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Five Sustainable/Organic/Natural Farms and Ranches to Add Flavor to Your Meals in Oregon

1. Apple Spring Organic Micro Farm. Located in northeastern Oregon, just south of the town of Cove, this organic farm offers free free-range eggs, veggie starts, berries, summer vegetables, and fresh-cut flowers. Open June to October, 10 to 4 p.m., Wednesdays and Sundays. The area around Cove has been a fruit production center for more than a century. Today, approximately 500 acres of commercial orchards, planted mostly to sweet cherries and peaches, grace the hillsides above town. The Cove Cherry Fair is held in August to celebrate the crop. Cove is also home to small-scale livestock production and processing; field crops, and produce growers make up the remaining farm operations. Learn more: Apple Spring Organic Micro Farm

2. Bellinger Farms and Gourmet Shoppe. Located in north-central Oregon, along Highway 395 in Hermiston, about 30 miles northwest of Pendleton, this family-farm started as watermelon-growers in 1941. Today, they manage 750 acres and run a year-round produce and country store. Visitors will find a wide selection, including: seasonal fresh vegetables such as watermelon, corn, squashes, pumpkins, gourds, Hermiston sweet onions, asparagus, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, peaches, pears, apples, and much more. We also offer a wide variety of gourmet foods such as pickled beets, pickled asparagus, pickled garlic, stuffed olives, bruschetta, pesto, green chili pepper dip, mango lime salsa, Walla Walla sweet onion pepper hot sauce, wing sauce, steak sauce, grill sauce, huckleberry jam, pepper jelly, gooseberry apricot jam, strawberry rhubarb jam, blueberry jam, huckleberry vinaigrette, Walla Walla sweet onion mustard, Oregon Duck snacks, Beaver Oregon State snacks, Vazza honey. Learn more: Bellinger Farms and Gourmet Shoppe.

3. Draper Girls Country Farm. Located in the town of Mt. Hood, about 75 miles east of Portland, in western Oregon, this farm offers visitors a year-round fruit stand and country store, as well as seasonal u-pick opportunities. The stand offers fruits and vegetables; non-pasteurized fresh apple cider; farm-raised pork and beef; and locally-made jams, jellies, honey, canned fruit, dried beans, and lentils. The u-pick opportunities, which is always fun, includes: cherries, apples, pears, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, prunes, peaches, and nectarines. Visitors will also find a scenic picnic area in their garden, offering spectacular views of Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams. Learn more: Draper Girls Country Farm. While in the area, remember to take a trip to the 1-million-acre Mt. Hood National Forest. Website: Mt. Hood National Forest.

4. French Prairie Gardens & Family Farm. Located in northwest Oregon, just outside of St. Paul, about 30 miles south of Portland, you'll find a fully operational family farm with 500 acres of active farming in grass seed, wheat, clover, and hazelnuts, as well as acres of fruit orchards, strawberry fields, and other produce. What started as a roadside stand in 1987 has turned into a full operation, including a bakery that produces fresh pies, cookies, and muffins; a garden center that sells plants and hanging baskets; and a market, which sells fresh fruits and berries, as well as jams and sauces. Learn more: French Prairie Gardens & Family Farm. A must-do after visiting the area is Champoeg State Heritage Area, situated on the south bank of the scenic Willamette River, located about six miles from the farm, a 623-acre park that sits where the state's first provisional government was formed in 1843, and includes a visitor's center and museums, as well as acres of forest, fields, and wetlands. Website: Champoeg State Heritage Area.

5. Morning Shade Farm and Berry Nursery. Located seven miles south of Canby, in the northwestern part of Oregon, about 30 miles south of Portland, this bee-friendly farm includes a fruit and berry nursery, u-pick opportunities, as well as a selection of seasonal fruits and vegetables. While not completely organic this family-farm does follow organic practices for their fruits and vegetables, as well as utilizing green energy (solar and biodiesel) to power the farm and farm equipment. The nursery sells potted fruit plants, including blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, black and red currents, elderberries, gooseberries, table grapes, marionberries, and boysenberries. Learn more: Morning Shade Farm and Berry Nursery.

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