Urban Farm Store's storied urban farmer Robert Litt quit his job as a landscape architect to form this beloved bucolic boutique—offering the metropolitan masses a chance at their own barnyard bliss with supplies such as organic vegetables (starting at $2.95) and organic fertilizers (bulk, priced as marked). Use your digging skills for good instead of graves when you plant a fruit tree ($12.95 to $27.95). Or nurture a bountiful garden bed using organic potting soil (two cubic feet for $12), which is better than willing plants to grow by rubbing your genie-infested wishing sweater. Urban Farm Store also offers beer-making supplies, cheese-making classes, and pasture-raised meat and eggs far superior to meat and eggs conjured from thin air by starving birthday-party magicians. For the ultimate farm feat, however, adopt and bring home a baby chick ($4.95). These infantile egg producers arrive at the store on certain dates and sell quickly. Urban Farm Store also hosts free classes on basic chicken care every other Thursday at 6:30 p.m., during which they'll explain why it's better to feed chicks with organic chicken feed ($21) than molding clay and clock parts.
NW Greenlands' staff crafts a compost blend for vineyards, nurseries, yards, and gardens that the dedicated gardening experts make by carefully balancing temperature, moisture, and microbial activity for a finished product approved by the Organic Materials Review Institute. This is no small feat—six months to one year after it’s created, compost must to prove its quality by passing a screening and spontaneously producing a single red rose. Customers can choose from NW Greenlands’ variety of compost blends, including fine garden compost made with 100% plant matter, or potting soil, which contains pumice, peat moss, and E-Mix, which is packed with extra vitamins and minerals. Sandy loam breaks up stubborn clay and fills in holes. Greenlands’ staff can also whip up custom compost blends for gardeners that are tailored to the specific qualities of their soil.
Come late July, plumes of lavender-scented steam arise from Mountainside Lavender’s still and drift through the cool mountain air. As the season winds down, the farm’s experts set to work extracting the essential oils from their crop via the millennia-old practice of steam distillation. With more than 20 varieties of french and english lavender dotting the side of Chehalem Mountain, farmers have more than enough buds to choose from for their small batches of oil, which many prize for its calming effects. What doesn’t end up bottled may debut in the farm’s selection of handmade soaps, massage oils, and eye pillows.
In addition to incorporating the potent herb into therapeutic goods, farmers open their fields to visitors, who can gather bunches of english and french lavender varietals that burst into purple, pink, and white blooms. They also welcome guests to pause from plucking, smelling, or explaining the concept of private property to bumblebees so they can savor a picnic lunch while soaking up views of Mount Hood and Saint Helens.
There's much more to Lake View Farms than just pumpkins and a corn maze. Originally a produce market in the later part of the 80's, the family owners discovered that patrons found more joy exploring the grounds and spending time beneath the evergreen trees than shopping for groceries. The revelation brought about changes to the family-run farm, transforming it from a humble market to a fall family outdoor destination.
Now, families, friends, and groups can partake in a fun fall adventure beside a glistening 17-acre lake before traveling across the waters by paddleboat to pick their own pumpkin in the 15-acre patch. While customers can also take the train to the patch, passengers in paddle boats must brave past two of the farm's more unlikely residents: a lone "shark" and two "Loch Ness Monsters" that rise from the waters to photobomb boaters as they pass. Back on dry land, visitors also find plenty of memory-making opportunities as they explore the twisting 10-acre corn maze or peruse the old cow barn, which has been renovated into a seasonal gift shop.