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End of Summer Events

Posted on: August 20th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

We’re in the home stretch of summer, with just over a month until the Autumnal Equinox. We plan to soak up every last drop of summer sunshine and shenanigans. See below for the best of the best of the Tualatin Valley’s end-of-summer events.

Bask in the fading glow of summer, made easy with a Labor Day wine tasting at Plum Hill Vineyards.

Bask in the fading glow of summer, made easy with a Labor Day wine tasting at Plum Hill Vineyards.

Oregon Renaissance Festival
August 23-September 21, weekends | 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. | Washington County Fair Complex | $7.95-$15.95
Encounter a magical 16th century European village of knights, fairies and more. Bonus: learn medieval lingo!

WinCo Foods Portland Open
August 20-24 | varying times | Pumpkin Ridge Golf Course | $15
Don’t miss your chance to see the next Bubba Watson or Keegan Bradley battle for one of 25 PGA Tour Cards.

Wapato Showdown
August 23 | all day | Brown Park | free
Car enthusiasts show off their tricked-out cars and motorcycles with fun contests to boot.  

Labor Day Tasting at Quailhurst Vineyard Estate
August 30 | 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. | Quailhurst Vineyard Estate | $10-$20
Watch Quailhurst Vineyard Estate’s beautiful horses while sipping the winery’s fine Pinot.

Labor Day Wine & Art Show
August 30-September 1 | noon to 6 p.m. | Plum Hill Vineyard | No cover charge
Celebrate the long weekend with wine from Plum Hill Vineyards and great local artists.

Summer Festival at Garden Vineyards
September 11-14 | noon to 10 p.m. | Garden Vineyards | free
Live music, wine, and delicious food…Garden Vineyards does the end of summer right.

Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day
September 13 | all day | McMenamins Grand Lodge | free
The McMenamins Grand Lodge can’t wait for St. Patrick’s Day. Enter, an Irish-themed party now

Sidewalk Chalk Art Festival
September 20 | 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. | Valley Art Gallery | free
Release the artist within! Create a colorful sidewalk masterpiece in historic downtown Forest Grove.

Annual Corn Roast
September 20 | 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. | Pacific University | no cover charge
Feast on fresh roasted corn as a tribute to the last of summer’s harvest.

OMSI Star Party: Autumnal Equinox Celebration
September 20 | 7 p.m. | Stub Stewart State Park | free
Welcome the new season with a star party. Experts will help you catch a glimpse of Venus, Saturn and Mars.

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Recipe: Nutty Berry Torte

Posted on: August 1st, 2014 by Jackie Luskey 2 Comments
Make our delicious recipe for an Oregon berry torte.

Make our delicious recipe for an Oregon berry torte.

Do you suffer from berry anxiety disorder? Symptoms include extreme concern about one’s ability to consume as many fresh Oregon berries as possible during the summer months. The disorder manifests itself in weekend u-pick outings, excessive visits to farmers markets and long drives, spotting berry crop signs along the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route. You know what they say: food is medicine. So cure your summer berry anxiety disorder with our scrumptious (and gluten free!) recipe for nutty berry torte!


Nutty Berry Torte

Adapted from Carol Kicinksi’s Simply…Gluten Free Desserts

Pecan Crust
2 cups Jossy Farms pre-picked walnuts (pecans and hazelnuts work, too!)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 pinch kosher salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
Spray a nine-inch pie plate with non-stick cooking spray
In a food processor, pulse nuts, sugar and salt together until ground
Add melted butter to the food processor and pulse until combined into the mixture
Press the mixture evenly into the pie plate, taking care to make sure it is evenly spread
Bake crust for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned.
(The crust may be a little soft, but it will continue cooking outside of the oven and firm up)

Let crust cool completely before adding the filling.

Torte Filling
8 ounces of softened cream cheese
¼ cup superfine sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Freshly squeezed lemon juice from ½ of a lemon
2 pints of assorted berries
(we like Gordon’s Acres raspberries, Smith Berry Barn blueberries and Ungers Farms Albion strawberries)

¼ cup jam (we like Unger Farms raspberry jam)
2 tablespoons of Chambord raspberry flavored liqueur

In a medium sized mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla with a mixer until well blended.
Spread cream cheese mixture onto bottom of the pecan crust
Top with berries
Refrigerate for four to 12 hours
In a separate small bowl, whisk together jam and Chambord until well combined
Drizzle the jammy liqueur over the berries and serve

Tell us your favorite dish to make with Oregon ingredients and maybe we’ll give it a whirl in our own test-kitchen!

