse at Raintree Tropical’s Country Bed and Breakfast in Silverton. The guesthouse can accommodate up to seven people. Guests can enjoy a lovely garden, toasty fireplace and homemade pastries and fresh fruit each morning.
Know before you go: