: Blaine Franger

Experience Harvest Season in Oregon

Find fresh apples, pears, cider and more treats as cozy fall season kicks off.
August 27, 2020 (Updated September 9, 2022)

If your vision of fall is filled with pumpkin spice, apple cider, fresh-hop beer or a crisp evening at a scenic vineyard, that pretty much sums up harvest season in Oregon. As summer turns into fall, the state’s agricultural bounty abounds. These spots offer all the makings for some of the most delightful harvest-season experiences you’ll find this season.

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Thistledown Apples
Find more than a dozen different varieties of apples across Oregon. (Photo Credit: Sally McAleer / Eugene, Cascades & Coast)

Bite Into Crisp Apples and Juicy Pears

Oregon is so much more than Fuji and Gala apples (but plenty of those, too) — you’ll find dozens and dozens of juicy heirloom and new varieties across the state. Mt. Hood’s Kiyokawa Family Orchards grows about 150 varieties. Pear, the state fruit, also debuts this time of year, from buttery Bartlett to super-sweet Comice to Bosc with hints of spice. You can pick up fruit at historic orchards along the Hood River Fruit Loop, in the Tualatin Valley, in the Willamette Valley, in Southern Oregon and beyond. Many farms, like Thomas Orchards in Kimberly, sell preserves like jams or pickles, too. 

You’ll find more local bounty at farm stands on Oregon Food Trails, like pork, beef, pies and fruit canned at the peak of ripeness at Sandoz Farm along the East Gorge Food Trail. Discover more (and celebrate National Apple Month in October) with this guide to Oregon’s apples. (Fall is also a traditional time to stock your freezer with local meat from Oregon’s ranches.)

Many farmers markets continue through fall, including five Portland Farmers Markets, twice-weekly Lane County Farmers Market and several locations of Gorge Grown Farmers Markets. Online vendors like Harry & David ship far and wide, so you can always taste Oregon fruit without leaving home.

12 Bridge Ciderworks
Check out 12 Bridge Ciderworks' fall seasonal combines of bourbon-aged peaches and hints of mint. (Photo Credit: Oregon's Mt. Hood Territory)

Sip Sweet and Tangy Ciders

Local cideries bottle up orchard fruit, from Portland to Mt. Hood and the Gorge, to Eastern and Central Oregon, and all over the Willamette Valley. Every year brings more cideries in Oregon, none of them just like another. Hood River’s Fox-Tail Cidery & Distillery is a cidery and distillery under one roof, with blends of raspberry, cherry, peach and rhubarb in addition to apples — plus a line of fruit wines. In Eugene WildCraft Cider Works presses Oregon-grown heritage fruits and botanicals for terroir-influenced blends like elderflower and quince. On the Southern Oregon Coast, Bandon Rain specializes in the region’s signature cranberry and other creative flavors. From Oregon City, 12 Bridge Ciderworks’ fall seasonal blend combines peaches with cinnamon and mulling spices like cassia bark, allspice, cloves and nutmeg. Look for Oregon brands at your local grocery stores and see if your local cideries — like 2 Towns Ciderhouse in Corvallis — offer growler fills or shipping.

Troon Vineyard
There's nothing quite like harvest season at Oregon's vineyards across the state. (Photo Credit: Troon Vineyard)

Wine and Vistas Among the Vines

There’s something magical about Oregon vineyards during harvest season. As the leaves turn golden and winegrowers pluck grapes by the cluster, an excitement runs through wineries. Check with your favorite local wineries for harvest-season events. Farm 2 Fork Tours also offers daylong excursions to meet winemakers and farmers in the Willamette Valley that includes tastings. 

Some Willamette Valley wineries offer by-reservation hikes through their vineyards as the vines turn golden — like Knudsen Vineyards and Winderlea Vineyard and Winery — with a wine tasting afterward. Eola Hills Wine Cellars offers pup-friendly “wiking” tours (that’s wine and hiking). Bring your camera to Hood River’s Viento Wines tasting room that overlooks the legacy vineyard, or to the orchard-surrounded Wy’East Vineyards, which grows grapes on east-facing slopes best viewed in the cool morning sun. Mt. Hood’s first winery, cidery and brewery in one, The Grateful Vineyard offers tastings by appointment with a stunning mountain backdrop and a farm stand for to-go treats. Fall foliage lingers in Southern Oregon, where you can drink in views of colorful leaves at DANCIN Vineyards along the Bear Creek Wine Trail and Wooldridge Creek Winery on the Applegate Valley Wine Trail, among others. Outside Portland, the Vineyard & Valley Tour Route is a feast for the eyes — and the palate. 

For cozy at-home ideas, find harvest recipes from Willamette Valley wineries and consider joining a wine club, as many offer free delivery and October introduces fall releases.

 

A closeup of fresh hops ready for picking.
Locals relish in fresh-hop beer season in Oregon. (Rogue Farms photo by Joshua Rainey Photography)

Fresh-Hop Season Is Here 

Many of Oregon’s craft breweries look forward to fresh-hop beer season all year long. It’s the time in September and October when they produce and release small-batch, limited editions of brews made from fresh-picked, undried hops rushed straight from the farm to the brewery for immediate production. The difference is similar to tasting fresh versus dried spices — a more earthy, pungent, powerful punch. If you missed the annual Sisters Fresh Hop Festival, held late in September, or the Portland Fresh Hop Festival, usually in the beginning of October, check in with your favorite brewery about their fresh-hop beer releases. 

black dog on leash walks on trail with person holding wine glass
Wine hiking with dogs at Eola Vineyards, courtesy of Alysson Kuhns.

Experience the Harvest at Historic Sites

At the southern base of Mt. Hood in Eagle Creek, Philip Foster Farm — a historic homestead that showcases life on the Oregon Trail — offers tours, camps and events. Book a slot to come see their vegetable plot in its fall splendor, where they grow produce that settlers would have grown 175 years ago. Near Corvallis, bring the kids to the Thompson’s Mills State Heritage Site annual cider crush in October. Interpretive educators at Oregon’s last surviving water-powered grain mill encourage them to wash, rinse and dump apples into a grinder just as settlers would have done in the 1800s, then press them into batches of fresh cider.  

About The
Author

Jen Anderson
Jen Anderson is a longtime journalist and travel writer/editor who is now Travel Oregon’s Content & Community Manager, helping to align content for visitors via social media, print and web. She’s called Oregon home for 25 years and loves finding the latest places to eat, drink and play around the state with her husband and two boys. Brewpubs, beaches and bike trails top the list.

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