Escape the City with These Nearby Farm Tours 2020/10/21 | Katrina Emery
If you’re needing a fun family outing to pump up your quarantine this fall, the lovely folks at Farm 2 Fork Tours have got you covered. With transportation, snacks, meals, and adventures all included (along with extra careful safety precautions), they’re here to make sure your day exploring our corner of Oregon is amazing. Read on for more!
Farm 2 Fork tours provide families with an exclusive opportunity to witness our food is grown while tasting the seasonal offerings. You and your kiddos get to learn first hand from regional farmers and really connect with the people that grow and craft their food. Farm 2 Fork currently offers a few different tour “themes” to choose from depending on the area of Oregon your family wants to explore the most. Offerings include the Willamette Valley, Oregon Coast and more. All tours are family friendly and can be adjusted to fit your little one’s carb-only diet choices or stroller-toting needs. Owner Ali Noyer has curated a relationship with farms and owners all throughout the region, so tours are carefully designed to offer you the best experience of the day. The drive from Portland is a great time to learn about the farms, the valley, farming practices, and more. Ali is incredibly knowledgeable about the areas and the farmers and is happy to chat about all of it. On the Willamette Valley tour, for example, you might stop at places like these:
Marion Acres and Helvetia Market
Near the sweet hamlet of Helvetia, Marion Acres is a chicken farm and processing plant. You’ll learn all about the ins and outs of pasture-raised, local, humane, sustainable farming chicken raising, which produces high quality meat and healthy farms. The pastures are teeming with life like cows, pigs, chickens, bugs that the chickens eat, and even some hawks up above. Yes, the “processing” plant does what you suspect, and while they’re very up front about it, you can keep as much distance as you’d like from it (or peek inside the clean facility with the tour if you’re curious!). Enjoy lunch, snacks, or a shopping break at Helvetia Market, offering a huge quantity of local goods like produce, their own and others’ pasture-raised meats, beer and wine, fresh baked bread, and other grocery items. Online: marionacres.com
TMK Creamery Learn all about cheesemaking and the loving art of raising milk cows. Their line-up of adorable big-eyed cows are called “cowlebrities,” and each come with a big name tag so you can address them properly. You’ll get the chance to offer them hay and even pet them, while learning about the careful and caring stewardship the small dairy farm upholds for their animals. You might even get to see the milking process! Top it off with a tasting of cheese curds, gouda, or even “Miss TMK,” an entire cheese made from the namesake’s single cow milk. Also, there’s ice cream. Online: tmkcreamery.com
Other tours head out to the coast for the Taste of Tillamook or a fully focused Cheese and Dairy Tour. And don’t skip the Coastal Exploration, where your gang can learn how to shuck oysters, safely filet a fish, or even go crabbing right off the docks. Your kids might come away inspired to become fishermen or women! And it’s ok if the little ones aren’t big oyster eaters—options abound (and that leaves more for the seafood loving adults!) The only requirement is a sense of wonder and curiosity about the food and farms of the Pacific Northwest. Questions welcome, adventures promised.
Farm 2 Fork Tours 5-6 hour tours, rain or shine $149/adults, $110/children 5-21, free for children 4 and under Children pricing assumes full meals and snack tastings, please inquire for adjusted pricing (as in, if your children are likely not going to eat a full seafood lunch, the cost can be reduced)
Farm 2 Fork Tours is taking all the precautions necessary to ensure that our tours create a safe and welcoming environment for our guests and community. Our thoughts are with those that are affected, and we want to continue our mission to support local farms and fisheries in the safest way possible to ensure everyone has a unique culinary food tour experience while maintaining protective measures against the virus.
Farm 2 Fork is carefully monitoring the coronavirus situation and is in constant communication with the farm stops to ensure your health and safety come first on the tours. When we return in July we will implement preventative measure in line with the recommendations of the State of Oregon and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, updating them as necessary.
Here are some of the ways we plan to move ahead:
We will have hand sanitizer available in the car and at the tour stops
Temperature will be taken before entering the van
Have hand washing stations at the farms
Masks will be required on all tours and in the vehicles
Extra masks will be provided for the comfort of our guests
Frequent cleaning of all shared spaces
Group size will be limited to under 10 people
Sampling will be done in individual portions rather than large platters
One of the best ways we can give back is to support local, by visiting and experiencing the local farms and fisheries we are reconnecting the community. Farm 2 Fork wants to celebrate the beauty and bounty of Oregon's sustainable farms through intimate food tours with you this summer!