The High Desert Food Trail: Agriculture & Culinary Delights Await
A nibble, a nosh, or a feast: Visitors and locals alike can get a tasty sampling of the high desert by exploring the High Desert Food Trail, a self-guided journey through the region’s culinary and agriculture businesses. The trail aims to connect people to the many tastes of Central Oregon through experiences such as on-farm visits, stops at tasting rooms, artisan markets, restaurants and more.
The High Desert Food Trail is a partnership between a Central Oregon organization, High Desert Food & Farm Alliance, and Travel Oregon that works to increase access and spread education about healthy foods. Visitors who explore some of the 45 businesses (farms, ranches, restaurants, farmer’s markets, craft and beverage makers, and more) along the way might be surprised to learn about the region’s diverse and bountiful agriculture and culinary scene, according to staff from the High Desert Food & Farm Alliance. “Many people believe that local food is unavailable in Central Oregon due to our sandy soils and frosty nights, but we have one of the most vibrant local food scenes in the state,” said Annie Nichols, HDFFA Agricultural Support Manager. 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. Learn about some of the stops below. For the full itinerary, view the full downloadable trail map.
Trail stop: Bluestone Natural Farms, Powell Butte
Farm owners Mike and Onda Hueners both grew up on farms and together operate their own growing farmstead, Bluestone Natural Farms, in the rural Central Oregon community of Powell Butte. Here, visitors can take an educational farm tour, passing by 35 head of cattle, 40 goats, 40 pigs and 25 chickens, and exploring a greenhouse, milking barn and small storefront. The Hueners both hold separate full-time jobs (he as a landscape business owner and she as a nurse at St. Charles Medical Center), but have high hopes to someday retire and solely focus on their farm.
Trail stop: Feast Food Company, Redmond
Parked at General Duffy’s Waterhole in Redmond, this food truck partners with local farms to supply ingredients for the menu, which features items like a roasted pork dish, charred veggie salad, pork belly and burgers, with offerings changed seasonally based on what ingredients are available. When visiting, check the menu to see exactly which farms and other food purveyors have supplied the ingredients. feastxfood.com
Trail stop: Mecca Grade Estate, Madras
Dive into Central Oregon’s beer culture with a visit to Mecca Grade Estate Malt House and Tasting Room, situated on 1,000 acres in a rural area north of Madras and east of Warm Springs. This family-run malthouse aims to bring back the flavors of old European malts, with malted barley varieties bred in partnership with barley scientists at Oregon State University. Stop by to taste the difference this premium malt makes with a flight of beers brewed on-site. meccagrade.com.
More inspiring stories, adventures, and tips & tricks for planning and experiencing the best Central Oregon has to offer.
Best Hot Springs in Central Oregon, Bend & Beyond
Oregon is known for being an outdoor paradise; where else can travelers discover misty forests, snowy mountain peaks and vast desert expanses in one day? From the Cascade Mountains to the Painted Hills, volcanic activity has helped shape the many different landscapes of Oregon. Along with mountains and valleys, Oregon’s volcanic past helped create a host of hot springs scattered across the state. These hot springs are natural, hot pools of water—natural hot tubs. Some are more developed and have lodging nearby, while others feel completely remote and undiscovered. So whether it’s a soak under the stars in the high desert or a steamy pool in the forest, there’s a hot spring calling.
The Ultimate Guide to Pumpkin Patches in Terrebonne, Oregon
Nothing signals the coming of fall quite like spending the day at a pumpkin patch. It’s tough to not feel the cozy spirit of the season when you’re solving a festive corn maze while bundled up and sipping a hot apple cider. Pumpkin patches in Central Oregon benefit from our desert climate and still get plenty of sunshine, even in late October. While smaller family farms all around the region will sometimes host fall events, the two most popular pumpkin patches both reside in Terrebonne: the Smith Rock Pumpkin Patch and the DD Ranch Pumpkin Patch.
Top 5 Tours to Take in Bend, Oregon
Bend is a nature-lover’s paradise blended with a hop-head’s dream; nowhere else will you find this much craft beer and this many outdoor activities. The city’s been growing quickly, reaching 100,000 residents in 2020, and with the growth comes plentiful opportunities for adventure. From walking the very halls that brew your favorite beer to any number of adrenaline-inducing sports, we have you covered for the five best types of guided tours in Bend, Oregon.
Visit Sunriver, Oregon
Sunriver is the Northwest’s premier destination resort where the emphasis is on fun … for any age and any season. During the warm weather, you’ll find world-class golf courses, indulgent day spas, and tax-free shopping at The Village at Sunriver.
Hopless in Central Oregon: Experience Scenic Cideries and Vino with a View
In an area dominated by craft beer, you might be wondering is there anything else on tap? The answer is, ‘Yes’. Central Oregon is home to award winning cideries and wineries and with postcard-worthy views from their tasting rooms – you won’t be disappointed. Named after the Three Sisters, Faith Hope and Charity Vineyards is just over 30 miles from Bend. It’s hard to complain about the drive though when furry faces from the Alpaca farm nearby greet you right before you turn onto the property.
Pumpkin Patches + Petting Zoos = Fall Family Fun
As soon as the first hint of autumn rolls around, my three kids ask on a regular basis when we can go to the pumpkin patch. This is not simply because they’re eager to gather Halloween décor. To my kids (all under the age of 12), fall means visiting the farm and getting all the animal petting, ropes course playing and barbecue eating they can squeeze into one afternoon.
Sammies and Sandos: Central Oregon’s Best Sandwiches
Sometimes after a day full of adventure, all that you crave is a simple, yet delicious, stick-to-your-ribs sandwich. (And a beer, obviously.)
Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway: Pull Off For a Central Oregon Adventure
The Cascade Lakes Scenic byway is one of the prettiest drives in the U.S. But it might be the most recreationally rich road you’ll ever drive too. From Bend southwest to the Highway 58 junction, the Oregon Route 372 cuts through 66 miles unique volcanic formations and geological beauty that offers everything that makes Central Oregon an outdoor lover’s paradise.
Scenic Bikeways Showcase Central Oregon’s Backroad Beauty
Oregon’s official scenic bikeways are the first of their kind in the U.S – and Central Oregon is home to 6 of the state’s 11 most beautiful bike routes. An absolute summer must for road cyclists are riding the best of the best – our scenic bikeways. Every rider can find a ride to suit their style and mood, from family-friendly to adventurous.