I am a sucker for any business that gives away free samples.
Now if the free samples are good, I am basically a customer for life.
Enter Country Grains at Fir Point Farms. In 2012, my favorite Wilsonville sandwich shop bought the 35-acre farm that was basically a local center of agri-tourism with a petting zoo, local products and a wonderful Halloween pumpkin celebration.
Over the years, the farm slowly got run down and stopped being that “go to” place for many locals. That’s when the owners of Country Grains, Jessica and Jack Romaine, stepped in.
“We have always used local fresh produce for our sandwiches and catering business and saw this as a great opportunity,” Jessica Romaine said. “We bought it and did an extensive remodel and closed our shop in Wilsonville and moved out here.”
The move was a great idea. Now you can literally purchase the produce the couple uses on their great sandwiches – and even buy the bread and flour they make onsite.
“We are making our own flour and have bees for our own honey,” she said. “We really wanted to get back to the basics with the land. You come here you know where our products came from and exactly what you are eating.”
So, from a food perspective, you can’t get much more local than eating from the plants that are right outside the building – and even buying produce from the farm itself.
Which brings us to the true attraction of Fir Point Farms – agri-tourism at its finest. Between the greenhouse which offers all different types of plants and flowers, to hanging baskets, produce, honey and different types of artisan breads and desserts, it really is like visiting a farmers market every day of the week.
For those visiting the area, the farm is more than just a place to stop and get a cinnamon roll, or a great sandwich, it also has a number of attractions for the family.
For instance, there is a nice nature trail that takes you through some Oregon forest and around the farm. It’s a very nice short walk – about a quarter of a mile -- to work off that cinnamon roll! In addition, there is also a small petting zoo with goats and other animals. There are walkways up into the trees for the goats, who do walk up above your head. This is something kids really get a kick out of, especially little ones. There is also a hazelnut house that is filled with hazelnut shells for kids to climb and roll in and out of. Think of the big rooms with plastic balls, only with nut husks.
But the location is not just great for the residents of Wilsonville, Canby and Aurora. It’s also excellent for bicyclists. Located on Ardnt Road, which is very straight, it is nearly the mid-point between Champoeg State Park and the Canby Ferry. These are two destinations for bicyclists looking to explore the French Prairie area, and if you time your ride right, a wonderful lunch can be had before you either get to the historic state park, or take a nice ride across the Willamette River on the Canby Ferry.
“It’s a very cool and nice place,” said Tiffany Schrader, who was enjoying a brunch at Country Grains at Fir Point Farms. “I like the zucchini bread and roast beef sandwiches – the free sample is what got me.”
Donna DeMoss, a local that has visited Fir Point in the past said she likes the changes she has seen.
“If you are looking for a coffee shop or lunch in the country, this is the perfect,” DeMoss said. “It’s a great atmosphere.”
So whether you want to watch the staff make flower on their small mill, or purchase a locally-grown food item like honey, jams, produce or even a hanging flower basket, Country Grains at Fir Point Farms is a must visit. Oregon agriculture and food at its finest.
About Country Grains at Fir Point Farms: A family-owned business since 1997 which has in the past focused on sandwiches, catering and quality food, has expanded into agri-tourism. It’s new location on a 35-acre farm is where they grow much of the food they serve and offer agri-tourism activities like a petting zoo, pumpkin patch, slides and greenhouses.
What to bring: If you are going to explore the farm and not just make a visit to the shop area, make sure you dress for the always unpredictable Oregon weather. Gortex is your friend, as is mud-friendly shoes.
Tip: Jack Romaine, one of the owners, said that the best time to visit the farm is late summer or early fall. Around September and October you can see the farm doing what it does best, harvesting and featuring many different Halloween activities, including a great pumpkin patch.
Season: The store is open year-round.
Getting there: Country Grains at Fir Point Farms is located at 14601 NE Arndt Road. From Interstate 5 take the Charbonneau District exit. Follow Miley Road to Airport Road, then turn left on Ardnt Road near the Aurora Airport.
By Patrick Johnson