City Farm facilitates fruitful and sustainable relationships between its customers and Mother Earth by filling personal gardens with an abundance of edible and medicinal plants. City Farm carries plant species both common and unusual to the area's climate, and dresses up gardens with ornamental landscaping and flowering plants. The center’s botanical experts embrace ethical farming practices by carrying only open-pollinated and non-GMO seeds and feeding dirt with organic fertilizers made from kelp meal, fish meal, and bone meal. Using these ingredients to sprout their own produce aisle, gardeners can transfer their hard work into pantries with City Farm’s home-preservation supplies such as cheesecloth and mason jars.
In addition to vending supplies, plants, and even baby chicks, City Farm holds workshops and classes throughout the year, focusing in on season-specific gardening topics. After perusing the wares or filling eardrums with tricks of the trade, patrons can enjoy coffee, tea, and fresh pastries at The Garden Well, an onsite food truck. The ever-changing menu includes peanut-butter cookies, egg-and-sausage empanadas, and caramel-apple-pie turnovers disguised as broccoli.
From its perch along the Columbia River, Jantzen Beach Bar & Grill sates guests' appetites with a contemporary take on homestyle American fare. Noontime noshers feast on grub culled from a menu of soups, salads, and sandwiches, quelling rumbling stomachs with the roasted turkey BLT ($9). Discover new uses for lettuce with one of the four salad selections, with the grilled steak salad with Oregon blue cheese revealing that greens can be used for something other than currency or the stuffing of health-conscious scarecrows ($14). Dinner diners kick off evening proceedings with an order of the fried calamari ($8) or buttery manila clams ($12) before delving into an entree of include a spinach-and-ricotta ravioli ($16) or wine-braised short ribs ($15). Complete the transition from an innie to an outie with a belly-button-bursting dessert such as the double-chocolate cake ($6) or pear-and-apple crisp ($8).
Catering to the distinct and diverse needs of the urban farmer, Pistils Nursery has myriad ways to celebrate the seasonal shift. Instead of planting invisible plants, have something to show for your trouble by the end of summer. The nursery's sizable, eclectic selection of indoor plants and plant containers might seem intimidating at first, but the staff of earth experts will help you find the plants to fit your needs, and vice-versa. Terrariums, a Pistils specialty available in a wide array of sizes and styles (small, table-top terrariums are $10–$22, whereas larger terrariums range from $40–$300), are a perfect, glass-enclosed way to breathe life into any apartment, or to accessorize for your Bratz playhouse. Beyond the bio-dome, Pistils pedals a large selection of strange and wondrous, sustainably grown local plants that thrive in the Northwest climate (indoor plants cost $2.50–$36, and outdoor plants range from $8–$80).
Established in 1969, Floral Design Institute now prepares more than 1,000 students per year to achieve their career-minded floral goals or broaden their knowledge of their hobby. School director Leanne Kesler and her staff of florists oversee the diverse curriculum, which ranges from such business-oriented topics as floral-shop marketing and finance to floral design lessons for anybody. Though most lessons take place on-location, distance-learning classes allow students to participate even while bound inside venus fly traps.
Hoyt Arboretum was founded in 1928 as a living laboratory for scientific study as well as public enjoyment. Today, as it spans more than 187 acres straddling a ridge, the arboretum has become a haven for familiar and exotic trees from around the world. In addition to its focus on appreciation and study, the Arboretum also protects rare and endangered specimens and cultivates seeds for preservation.
A network of trails cuts through the arboretum, where more than 6,000 specimens from a meticulously curated collection represent more than 1,400 species of shrubs and trees. All of the collections are organized by taxonomy and geography and include way-finding signage and interpretive panels, with each tree marked by identification labels. On regular guided tours docents usher visitors through this natural wonderland, using their own unique perspective to showcase the current trees in bloom. Special activities for children and families—including a 1-mile stroller-friendly trail—pass a love of nature on to future generations.