High Desert Food and Farm Alliance to offer farm tours this summer
People interested in spending some time on the road this summer while enjoying the different farms and foods that Central Oregon have to offer are invited to check out the High Desert Food Trail.
The Trail, which includes a variety of Crook County stops, offers a self-guided adventure through Central Oregon to help visitors and locals alike experience the culinary and agritourism opportunities that make the region unique. The trail features 45 businesses including farms, ranches, restaurants, farmers markets, craft and beverage makers and more, intended to help people dive deeper into the high desert's agricultural roots.
"With stunning landscapes to marvel at, artisan offerings to feast on, and resilient agriculture to experience, there is something for everyone on the High Desert Food Trail," Food Trail organizers said. "This year-round, self-guided High Desert Food Trail is designed to be explored at your own pace — you are welcome to start and finish wherever you like. We encourage you to inquire at individual businesses about seasonality and hours of operation before visiting."
Food Trail organizers boast that the working farms along this trail provide some of the most unique and engaging experiences. They ask that you respect the invitation to enter each property and be cautious around farm animals and equipment. In addition, children must be supervised at all times, and people should be prepared to follow all site-specific rules, and they are encouraged be prepared with appropriate footwear, sun protection and water.
Resilient Agriculture — Warm Springs to Prineville
Trail-goers are invited to experience high-desert ranching, starting their day by visiting Twisted Teepee on the Warm Springs Reservation, where people can choose from menu items like huckleberry pancakes and Indian fry bread.
Those visiting on a Saturday in summer are encouraged to spend the rest of their morning strolling past the local produce and artisan goods at the Madras Saturday Market in Sahalee Park. Trail participants are then invited to visit New Basin Distilling Company for a tour of the facility, and sample their spirits made from Opal Springs water and rye grown in Jefferson County. Organizers go on to point out that the ranches in Terrebonne are worth the stop.
"If you're visiting in fall, head over to DD Ranch, known for its pumpkin patch, hayrides and petting zoo," Food Trail leaders suggest. "If alpacas are more your thing, stop by Crescent Moon Ranch, where you can pet and feed their herd (even the babies) while also sampling their fiber products."
The trail includes a variety of options in Prineville, the final community on the Warm Springs to Prineville trail. People are invited to go to SunLife Farm and Ranch for a U-pick lavender experience and to see the apiary. The property is home to 5 miles of hiking trails overlooking the Ochoco Mountains, organizers note.
"Make sure to factor in a stop to L & S Farm and Garden, a farm store that offers homemade, canned, pickled and preserved goods including jams, jellies, syrups, seasonings and more," Trail leaders urge. "End your day at the Wine Down Ranch, a working cattle farm with overnight accommodations including a tiny house, a bunkhouse and campsites. In addition to experiencing life on a ranch, the Wine Down is a great spot for hiking, biking, birdwatching and stargazing."
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