Foodie Day Trip: Farm Tour
Clare Carver and Brian Marcy are known for their extraordinary farm dinners—where every item on the 16-foot-long wooden table at their Gaston farmhouse is nurtured, slaughtered, and produced on-site. (Marcy makes a staggeringly good smoked pork belly.) But in the fall, the couple doggedly focuses on the harvest. Farming in the spirit of guru Joel Salatin, they raise pigs, heritage-breed chickens (for eggs and meat), goats (for milk), and Dexter cows—they even have a mobile “chicken motel” (inspired by Salatin’s Eggmobile) that allows their red rangers to move to fresh grass (and cow patties) each day. You can’t buy their beef, pork, or chicken on the farm, but you can add your name to the waitlist for their sold-out meat CSA shares. Meanwhile, do a tasting with Marcy, who has years of experience as a winemaker in Napa. His silky pinots and lush syrahs are already earning high marks from critics; two new pinots will be out in the fall. Expect Marcy’s freshly baked bread, myriad cheeses, and smoked pork belly for tasting snacks. Call ahead or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for a tasting and a tour of the farm. 26851 NW Williams Canyon Rd; 503-662-3129; bigtablefarm.com; no tasting fee (only a high expectation you’ll buy some vino). The farm will be open to the public on Thanksgiving Weekend, the biggest tasting weekend of the year.
Value Hunter Day Trip
If you have only one day in wine country, make a beeline to the agricultural town of Carlton, home to 20 tasting rooms. Here’s a selection to get you started. Tyrus Evans serves Ken Wright’s superb warm-weather pinots plus cheese and salami plates ($5) in Carlton’s high-ceilinged 1920s train station. Daily 11-5; 120 N Pine St; 503-852-7010; kenwrightcellars.com; $15 for six pours
In the town’s 1915 creamery, Scott Paul offers New World and Old World pinot side by side, courtesy of Paul’s rotating selection of imported French Burgundies. Fri-Sun 1-5 & by appt; 128 S Pine St; 503-852-7300; scottpaul.com; $10 tasting fee
At the Carlton Winemakers Studio, a cooperative space where new winemakers pool resources and share costs, you can sample wines from the likes of Andrew Rich, Retour, and co-owner Eric Hamacher. Considering that several renowned area winemakers—including Lynn Penner Ash, Scott Paul, and Tony Soter—got their start here, you could be tasting the valley’s next big-name vintner. Daily 11-5; 801 N Scott St; 503-852-6100; winemakersstudio.com; $9 for a flight of whites, $10 for a flight of reds