All throughout the Willamette Valley, farmer's markets are popping up their tents, propping up their tables and unloading their farm and garden treasures for anyone seeking a purely organic culinary experience. Culinary tourism here is fast becoming the reason why people are planning their entire vacations around food. It is also one of the top 10 reasons why someone chooses a destination to begin with.
Almost two years ago, Sunset Magazine wrote an article on the Willamette Valley and why it is such a treasure trove of really good, fresh, wholesome food. Because of that article, Matt Bennett, owner of Sybaris and Clemenza's in Albany still receives guests that have traveled just to taste the bounty he prepares and serves in his restaurants. With monthly menu changes, Matt uses his culinary skills to prepare his classical meals using only the freshest ingredients found in the region.
Jack and Heidi Czarnecki own The Joel Palmer House in Dayton and have also given visitors to Oregon a reason to eat really good food. On the Oregon and National Historic Registers, The Joel Palmer House is home to one of the finest restaurants in the Willamette Valley. Gathering mushrooms on the property along with other locally grown ingredients such as greens, herbs and vegetables, the dishes prepared and served here are spectacular. Using a method they refer to as "freestyle", Jack and Heidi also use ingredients found in Mexico, China, Thailand, Poland and India. For example, taste Joe's Wild Mushroom Soup or Heidi's 3 Mushroom Tart or the Rack of Lamb Palmer House with Hazelnut Pepper Sauce and Jalapeno Cornbread, oh my gosh! You can't stop there, so try the Cheesecake with Dayton Berry Sauce or the Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding.
French Prairie Gardens in St. Paul, Oregon is the epitome of the "farm to table" experience. So, if you decide to plan your Oregon vacation around "food", visit the gardens in St. Paul on your way home. Be sure to bring your farmer's market basket and fill it with fresh vegetables, breads, fruits, muffins, scones, cobblers and anything else your heart or belly desires. This 500 acre farm offers a little bit of all that is good and fertile in the Willamette Valley. The rural setting, the animals, the food so fresh from the soil, this farm is another reason why culinary tourism here in Oregon is the heart of sustainability and simply a really good reason to dine on really good food.
And, after you have dined, check out or into an Oregon Bed & Breakfast. In Albany, you have your choice of three Oregon Bed and Breakfast Guild membership inns. The Train House Inn, Edelweiss Manor or The Pfeiffer Cottage Inn. In and around St. Paul and Dayton, The Lobenhaus Bed & Breakfast offers a full Oregon Bounty breakfast prepared with fresh seasonal ingredients from their own gardens or local farmer's market.
So many ways to taste all that is fertile and good here in the Willamette Valley. Culinary tourism at it's tastiest!