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Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway: Wheel Turn 6

Posted on: July 30th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Are you ready for the crisp air from the Coastal Range, apple orchards and even a dinosaur? We’re back with our sixth installment in the “Wheel Turn Series” of the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway. As a review, you can cycle backwards and read the previous Wheel Turn blog posts:

There's a myriad  eye-candy along the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway.

There’s a myriad eye-candy along the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway.

Continuing up NW Porter Road, the bike path will transition into NW Visitation Road. As the road forces a left onto NW Osterman Road, cyclists have the opportunity to take a side road, NW Evers Road, as an easy and paved shortcut, jumping a few miles of the bikeway. That said, we encourage savvy cyclists to journey on the bikeway; your efforts will be rewarded turning right onto NW Kansas City Road with the sight of a Triceratops. Yes, you read that right. A Triceratops named Breezy is a delightful roadside attraction that also marks your entry into the foothills of the coastal range. Enjoy the crisp—even breezy—air that it brings.

Pedaling on, Kansas City Road is also home to Bull Run Cider’s founding location. Oregon’s newest hard cider producer has lovingly planted acres of young heirloom apple trees. Repeat riders of the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway love taking a moment of pause to see how much the young trees have grown since their last visit. In addition to the orchard, the cidery also has a romantic old barn for a picture-perfect photo-op.

If you prefer your agricultural landscapes to air more toward the savory than sweet, then you’ll be happy to see the fields and fields of corn and wheat on NW Greenville Road. You can measure the wind by the sway of the wheat and corn stalks. The rural scene continues on as cyclists turn left onto NW Roy road and then left onto NW Mountainside Road. The Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway is nearing its final, glittering stretch, but we’ll save that for next month.

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Ask a Local: Cooper Mountain Vineyards’ Barbara Gross

Posted on: July 28th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey 1 Comment
Barbara Gross of Cooper Mountain Vineyards gives visitors her inside scoop on the Tualatin Valley.

Barbara Gross of Cooper Mountain Vineyards gives visitors her inside scoop on the Tualatin Valley.

When it comes to vacation planning, nothing is more valuable than the local scoop. So, we turned to Barbara Gross of Cooper Mountain Vineyards. As a born-and-raised local of Oregon’s Washington County, she has the ultimate tips.
What makes Cooper Mountain Vineyards so special?
The soils. The place. We own and manage four vineyards throughout Oregon’s Washington County. And our philosophy is simple: craft authentic wines while respecting the soils and the land they originate from.
What do you love most about interacting with visitors?
The most satisfying interaction I have with visitors is being able to point to the specific acre of Pinot Noir, tell them the story of how Mother Nature provided us with that vintage and have them taste the Tualatin Valley.
What will visitors find happening in the vineyards now?
The North Willamette Valley is buzzing during the summer. She wears her colors well. Full canopy on the vines. Toward the end of the summer, the grapes begin to change color. Clear blue skies provide visuals of the mountains, reminding us of the volcanic nature of the soils where the vines reside.
Other than a visit to Cooper Mountain Vineyards, what’s one can’t-miss attraction for visitors to the area?
All the other wineries!
Describe a perfect day in Washington County.
Picnicking on one of our vineyards, with local Pinot Noir in your glass after you’ve spent the morning at a local berry u-pick farm.
What’s a favorite “hidden gem” of the area?
NAK WON! The Tualatin Valley boasts some of the best Korean and Vietnamese restaurants in the country. And Syun Izakaya has been a longtime and outstanding gem.
Where do you go when you want some seriously good grub?
See above! In addition, decarli restaurant and The South Store Café.
What should every visitor take home as a souvenir?
I would hope they would take away the impactful memory of the beauty of the place. And come back and visit.
Describe Oregon’s Washington County in 5 words or less.
Where the city meets the country.

Other tips from locals:
Curiosities Vintage Mall’s Travis Diskin
Maggie Buns’ Maggie Pike
Clean Water Service’s Sheri Wantland
SakéOne’s Steve Vuylsteke
Bag&Baggage’s Scott Palmer
Vine Gogh’s Jenny Schildan

Five Ideas for Dog-Friendly Fun

Posted on: July 23rd, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Just minutes from Portland is a dog (and dog-lover!) paradise full of hound-happy activities.

Just minutes from Portland is a dog (and dog-lover!) paradise full of hound-happy activities.

The Tualatin Valley is a pooch’s paradise. Unpretentious wineries, unhurried restaurants, and laid-back summer festivals make for a plethora of dog-friendly frolics. We’re ready for a howlin’ good time. Check out five favorite activities for humans and canines alike.

