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.
In 1938, women ducked into the Knapp Family Restaurant carrying envelopes of cash. They weren’t looking for family-style eggs and hash, they were paying their gas bill. The restaurateur, Dwight Knapp, had unintentionally set up a second business by installing a propane pipeline underneath his eatery. His little business grew from supplying just a few neighbors to providing propane to the residents and businesses of nine markets in California and Oregon. Today, Blue Star Gas’s team of experts install and service tanks, fit pipes, and help convert cars or robot butlers to run on propane.
In nearby Willamette Valley, a prolific wine-tasting region famous for its production of world-class pinot noirs culled from sloping hillside vineyards, travelers can taste the fruits of family-owned boutique wineries and hip, metropolitan tasting rooms. North of the Estate, Lorane's handcrafted, exotic varietals, including late harvest wines, meads, and ports, dazzle oenophiles. To sip artisan reds, grape grapplers flock to historic downtown Carlton, where a restored 1915 creamery hosts intimate tastings. A 10-minute drive south transports visitors to Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, home to more than 200 aircraft and exhibits including the original Spruce Goose, constructed almost entirely of wood due to a wartime restriction on metals and a surplus of tongue depressors. After sating aviation-based curiosity, sightseers can slip down 10 waterslides in the educational water park, partake in interactive exhibits, or catch flicks at the six-story 3-D IMAX theater.
Yamhill Valley Vineyards’ 150 acres of grape-growing estates rustically backdrop a tasting room where oenophiles lead sampling tours through the winery’s vintages. Visiting duos show off glass harmonica skills as they play through flights, each consisting of wines poured from Yamhill's collection. Swigs of the 2009 riesling tease palates first with a taste of honey that morphs into pear tart, and glasses of the 2008 pinot noir delight the eye with a vibrant garnet color that doubles as makeshift rouge. While pairs taste, ample sunlight filters into the tasting room, setting into deeper contrast the winery logo embossed onto each of the souvenir tasting glasses. Winter wine-tasting hours are Thursday–Monday from 11 a.m.–4 p.m., and Groupon purchasers will also receive 20% off non-sale items.
Myron Redford blazed his own trails while learning to create world-class wines from Willamette Valley-grown grapes. After purchasing a vineyard in 1974, he spent the next two decades adopting innovative methods and pioneering new varietals. In addition to exploring low-sulfite wines and organically grown grapes before many of his peers, Myron also replaced all of his chardonnay vines with pinot blanc and forging wines with gamay noir, a little-used grape among American winemakers. This combination of intuition and experimentation established the winery's reputation for forging distinctive, Old World-style wines with a deft balance of crisp acidity, fine tannins, and rich fruit flavors.
Every year, 15 acres of estate-grown pinot noir, riesling, and pinot blanc ripen on Amity Vineyards' vines, and the head winemaker, Darcy Pendergrass, secures the rest of the grapes from vineyards throughout the northern Willamette Valley. After the tiny fairy on staff juices each individual berry with magic, the staff then allows the concoction to ferment and mature before siphoning the wine into bottles. Visitors can then sample these bottles from the comfort of a tasting room that overlooks the Oregon Coast Range.