Eats and treats: Locally grown and produced foods fill a yummy picnic basket

July, 2010 Posted in Food And Drink

By Dixon Bledsoe

Summer should revolve around eating. Our out-of-town guests will already have an itinerary in mind, because when it comes to things to do, the Willamette Valley has a plethora of sights to see. But they are going to need a picnic basket for their all-day adventures.

My guests should be in for a treat since I would shower them with a little bit of heaven from right here in our region.

This picnic basket ought to be filled only with cupcakes made by Chantiell Tabor at All Around Cakes. But then there would be no space for her cookies. Or her fabulous dark chocolate and red velvet cake. Mmm. It’s hard to decide.

Pick up a yummy treat at her store from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays, and by appointment on Saturdays. She makes deliveries and can be reached at 503-931-0404 when not at the bakery.

While my philosophy is “Let them eat cake,” other picnickers might want a broader sample of delicacies, so let’s give them that, starting with breakfast in the car enroute to Silver Falls State Park.

Karen Lane, owner of The Donut Shop, can get you going with Australian scones, turnovers, cheesecakes, brownie bites, cinnamon rolls – and donuts, of course!

Those who want to get off to an early start can stop in at the shop at 171 W. Washington St., in Stayton, from 5 a.m. when the shop opens or if you’re sleeping in, you can get your crullers until noon Monday through Saturday.

Cheesecakes and other specialty items should be ordered in advance. To leave an order or for more information, call Lane at 503-769-3334.

I might put in a thermos of coffee made from locally roasted beans. Eric and Tamara Dahl of Silver Falls Coffee Co. has me covered there. They’ve been roasting their java treats for just two months, but the Columbia Supreme, Sumatra, and Espresso roast are ready to go and can be found at Silver Falls State Park. The coffee beans are roasted in small quantities, according to Eric, because “The beans are much better coming from small batches rather than a mechanically -augured large batch where the beans break apart.” He and his wife Tamara love coffee and the challenge of roasting it.

As an entrée, John Cates offers homemade pizza, specialty salad and his famous stuffed breadsticks at his Sublimity bakery-cafe. PanezaNellie, at 111 N.E. Starr St., is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and is closed Sunday and Monday. For information, call 503-767-STIX.

And this time of the year, the region is known for its bounty of berries. I’ve been known to eat my weight in blueberries while picking a bucket for my family.

Fresh To You Produce and Garden Center, located at 41639 Stayton-Scio Road in Stayton, is filled with garden-fresh vegetables and fruits. You probably want to pack some berries, cherries or peaches – and if you’re concerned they’ll get squished, you might choose instead to make up some sandwiches with the jams sold at Carl and Nancy Hendricks’ farm stand.

To find out more, go to the Web site: or call 503-769-9682.

Another choice is a Willamette Valley Fruit Co. Marion berry pie, a must-eat addition to our basket.
Our guests should imbibe in a local wine on a hot Oregon summer day. The East Willamette Valley is full of great wineries, and Pudding River Wine Cellars’ 2008 Pinot gris is one of many award winners in the region.

I’d put a bottle in the basket, and suggest a stop by Silver Falls Vineyards, 4972 Cascade Hwy., for a little tasting. Check out our stellar cellars at

If you’re toting your picnic basket to a cook-out, you surely want to take along Tribal Moose sauces to slather on those burgers or that chicken. Owners Ron Broughton, Brandon Reece and Clinton Cox offer a number of choices – cranberry ketchup, spicy barbecue, cranberry steak – touting the naturally derived plant compounds, particularly antioxidants, that help optimize health without sacrificing great taste. An additional benefit is that a percentage of their profit goes to local charitable organizations.

Tribal Moose sauces are available at local retailers and on the company’s website at For ideas on how to creatively use Tribal Moose sauces, call 503-409-4291.

Whether you’re planning a picnic or potluck, look around you to the folks in our neighborhood who are growing and producing a bounty of specialties.

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