Gorge in the Gorge » Blog

I recently had the pleasure of discovering Garnier Vineyards in Mosier. This winery is tucked up, just across the street from Idiot’s Grace in Mosier. Todd, who runs the tasting room, invited me up to try their wines and get a closer look at their vines and property. Garnier Vineyards property sweeps an impressive 300+ acres, and ranges from grapes grown up on the dry hillside to the cooler waterfront. This space and variation allows for them to create a variety of bold, distinct their wines from their own grapes. There are plans for an expanded tasting room and deck, but for the moment this humble tasting room sits in the midst of a pretty grand view. There is small deck with a view, a cool tasting room, and a big lawn where you can enjoy a glass of your favorite wine. The tasting room is currently only open April-August so get in while you can… If you head out this weekend, I’d recommend a refreshing Rosé!

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At the end of May I took the girls up to visit our friends, Andrea and Taylor, at their organic farm up in Parkdale. There farm was just beginning to burst with the first of the season’s harvest. Andrea and Taylor were hard at work in the field, preparing their selection for the Gorge Grown Farmer’s Market. I asked Andrea to share a bit about their farm…

First, tell me about a little about the farm, what you grow, and about the CSA and where your produce can be found and purchased?
Taylor and I operate a 6 acre organic (non-certified) vegetable farm. This season we are farming 3 out of the 6 acres. We currently grow 50 different varieties of vegetables that we sell at the Hood River farmers’ market. We also have a 50 member CSA and our produce can be found at Solera Brewery in Parkdale, Apple Valley BBQ in Parkdale, and River Daze Cafe in Hood River.

Why do you and Taylor farm? What inspires you to do all that impressively hard work?
Taylor and I decided to quit our day jobs and learn how to farm 5 years ago. Taylor grew up on a 60 acre organic vegetable farm in Massachusetts but didn’t have any interest in farming until his mid 20’s. We were both living in Bend, OR working jobs that weren’t very fulfilling when Taylor brought up the idea of moving back to Massachusetts to work on his family’s farm. I’d always fantasized about working on a farm and jumped at the idea-I was in for a rude awakening, turns out farming isn’t romantic at all! The days are long and physically demanding. However, the most rewarding part is knowing our produce is making it’s way to our community’s dinner tables every night.

What brought you guys out to Hood River? What is your favorite thing about living in the Gorge?
Taylor and I decided to leave Massachusetts after 3 seasons of farm work because we were missing Oregon and wanted to build our own farm on a smaller scale. We landed in the Gorge because we love the outdoorsy lifestyle and the fact that it’s an agricultural area. We are never leaving!

What inspires your recipes on your food blog, Dishing Up The Dirt?
The recipes on my blog usually come to me when I’m at the farm hot, hungry and craving what I’m picking.
Here are some photos that I took on our visit…
tumbleweed organic farm parkdale oregonPINtumbleweed organic farm parkdale oregonPINtumbleweed organic farm parkdale oregonPINtumbleweed organic farm parkdale oregonPINtumbleweed organic farm parkdale oregonPINtumbleweed organic farm parkdale oregonPINtumbleweed organic farm parkdale oregonPINtumbleweed organic farm parkdale oregonPINtumbleweed organic farm parkdale oregonPINtumbleweed organic farm parkdale oregonPINtumbleweed organic farm parkdale oregonPINtumbleweed organic farm parkdale oregonPINtumbleweed organic farm parkdale oregonPINWe went up again last week and got a peak at the farm; it looks quite a bit more active these days. The farm is expanded, the produce is bursting, and Andrea and Taylor have much more impressive tan lines. Seeing their farm and how hard they work to bring out community wonderful, organic produce made me even more grateful that we have these small farms so close. Hope to see you all tomorrow at the Hood River – Gorge Grown Farmer’s Market!
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Pioneer Pizza in White Salmon is a great new-ish spot for pizza and beer… and fried chicken! I love fried chicken and have attempted to make it myself a few times which has ended with pretty disappointing results. When Christiaan, owner and chef at Henni’s Kitchen and Bar, first told me that he and Micheal were opening a pizza place that also had fried chicken and jo-jo’s I thought it sounded crazy and wonderful. We’ve been to Pioneer Pizza a few times now; once for pizza and salads; once for fried chicken; and once for their $2 slices + $2 domestic pints happy hour. The setting is fun and inviting, and our daughter loves the fact that they have games and kid-friendly movies. Did I mention they also have air conditioning?

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  • August 21, 2014 - 1:25 am

    NATASHA - Wow, what a great addition to the Gorge!! I HIGHLY recommend Pioneer Pizza. It’s a must!!!

    Michael, thank you for making the Gorge a better culinary experience!

    I’ll be back VERY soon!

    NatashaReplyCancel

    • August 21, 2014 - 4:00 pm

      Kacie - Natasha,
      Thanks for the comment! Yes! It’s so great to have them.ReplyCancel

I’ve written before about Chelsea’s amazing school, WildCraft Studio School, which is located up in the hills of White Salmon, but I wanted to share a little more about her school. She offers a fantastic array classes and workshops that are, in one way or another, connected to our local environment. I sent her a few questions so that we could get to know her better, and understand what her school is all about…

01. What is WildCraft Studio School? What’s the idea behind it? What’s your mission?
WildCraft Studio School is an art center offering adult workshops in subjects that intersect creativity and nature. We are offering over 40 classes this season, in subjects like Seasonal Medicine, Weaving in the Wild, and Dye Plants of the Columbia River Gorge. The idea for WildCraft grew out of a desire to bring contemporary perspectives on art/ design/craft and merge those practices with traditional skills and folk knowledge. My mission is to encourage a deeper connection with the natural world through sharing in creative skills.

02. Why did you choose to relocate and open the school in the Gorge?
The kind of classes I was most interested in offering require immediate access to wild spaces. Getting people out of the urban environment is incredibly valuable in terms of changing patterns of thought and The Gorge is such a perfect escape. Personally, I was looking for a different landscape, a little more sun and more space!

03. What’s the most rewarding part of hosting, participating, and preparing these classes?
There are so many inspiring aspects of running WildCraft: creating the space for talented teachers to share their skills and knowledge and seeing how grateful students have been for the experience has probably been the most rewarding experience. One of the loveliest comments I receive as people leave is, “thank you for creating this space”. Those words keep me going up here.

04. Which courses are you most excited for this season?
I’m really excited for an upcoming class Kalapuya Basket Weaving, led by Grande Ronde tribal member Stephanie Wood. That class really exemplifies what we are trying to do up here: bringing traditional skills into contemporary practice, while engaging students with materials from nature. Doesn’t get much better than that.

I recently visited during the end of one of WildCraft Studio’s natural dye classes to take some pictures. I can’t wait to take some of her classes.

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