1. Tualatin Crawfish Festival’s “Atsa My Dawg”
August 2 | 1:30 pm. To 3:30 p.m. |Tualatin Commons | $4
What makes your dog special? While crawfish are the center of this three-day festival, dogs will steal the show at Saturday’s “Atsa My Dawg Show” costume and talent competition.

2. Canines Uncorked
August 9 | 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. |various wineries | $40
If you’re over-the-moon about dogs and wine, then you’ll love this dog-friendly wine event with 100% of the proceeds going to the Oregon Humane Society. Each of the 13 locations includes dog-themed activities. Pooch portraits, anyone?

3. Toast to the Tunes
August 7 & August 21 | 6 p.m. To 9 p.m.
Oak Knoll Winery | $5

Oak Knoll Winery spices up summer with its bi-weekly concert series. Bring a picnic, blanket and dog! This kid and dog-friendly event is the perfect way to jump start the weekend.

4. Advanced Fetch at L.L. “Stub” Stewart State Park
Year-round | 6 p.m. To 9 p.m. | L.L. “Stub” Stewart Park | free
The off-leash dog park at L.L. Stub Stewart State is set atop a steep-sloped hill. One round of fetch will tucker out any dog. See the dog park in action with this Grant’s Getaway segment.

5. Hike to Happy Hour
Year-round | dawn to dusk | Fanno Creek Trail | free
With dog-friendly patios near lovely hiking trails, turn the wagging-tail hour into happy hour. After a jaunt through the Fanno Creek Trail, walk to the nearby Max’s Fanno Creek Brew Pub or Fireside Grill for some tasty nibbles and drinks.

With all of these dog-friendly activities, you’re going to need a few nights stay. Book the Bow Wow Package or a room at one of our other pet friendly hotels.

Past dog-happy blog posts:
Wine Dog “Ghost”
Wedding Crashing Wine Dogs

Rosé in Rose City

Posted on: July 21st, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
With the Rosé in Rose City wine tasting event, we're saying "Yes Way Rosé" in a big way.

With the Rosé in Rose City wine tasting event, we’re saying “Yes Way Rosé” in a big way.

Yes Way Rosé

We don’t know who coined that phrase, but we sure know that we agree with it. In fact, it has become a motto this summer, especially with so many North Willamette wineries turning star Pinot grapes into extraordinary rosés. Thankfully, the North Willamette Vintners event, Rosé in Rose City, brings all of these stellar rosé offerings into one blush-worthy wine tasting event (July 31; 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.; $25 per person).

Rosé in Rose City will take place, a short drive from Portland, at Oak Knoll Winery.  Expect rosé and other summer varietals from 17 local wineries, as well as food pairings, lawn games and live music. Come with an appetite because rosé pairs well with barbeque and other smoky flavors. Fittingly, Hillsboro’s The Meating Place will provide local, sustainable and house-cured  barbeque. When it comes to rosé, remember that it’s think pink all around: pink meats go with pink wine!

Check out the event details for a full listing of participating wineries. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the delightful rosé to be had:

Abbey Creek Vineyard goes rogue with its rosé blend, abandoning Pinot in favor of a 70% Sangiovese and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon for its 2012 Mélange Rosé. The result is a softly sweet and happily zingy glass of wine.

Montinore Estate also brings its rosé A-game with its 2013 Pinot Rosé. The notes of strawberry, black cherry and dried fruit create a sip that is fruity yet tightly structured.

Unlike its Pinot Noir counterparts, rosé is meant to be enjoyed relatively close to its bottling. So, pick up the youngest bottles of your favorites at the Rosé in Rose City event and take them home—by the case-full—with Alaska Airlines’ “Oregon Wines Fly Free” promotion. That way, you can drink rosé for the rest of the summer in Tualatin Valley style.

P.S. Everything’s coming up roses! Check out these rose-named shops, spas and restaurants:


Five Great Places for Outdoor Dining

Posted on: July 14th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Fact: this sandwich tastes even better on the patio at Hayden's Lakefront Grill

Fact: this sandwich tastes even better on the patio at Hayden’s Lakefront Grill

In Italian, “al fresco” means in the cool air. Yes, the cool air after the high heat of the day has passed and a refreshing evening breeze begins.  Dining al fresco is one of the simple joys of summer, encouraging leisurely dinners among friends. Check out a sampling of our favorite outdoor dining options:

The Fireside Grill adds spark back into dinner time with fire pits in the middle of their patio tables. Try “The Portlander” burger: a vegan patty on a gluten free bun with hummus, served with a salad dressed in lemon chia seed vinaigrette. All that’s left is to put a bird on it!

