Take a tour of the Umpqua Valley’s fall culinary highlights.
Ready for pumpkins, apples, pears, olives and all the flavors of fall in Southern Oregon? Hit the road and check out the new Great Umpqua Food Trail in Douglas County. Like its sister route, the Rogue Valley Food Trail — which features culinary delights from Grants Pass to Ashland — Great Umpqua offers a self-guided trail through Southern Oregon’s lush farmland and vineyards. Stop in at more than 40 farms, wineries and shops committed to showcasing the best ingredients of the Umpqua Valley. During harvest time, you’ll get to savor the season’s cool days, clear nights and all the abundance.
Pumpkins and Oregon-Made Olive Oil at Local Farms
Craving a classic fall farm experience? Visit family-owned Brosi’s Sugartree Farms in Winston, about 15 minutes south of Roseburg, for a harvest-season experience that ticks all the boxes. Ramble through the pumpkin patch to choose your very own sugar pie pumpkin, then get enjoyably lost in the farm’s corn maze before stocking up on apples, pears, winter squash and other autumnal delights. Norm Lehne Garden & Orchards in Roseburg also offers autumn U-pick, including pears, apples and corn.
A microclimate reminiscent of the Mediterranean means olive trees thrive at River Ranch in Glide, about 20 minutes east of Roseburg. Arbequina and arbosana olives are hand-harvested early in autumn when they’re still packed full of compounds called polyphenols that give olive oil its unique taste. Think of it as the IPA of olive oil — rich and robust, with a full, lingering flavor. At River Ranch, you can sample and buy local olive oils, including olio nuovo, new-harvest olive oil, which is usually available in early November.
Farmers Market Finds
Autumn is that special season when the last of the summer produce crosses paths with the first fall crops at local farmers markets. Snap up the last of the peppers and tomatoes plus fresh fall apples, local honey and wild mushrooms at the Umpqua Valley Farmers Market in Roseburg, which runs year-round on Saturday mornings.
Canyonville Farmers Market in Canyonville operates every Wednesday through mid-December. Enjoy live music while shopping for winter squash, flowers, honey, nuts and more. Once you’re fully stocked, refuel with a tamale from Armandos Mexican Restaurant, one of several on-site food vendors.
Catch Crush From the Tasting-Room Window
The Umpqua’s many world-class wineries kick into high gear when the first grapes ripen in late summer. During harvest workers pick, sort and process fruit from well before dawn until dusk. The work doesn’t usually stop until November, and 2022’s cool spring means harvest might go even later.Want to see a small slice of the action in person? Visit an estate winery like Cooper Ridge Vineyard or Henry Estate Winery. Or make a tasting appointment at Foon Estate Vineyard just a few minutes west of Roseburg. Sample wines made from Spanish varieties like albariño, tempranillo and malbec — all grown on-site — in a 19th-century timber-framed barn. Views of the fruit-processing area mean you might see the latest harvest coming in from the vineyard. You can also book a seated tasting at Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards, known for its pioneering grüner veltliner program, where four wines are paired with small bites to showcase the food-friendly qualities of this estate producer’s wines.
Eats and Sips on the Trail
Alongside growers and producers, the Great Umpqua Food Trail also includes several local restaurants featuring uniquely Umpqua flavors. Start the day with a latte from Takelma Roasting Company in Roseburg, a specialty coffee roaster owned by the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians. Or share family-size apple fritters at The Happy Donut in Myrtle Creek.
When it’s time for lunch, North Forty Beer Company pours a wide selection of locally brewed ales ranging from rich stouts and porters to refreshing goses and kolches to complement burgers made from local beef. Not feeling carnivorous? Visit the all-vegan Wrappin and Rollin food truck in Roseburg for fresh, plant-based dishes like spicy cauliflower bites, tofu Buffalo “wings” and veggie-packed enchiladas.
The legendary Steamboat Inn offers destination dining and luxurious riverside accommodations about 45 minutes east of Roseburg. The rotating dinner menu showcases Northwest flavors and a long history as one of Oregon’s best-known fishing hideaways with great seafood. While specific menu items change with the seasons, expect dishes like the catch of the day served with lemon beurre blanc and dill-and-caper orzo. The restaurant is open to the public seasonally for breakfast, lunch and dinner — in 2022 they’re seating through October.
If You Go:
Check the Great Umpqua Food Trail’s website before you head out for many more options, as well as maps, planning tools and itinerary ideas.
Call working farms, wineries and ranches ahead to double-check open hours during harvest.