Bountiful Tours at the End of the Oregon Trail
By Mallory Phelan –
The 2019 AAW Convention is the perfect opportunity to convene with fellow members and learn all about agriculture in Oregon as well as grow in your leadership development. This year’s event features a variety of speakers on pertinent topics and whole host of fun and informative tours.
Thursday morning kicks off with AAW leadership – Foundation Board, AAW Executive Committee, Affiliate Presidents, and other standing committees – meeting throughout the morning, while first-time attendees have an opportunity to gather and meet one another. Thursday afternoon, all attendees can board a bus destined to show some of the best Oregon has to offer!
First stop is at the state’s land-grant university, which is also one of only two universities in the country with sea-, space-, and sun-grant designation: Oregon State University. Our tour specifically will be at OSU’s North Willamette Research and Extension Center (NWREC), a 160 acre experimental farm running 85 field trials and almost 50 greenhouse and lab trials and is one of 12 field stations OSU manages around the state to address the research and education needs of area farmers and agribusinesses.
Next stop is at Northwest Hazelnut Company (NHC), a family owned and operated processing facility. We’ll catch the tail-end of harvest processing and see this uniquely Oregon product fresh out of the field and sorted through the most modern, efficient and eco-friendly processing plant in the industry.
Weather permitting, we will see Christmas tree helicopter harvest south of Oregon City (end of the Oregon Trail), stop for snacks to purchase at EZ Orchards, a family run market full of locally grown and made seasonal produce, gourmet foods, and artisan goods. Our last stop before dinner which is at Pacific Rim Export Straw Service (PressCo) is another family owned, vertically integrated operation.
We will conclude our day at Scenic Valley Farms, a third-generation family operation growing wine grapes as well as cherries, pears, hazelnuts, green beans, grass seed, hemp, and hops. We’ll enjoy their selection of wines, Oregon craft beer, Oregon salmon, and other local flavors.
On Friday, guests of AAW members can attend a Machinery & Technology tour (lunch included) focused on local fabrication for equipment to be modified to harvest Oregon’s 200+ crops. While Friday dinner is on your own, you can sign up to eat with an Oregon Women for Agriculture member who will drive you to an eatery off-site – might be in the suburbs, might be downtown Portland. Find your match and sign up!
On Saturday guests can connect with local farmers for unique, from-the-pickup tours of the Willamette Valley.
If you need to get out of town in the afternoon or evening, the half day tour will take you through the Columbia River Gorge to Bonneville Hatchery, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s largest hatchery facility. On your way back you’ll stop for lunch at Multnomah Falls, a 611 foot waterfall cascading down basalt cliffs, making it the tallest in Oregon.
If you have a full day, join us on a trip to the Oregon Coast. The first stop is at Tillamook Creamery where you can watch cheese production, taste samples, visit the general store, and each lunch in the beautifully renovated dining hall. Next stop will be Cannon Beach, home of the famous Haystack Rock and your chance to touch the Pacific Ocean. We’ll make our way back over the coastal mountain range and stop for dinner at a winery.