Dining Al Fresco
Summer is synonymous with backyard barbecues and picnics in the park but as fun as it is to dine beneath the stars, sometimes the labor is more than the payoff. Before you pull out the charcoal and citronella candles, check out these unique outdoor dining spots throughout the state. From high desert to hilltop vineyard, farmlands to golf course, the places are endless, the food delicious and best of all, it’s catered!
At Sokol Blosser in Dundee lunch is served amongst the grape vines. On the winery’s summer hikes, participants start their trek at the base of the vineyard near the Cattail block of Pinot Gris vines. Mind you, this is no leisurely stroll in the field. The hike climbs 400 feet to the blackberry block of Pinot Noir grapes and along the way winemakers tell the tale of Oregon’s vintner history and point out some of the first vines planted in Oregon. The reward awaits at the top where hikers feast on a picnic lunch with samples of Sokol Blosser wines and Red Ridge Farm olive oils to enjoy.
White tablecloths, fine china and crystal wine glasses are just a few of the accoutrement that can be found on a elegant dining table—at Farm to Fork, the surrounding hay bales and pitchforks are added accessories. The mission of this Southern Oregon organization is to connect patrons with the food their eating by literally bringing the table to the farm. Celebrated chefs from around the state donate their time, and menus are influenced by what’s fresh and local. Before sitting down to enjoy a seriously gourmet meal, diners mingle with the farmers and chefs, as well as like-minded eaters. Proceeds from the evening benefit the local farms and food community.
It’s hard to believe when sitting in a field of wildflowers, with organic produce orchards in the near distance and farmhouses dotting the horizon, that bustling downtown Portland is just minutes away. That’s the beauty of the dinner hosted by Outstanding in the Field at Sauvie Island Organics. Participants enjoy a true farm-to-table evening, with fresh and local produce prepared by celebrated chef Chris DiMinno from Portland’s Clyde Common.
At the Echo West Ranch and Vineyard in Eastern Oregon, explore the Western frontier on horseback. The daylong tour begins at the historic Cuhna Ranch, where riders wind around the Umatilla River and ascend through scenic vineyards passing by pictorial vistas of the ranch. Lunch is served hillside with views of Echo and the vineyards below, catered by Red Express and Bellinger Farms with wines from Echo West Ranch.