Lake Sunsets
Hayden’s Lakefront Grill is situated along Tualatin’s Lake of the Commons, where the lake mirrors the sky’s peachy pinks and periwinkle blues. The evening is heightened by calamari and risotto cakes, followed by a lux slumber at Century Hotel.

Beer Garden
McMenamins Raleigh Hills Pub brings Bavarian summer traditions to the Tualatin Valley with a lovely outdoor beer garden. The garden sits adjacent to the pub and its pyramid-style roof, which looks just as impressive from outside as from within.

Vineyard Views
Ponzi Vineyards Winery shows how al fresco dining only requires a nibble, so long as there is good wine. The tasting room’s patio sits atop a Chehalem Mountains slope, providing sweeping views lush farmland. The antipasti plate makes for a great patio snack.

Treehouse Experience
Tree’s Restaurant lives up to its namesake as every seat has views of gorgeous greenery.  While you can sit outside with the patio heater, the al fresco lifestyle is brought indoors with large windows and thoughtful tree artwork. So settle in and enjoy the Italian-Creole fusion cuisine, including shrimp with Parmesan grits.

Farm-to-Table Events
For a truly extraordinary al fresco dining experience, sign up for a farm-to-table dinner!

Farm to Table Dinner at Nana Cardoon Farms
July 19 | 6 p.m. |$75 per person

Our Table in the Field Dinner
August 9 | 4:30 p.m. |$85 per person

Farm to Table: Celebrating Hillsboro’s Agricultural Heritage
August 22 | 5:30 p.m. |$75 per person  

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Oregon Lavender Festival Art & Recipes

Posted on: July 9th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments


JoAnn Boatwright's lavender and Tualatin Valley photography will be on show at Helvetia Lavender Farm during the Oregon Lavender Festival. Photo Credit: JoAnn Boatwright

JoAnn Boatwright’s lavender and Tualatin Valley photography will be on show at Helvetia Lavender Farm during the Oregon Lavender Festival. Photo Credit: JoAnn Boatwright

Did you know lavender was used as a holy herb in ancient temples? Religion aside, many agree that lavender smells heavenly. And it looks lovely, tastes good, and its essential oils feel! Oregonians like lavender so much that we created a festival dedicated to it!

This weekend’s Oregon Lavender Festival  lets lavender lovers explore the Tualatin Valley’s most fragrant farms:

Barb’s Dutchmill Herbfarm
Helvetia Lavender Farm
Jackson School Lavender
Mountainside Lavender Farm
Each farm will have u-pick and ready-picked lavender, along with lavender-themed art, food and crafts. Local photographer and blogger, JoAnn Boatwright, will showcase her artwork at Helvetia Lavender Farm. Describing her inspiration, JoAnn said, “You can be in any city in the county and in just a few miles be in some of the most lovely and bucolic settings you could ever wish to see—if you really look. I like to photograph the area just to remind myself how lucky I am to live here. I share my photos in hopes of reminding others.”

So what will you do with the lavender bounty you bring home? We suggest taking a cue from lavender expert, Nancy Miller of Helvetia Lavender Farm. Her pecan crusted salmon with lavender is the perfect summer evening, al fresco dish.

Nancy Miller's Pecan Crusted Salmon with Lavender.

Nancy Miller’s Pecan Crusted Salmon with Lavender.


Pecan Crusted Salmon with Lavender
Recipe by Nancy Miller, Helvetia Lavender Farm

2 ½ lb. filet of salmon
1 lemon
1 tsp Herbes de Provence with an additional 1/2 tsp of lavender bud
½ cup of ground pecans
Dash of salt and pepper

Use olive oil to spray a sheet of foil twice the size of the salmon. Place salmon in center of foil. Squeeze 1/2 of lemon over salmon, sprinkle the spices on filet, and spread the ground pecans evenly over the top.  Place on grill, put cover down, turn flame to medium and grill for about 7 minutes.  Then turn to low and cover lightly with foil so that top cooks evenly.  Test for desired consistency after 5 minutes.

If you really want to bliss out on Oregon, pair the meal with our lavender infused cocktail recipe.

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What’s in Season and Where to Get It

Posted on: July 7th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Check the farmers market boards (or our website!) to find out what's in season in the Tualatin Valley.

Check the farmers market boards (or our website!) to find out what’s in season in the Tualatin Valley.

