Take a deep breath.
That is Red Ridge Farm’s specialty.
We all know that travelling on vacation can be more work than, well, being at work at times. Connecting flights, rental cars, strange towns to navigate and depending on how busy your itinerary, travelling can create more stress than it relieves.
Which is why if you are visiting the Yamhill Valley for any length of time, you must visit Red Ridge Farms.
The nursery and olive farm is located on a ridge, believe it or not, and looking out across the valley are two wine fields. With the buildings having a Tuscan feel at the farm, it almost seems you have been transported to Spain or Italy – not Yamhill Valley wine country.
“We have been in the wine and grape business for the past 37 years and when we bought this piece of property we wanted to do something different,” said Penny Durant, one of the owners of the farm that specializes in herbs, olive oil, specialty plants and gifts. “I was fascinated with the use of herbs and the healing aspects of them, so I wanted to start something with a calming, healing atmosphere.”
The gift shop includes home décor items, housewares, fountains and many different containers for container gardening.
For the past nine years, Penny and her husband Ken have been working on the property, making it a destination point that lies in the center of wine country.
In addition to herbs – they carry more than 300 varieties – the gift store and the nursery, the couple also have stocked many different soothing teas and planted 15 acres of hardy olives – to be used for three specialty olive oils which are manufactured on site.
They recently finished the construction of a meeting hall and functioning olive mill, where anything from corporate meetings to weddings can be held. They have also started a new event, called “Olio Nuovo” during the fall where people can come and watch the olives be harvested and processed for the fresh olive oil.
“There is a very different taste to the different types, especially when you get it fresh,” Ken said. Ken and the couple’s son Paul, run the olive operations, while Penny focuses on the gift shop, nursery and herbs.
But Red Ridge Farms isn’t just about a day at a nursery with a twist. No, there is also a small apartment above the gift shop. With expansive windows and Willamette Valley views, the apartment feels more like a beach house than a hideaway tucked in Yamhill County.
“People love the view into the vineyards,” Penny said as she walked through the one-bedroom apartment. “But I personally like looking out the other side to the valley – you can see several mountains on clear days.”
The small apartment – which Penny calls a hideaway (an apt title) -- includes a kitchen and is available for night, weekend or week-long sojourns away from the hustle and bustle of life on vacation.
Take a quick detour to the hills of Spain on your tour of Oregon wine country by visiting Red Ridge Farm – your blood pressure and taste buds will thank you.
About the Red Ridge Farms: A “destination” nursery where people come to enjoy everything from specialty herbs to locally produced olive oil. The farm outside of Dayton includes a meeting hall and hideaway apartment and is a great location for weddings. Surrounded by seven wineries and located on a hill that overlooks several vineyards, the picturesque setting is a great getaway during a hectic vacation. You can reach the farm for reservations for the hideaway, meeting space or simply find out the latest specialty herbs by calling toll free 866-828-4372.
Season: Red Ridge Farms is open from March through November and closes after they harvest and process the olive crop. The gift shop is open around Christmas time, but call for specific hours of operation.
Getting there: From Portland take Highway 99W through Tigard, Sherwood, newberg and Dundee. Approximately two miles out of Dundee, you will pass the state weight station on the right, then the blue highway sign for Red Ridge Farms. At the next intersection, where 99W intersects with Highway 18, turn right onto McDougall Road. During the open season there are many A-frame signs put out that will direct you to the farm.
Tips: Indulge yourself and stay at the hideaway apartment for a few days. Whether you are touring Yamhill Valley wine country or just want to have a relaxing day before heading to the Oregon Coast, the location is very beautiful and stress-reducing. Add in the specialty teas and the high quality olive oils and you might never want to leave.
By Patrick Johnson