Road Trip: Wild Rivers Coast Farm Tour
While most travelers rarely linger along the 27-mile stretch of Highway 101 between Bandon and Port Orford, anyone interested in agritourism or farm fresh foods should slow down and discover some of the delicious local attractions on the Wild Rivers Coast. Not only will you be able to purchase the freshest regionally-grown produce, berries and local food products, but you’re also likely to meet the people who grew them.
On Fridays and Saturdays from May to mid-December, you can start the Wild Rivers Coast Farm Tour at the Bandon Farmers and Artisans Market at the Port of Bandon, just west of the waterfront boardwalk. The market, featuring produce from local and regional growers, is open 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
During July and August, it’s blueberry season on the Southern Oregon Coast. You’ll find several farms to visit where you can purchase blueberries or pick your own. Twin Creek Ranch Blueberries is the first one you’ll encounter as you drive south from Bandon. At Twin Creek Ranch, you can drop in to purchase fresh-picked blueberries, pick your own, or buy packed and frozen berries.
The Southern Oregon Coast is known as “cranberry country.” The vibrant red ponds of commercial cranberry growing operations can be spotted as you travel Highway 101 along this stretch of coast. Cranberries are a native crop to the Northwest and have been commercially grown since the late 1800s. Next to forest products and seafood, cranberries represent the third most important agricultural product of Coos and Curry counties, where about seven percent of the U.S. cranberry production is grown. The fascinating harvest, where ponds are flooded to float the berries for collection, can be observed in late September and early October. During harvest season, Bowman Bogs offers tours and sells fresh cranberries, cranberry syrup and cranberry concentrate.
As you travel farther south on Highway 101 and approach the small town of Langlois, you’ll find more blueberries at Valentine Blueberries. From early July to mid-August, their farm stand is open, offering pre-picked berries for purchase or U-pick.
Just one mile north of Langlois, you’ll find Dragonfly Farm on the east side of the highway. This small, family-run nursery and greenhouse offers produce, nursery plants, baskets, herb boxes and farm fresh eggs. Rabbits, goats and chickens make this a fun stop for families.
As travelers pass through the town of Langlois, the crowded parking lot might reveal the popularity of the small Langlois Market, especially around lunch or dinnertime. It’s a popular stop for locals, known for its famous hot dogs with homemade mustard, deli sandwiches and burgers made from Oregon grass-fed beef. Inside, it’s no typical convenience store. The produce case is loaded with fresh vegetables and berries from local growers. The market also offers farm fresh, free-range chicken eggs from nearby Carnahan’s Chickens & Eggs. Other locally-produced items you can purchase there include packaged Oregon grass-fed beef raised in nearby Sixes, locally caught and canned tuna from Ocean Harvest, jams from nearby Misty Meadows and Sea Mist cranberry wine from Bandon.
The largest farm on the Wild Rivers Coast Farm Tour, Valley Flora Farm, can be visited just south of Langlois by turning east and driving 1.5 miles up Floras Creek Road off Highway 101. (Watch for chickens along the road from nearby Carnahan’s Chicken & Eggs as you drive this route.) The produce that doesn’t go to Valley Flora’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscribers is sold at their farm stand and local markets or is served at some of the region’s finest restaurants. In addition to vegetables, the farm offers pre-picked and U-pick strawberries, blackberries, loganberries, tayberries, marionberries, ollalieberries, flowers and herbs in season. You can also find the farm’s own Cranky Baby Hot Sauce, jams and fresh baked pie available at the farm stand.
Returning to Highway 101 and continuing south, you will see another option for U-pick organic blueberries, Jensen Blueberries, on the west side of the highway. Once berries are ripe and ready for picking, Jensen Blueberries is open for U-pick only (buckets provided) from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily. The family-operated, certified-organic farm was established in 1954.
The southern-most stop on the Wild Rivers Farm Tour is the Port Orford Community Co-op, which is also site of the Port Orford Farmers Market. The co-op offers regional produce, seafood caught locally by Port Orford Sustainable Seafood, eggs from Carnahan’s Chickens & Eggs in Langlois and many other organic foods and products. A deli offers in-house baked goods, soups, sandwiches, salads and juices. The co-op is member-based, but welcomes everyone to shop.
To get a real taste of true local flavor, take a day to explore this stretch of coast. It showcases some of the region’s most famous local products and offers an opportunity to meet the passionate individuals dedicated to traditional and sustainable food practices.
about author Gary Hayes
Gary Hayes is publisher of Coast Explorer Magazine and founder of Explorer Media Group, a travel media and marketing company based in Seaside. Gary is a native Oregonian whose earliest memories include working on his grandfather’s fishing boat on the Oregon Coast. Now living in Cannon Beach, Gary is an extensively published photographer and writer focusing on the Oregon Coast and the Northwest's food and wine culture. He also serves as Executive Director of the SavorNW Wine Awards.
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