The Tualatin Valley is bursting with the juiciest of produce right now. A drive down the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route makes curves and bends around strawberry fields, corn stalks and acres of pear trees—and that’s just to name of few of the agricultural bounties found along the route.  For a one-stop-shop of the area’s best food finds, head to one of our farmers markets. Here, farmers congregate to share what’s ripe right now. No matter when you visit, you can always find out what’s growing with our “Seasonal Guide to Oregon” on our Farms & Markets page.

Now, let’s see what’s in season now, as well as a sampling of the u-pick farms and farm stores where you can get it. Please note that many of the farms listed below actually offer a wide array of fruit and vegetable options; so feel free to continue exploring your u-pick and farm stand options!

Berry Fever
Stain your fingers purple with Oregon’s best berry u-pick farms. Pick berries by the bucket while dreaming up tantalizing cobbler and pie recipes.
Blackberries: Rowell Brothers U-Pick
Blueberries: Blueberry Hill Farm, Bonny Slope Blueberries, Muir Blueberry Farm, Sara’s Blueberries (all u-pick)
Marionberries (short season): Hoffman Farms Store (u-pick)
Raspberries: Gordon’s Acres (u-pick)
Strawberries (short season): Groveland Acres (u-pick)

Stone Fruit
Pick ‘em quick because these beauties enjoy a relatively short season. It’s hard to beat a perfectly ripe peach in the summertime.
Apricot (short season): Beaverton Farmers Market’s ProFarm Produce (farm stand)
Cherries (short season): Duyck’s Peachy Pig Farm (farm stand; other fruits available for u-pick)
Peaches: Jossy Farms (u-pick)

Cooking Mainstays
Sweets don’t have to rule your summer produce. Experiment with new soups, casseroles, and sauces, too!
Beans: Dairy Creek Farm & Produce (farm stand)
Herbs: Unger’s Farm (farm stand; also great for berry u-pick)
Lavender: Oregon Lavender Festival (u-pick and farm stand)
Tomatoes: Gramma’s Farm Store (farm store)

Signs of Next Season
Even in the thick of summer, there are signs of fall. Fall favorite produce—like apples and potatoes—actually begin their seasons as early as late July or August, which is good for picnic fare like apple pie and potato salad.
Apples: Smith Berry Barn (farm store, late August)
Potatoes: Baggenstos Farm (farm store)

What’s your favorite fruit? Whatever it is, don’t settle for the grocery store when getting it. Take a little getaway so that you can get to know your favorite foods, up-close-and-personal.

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Hillsboro Pharmacy’s All-American History

Posted on: July 2nd, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

There is something quintessentially patriotic about independently-owned American pharmacies. While they are no longer a mainstay in many historic downtowns, the small-business charm of community-minded drugstores are nostalgic emblems of a bygone era. With Independence Day around the corner, we’re taking a moment to spotlight the Americana magic of the Hillsboro Pharmacy and Fountain.

Created with flickr slideshow.


The Hillsboro Pharmacy was established in 1873 by Dr. Francis Alonzo Bailey on the corner of Hillsboro’s 2nd and Main (today, the pharmacy can be found at 243 E. Main Street). Bailey, Tennessee born, came west after serving as a Confederate Army doctor during the Civil War. Despite his southern roots and complicated past, Bailey and his family of ten became an integral part of Hillsboro’s growth before it even became a fully incorporated city. Bailey even served three terms as the blossoming city’s mayor.

Now open for more than 140 years, the Hillsboro Pharmacy is one of the oldest businesses in Oregon, as well as one of the last functioning soda fountains in the state. That alone makes it special; however, the pharmacy’s true spark comes from its cheery environment counter and the cherry on top of your ice cream sundae.

The fountain whips up all your favorite classic desserts: towering sundaes, thick chocolate malts and fizzy floats. If you need something savory first, then watch the soda jerk grill a juicy patty melt or Reuben. The soda fountain is actually most hoppin’ during breakfast. Early bird travelers are welcome to join Hillsboro locals—often including past mayors—for biscuits and gravy, omelets and pancakes. Beyond the fountain counter, don’t miss out on the rows of sweet gifts and souvenirs. A breakfast date here is one of the finest ways to start your day of exploring the Tualatin Valley.

The Hillsboro Pharmacy’s slogan is “an alternative to reality since 1873.” Back in the early days, that escape came from businessmen and farmers taking a respite from work life. While that remains true today, the “alternative to reality” has come to encompass so much more, offering a moment to revel in America’s living-history.

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