“Farm Fresh” is Easy to Find Along Byway

Summer is coming to an end and fall is in the air. That means harvest is well under way in northeast Oregon and there are ample opportunities to fill your plate with fresh, locally produced food and stock up the cellar in preparation for winter. You can best do so by attending the farmers’ markets in La Grande, Joseph, and Baker City or by taking the rural roads to farm stands, gardens and farm events throughout the area.

Platz Family Farm, Union

La Grande Farmers’ Market  This lively market has grown in recent years and offers a wonderful way to spend Saturday mornings. In addition to lots of fresh produce, enjoy live music and shop for crafts and baked goods. The market runs through October 20, from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturdays, and Tuesdays, from 3:30 to 6 p.m., in Max Square, at the corner of Fourth and Adams in downtown La Grande. September 22 is Kids Day at the market, where kids can have a free booth space from which to sell their products and creations. Kids can also shop for free that day.

With the Cove-Union Farm Loop brochure as your guide, enjoy the countryside while checking out what is fresh at these favorite stops:

 Platz Family Farm stand has a wide variety of vegetables, including squash, beets, peppers, sweet corn, lots of tomatoes, carrots, flowers, frozen berries, raspberry syrup and jam, local crafts and much more. Find  homemade bread and scones on Fridays. Located at the north end of Union, where their beautiful garden is visible from Highway 203 but accessed via North First Street, the farm stand will be open mostly on Fridays 10-6:30 through the fall season. They will probably close in mid to late October. They are open on Mondays for just a couple more weeks and can usually be found at the La Grande Farmers’ Market.

If you haven’t yet discovered Cats Paw Farm Mercantile in Union, now is a great time to stop by the charming little shop on the north edge of Union. Owner R’Chel is a very busy entrepreneur, using products grown in her own garden and pasture next door to create a myriad of beauty and food products. She recently provided the following news:

  • Herb tea blends and spice herbs are constantly being crafted and restocked as she continues to harvest and air dry their spray-free herb crops.
  • This summer’s Peach Mustard is available and R’Chel debut a Jalapeño Mustard soon. Shoppers will find around a dozen mustard flavors that the shop crafts and stocks year round.
  • The shop has added three new Shrub Syrup Concentrate flavors this summer, bringing the selection to 9 flavors. Added to your bottled or domestic drinking water, shrubs are a great way to get your daily water intake with the added benefit of electrolytes and a vitamin boost in an all-natural, product, crafted from spray-free local fruit.
  • An End of Summer Soap Sale is underway to make room for all the fall and holiday soaps currently curing. Get 40% off on selected bars. They are converting to eco-sustainable packaging-all plastic packaged skin care, hair care, lotions and liquid soaps are marked down to 30% and below.

Cats Paw Farm Mercantile is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Entering Union from LG, take a right into the parking lot just after crossing the Little Creek bridge. From North Powder, go through Union towards La Grande and turn into the last driveway on the left before the Little Creek Bridge.

Cove has lots to offer people who are following the Cove-Union Farm Loop, including Nella Mae’s Farm Stand on Antles Lane, which is self-serve, open every day from April through October, and offers fresh produce, fruit and eggs, from the nearby farm and other local producers. Be sure to pick up a suggested recipe for serving what’s fresh!

The Plantworks has brought back their plant stand on Lantz Lane in Cove, offering native plants and also a few fire resistant non-native plants. The greenhouse grows plants for environmental rehab and watershed projects. Pick up a few hardy plants for your landscaping. The stand is self-serve and prices are listed.

The Pick‘N Patch, 62816 Lower Cove Rd. near Cove, opens to the public Friday, October 5. They will be open Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays from 10 to 4 through the month of October. Also open by appointment only and for school trips, Monday thru Thursday. Contact Dian Frisch, 541-786-2421. It is a U-pick pumpkin patch with lots of sizes to choose from. There are also straw bales, corn stalks and wheat bundles for fall decorating needs.

If you are following the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway to Wallowa County, pick up a copy of the Wallowa Barn Tour and see the beautiful and historic structures in all corners of the county.

One of the highlights, Liza Jane’s Farm Stand at 6 Ranch, is always a great place to stop, located at a Century Farm at 87161 Hwy 82, on the north side of the highway nearing Enterprise. It’s open 24/7 and self-serve; with fresh produce, honey, eggs, and herb garden, local grass fed meats (beef, lamb, pork, chicken & goat), fresh bread and handmade soaps.

The Wallowa County Farmers’ Market is held Saturdays from 9-2, in Joseph, Memorial Day through half of October. There’s live music, crafts and produce booths, in one of the most scenic towns in the West.  The WCFM is hosting a Harvest Dinner fundraiser on Saturday, September 22. The fall schedule also includes an apple cider press, October 6. See the website and flyer for more information.

Wallowa County Farmers’ Market Harvest Dinner

Also, Slow Food Wallowas is putting on an event called Pig-nic: A Hog Harvest Festival, October 6, from 1-4 p.m. at Barking Mad Farm Bed & Breakfast on Alder Slope. More info on Facebook.

This time of year, Ruby Peak Naturals, a store in Enterprise carries a good amount of local food.

In Baker City, Val’s Veggies is a large farm stand located in a small red barn on Campbell Street, across the street from the Baker Heritage Museum. There is always a wonderful selection of produce and fruit from Val’s Medical Springs farm, as well as from other regional producers. The Val’s Veggies Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch opens October 1, at the farm, 44889 Houghton Creek Road, Baker City, Oregon. It’s worth the drive!

The Baker Farmer’s Market is held every Wednesday from June 6 through September 26, from 3 to 6:30 p.m., and October 3 through 24, from 2 to 5 p.m., in the courtyard at the Baker County Fairgrounds Event Center, 2600 East Street, Baker City, Oregon.  ​

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