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.

a group cheering at Faith, Hope, Charity Vineyards
 the owners,  Mike and Onda

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

two women enjoying a variety of veggie dishes from feast food
the pic of the farm

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.

Up-to-date information is available at https://hdffa.org/portfolio-posts/hdft/. The High Desert Food Trail is one of nine other food trails active in Oregon, all of which can be found at oregonfoodtrails.com.

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