The Willamette Valley wine country is not just about wine. It also produces quite a few other crops, and a tour of this region can include stops at a variety of interesting roadside stands and farms.
South of Hillsboro there is a wonderful grouping of farms in the community of Scholls. To reach this area, which is on the northern edge of wine country, take U.S. 26 west from Portland, go south on Ore. 217 and then take the Scholls Ferry Road (Ore. 210) exit and drive southwest for about 8 miles. Here you'll find the Hoffman Farms Store, 22242 SW Scholls Ferry Rd. (tel. 503/628-5418; www.hoffmanfarmsstore.com), where in the summer you can buy fresh berries. Across the road from this farm stand you'll find Oregon Heritage Farms, 22801 SW Scholls Ferry Rd. (tel. 503/628-2775), which sells apples and cider in the autumn months. During the summer -- peak season is the month of July -- you can pick your own berries at Rowell Brothers U-Pick, 24050 SW Scholls Ferry Rd. (tel. 503/628-0431; www.rowellbros.com). This farm also sells pre-picked berries. More berries, plus gourmet foods and lots more, can be found at Smith Berry Barn Farm and Garden Market, 24500 SW Scholls Ferry Rd. (tel. 503/628-2172; www.smithberrybarn.com). Across the street from this big red barn, you'll find the South Store Café, my favorite area lunch spot. Scholls Ferry Road becomes Hillsboro Highway (Ore. 219) at this point and leads over Chehalem Mountain to the heart of the wine country. A little ways up this road, you'll come to Mountainside Lavender Farm, 17805 SW Hillsboro Hwy. (tel. 503/936-6744; www.mountainsidelavender.com), where you can pick your own lavender during the summer. The little shop here sells lots of lavender products. In early July, this farm participates in the Oregon Lavender Festival.
Between Dundee and McMinnville, there are several other good places to stop. Firestone Farms, 18400 N. Ore. 99W, Dayton (tel. 503/864-2672), just west of Dundee, sells a wide selection of local produce, wines, and gourmet foods. For fresh local fruit, don't miss Sweet Oregon Berry Farm (tel. 503/864-2897), which is at the junction of Ore. 18 and Ore. 99W, between Dundee and Lafayette. Dried flowers, herbs, soaps, and other garden-related gifts can also be found at the beautiful Red Ridge Farms, 5510 NE Breyman Orchards Rd., Dayton (tel. 503/864-8502; www.redridgefarms.com), a nursery and gift shop high in the hills west of Dundee and near Domaine Drouhin Oregon and Domain Serene. Call for directions and hours. Red Ridge Farms is also home to the Oregon Olive Mill, which produces olive oil from olive trees growing here at the farm.
Southwest of McMinnville, off Ore. 18, you can buy fresh produce spring through fall at Farmer John's Produce & Nursery, 15000 SW Oldsville Rd., McMinnville (tel. 503/474-3514; www.farmerjohnsproduce.com). If you like chocolate, head to nearby Amity and stop in at the Brigittine Monastery, 23300 Walker Lane (tel. 503/835-8080; www.brigittine.org), which is known for its heavenly fudge. The fudge and truffles are for sale at the guest reception area, which is open Monday through Saturday from 9am to 5pm and Sunday from 1 to 5pm.
On the western edge of wine country, 7 miles west of McMinnville near Sheridan, you can shop for art at the Lawrence Gallery, 19700 SW Ore. 18 (tel. 503/843-3633; www.lawrencegallery.net). This large art gallery features regional artists and has a sculpture garden and a water garden.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.