This is July in Oregon's Willamette Valley ― hot, sunny days when everything seems to be in season: all the berries, the tree fruits, the tomatoes and early corn. The valley has long been a source of plenty, shipping hops and wine grapes across the country. But the best of the best ― like the super-sweet Hood and Totem strawberries, or the superb wines produced by winemakers longer on passion than on marketing muscle ― never leave the valley. To experience them, you just have to be here.
From Portland, take State 99W south to the valley's west side, or State 213 south to the east side. For more information, contact the Willamette Valley Visitors Association (866/548-5018).
WHERE TO EAT
Gathering Together Farm Organic farm and market. INFO: $; lunch Tue-Sat, breakfast Sat, brunch Sun (next dates Jul 1 and 22; $20), wine dinner (next date Jul 27); 25159 Grange Hall Rd., Philomath; 541/929-4270.
King Estate Winery INFO: $$$$; 80854 Territorial Hwy., Eugene; 800/884-4441.
Marché INFO: $$$$; 296 E. Fifth Ave., Eugene; 541/342-3612.
Sybaris INFO: $$$; closed Sun?Mon; 442 First Ave., Albany; 541/928-8157.
WHERE TO TASTE
Amalie Robert Estate Owners Dena Drews and Ernie Pink opened their estate winery last year. INFO: By appointment; free tastings; 13531 Bursell Rd., Dallas; 503/831-4703.
Ayres Vineyard & Winery INFO: By appointment; tasting fee varies; 17971 N.E. Lewis Rogers Lane, Newberg; 503/538-7450.
The Carlton Winemakers Studio The co-op facility houses 10 good wineries. INFO: From $8 per tasting flight; 801 N. Scott St., Carlton; 503/852-6100.
Grochau Cellars John Grochau's Pinots are poured at Aramenta's rustic tasting room. INFO: By appointment; $5 tasting fee; at Aramenta Cellars, 17979 N.E. Lewis Rogers, Newberg; 503/538-7230.
J.K. Carriere Sip Jim Prosser's dry rosé of Pinot, then move to the Noirs. INFO: By appointment; tasting fee varies; 30295 State 99W, Newberg; 503/554-0721.
Penner-Ash Wine Cellars The views of Mt. Hood make this a must-stop. INFO: Thu-Sun, by appointment Mon-Wed; $5 tasting fee; 15771 N.E. Ribbon Ridge Rd., Newberg; 503/554-5545.
WHERE TO BUY PRODUCE
Farmers' markets The largest are in Salem (Wed and Sat; 503/585-8264), Corvallis (Wed and Sat; 541/752-1510), and Eugene (Tue and Thu; 541/431-4923). Visit www.oregonfarmersmarkets.org or call 503/233-8425 for a complete list.
Fresh to You Produce and Garden Center INFO: 41579 Stayton-Scio Rd., Stayton; 503/769-9682.
Red Ridge Farms INFO: Closed Mon-Tue; 5510 N.E. -Breyman Orchards Rd., Dayton; 503/864-8502.WHERE TO STAY
Abbey Road Farm Five guest suites at a farm in Carlton. INFO: From $175; 503/852-6278.
The Campbell House In Eugene, 20 guest rooms in cottages and an 1892 house. Prix fixe dinners ( $$$$) Friday and Saturday. INFO: From $119; 800/264-2519.
Springbrook Hazelnut Farm In Newberg, two cottages beside the barn where Jim Prosser makes his wines. INFO: From $225; 800/793-8528.
Youngberg Hill Vineyards & Inn McMinnville hostelry surrounded by Pinot vines. INFO: 7 rooms from $169; 888/657-8668.