Nov 22

A Southern Oregon Thanksgiving

Christmas merchandise crowds the aisles at all the shops while festive yuletide decorations line the streets. It’s Christmas, or is it? Every year it gets earlier. Had I wanted to buy ornaments or even a plastic Christmas tree I could have done so before Halloween. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of Christmas but when it starts two months early that’s just overkill. So, in honor of the  autumn season and that seemingly forgotten holiday called Thanksgiving here are some suggestions as to how to get out and enjoy the pre- Christmas season.

Go for a Run

Thanksgiving tends to be the ultimate couch potato holiday, eat too much then settle in for some quality television viewing. Well if that’s not your idea of a good time or if you are just looking to burn some excess calories in advance of the feast head to Medford for the 6th Annual Southern Oregon Turkey Trot! There is an 8 mile run, a 2 mile walk or a 100 yard turkey dash. For more information see http://soturkeytrot.com/TurkeyTrot

Enjoy the Fall Colors

Nothing says fall like the bold bright colors of fall foliage. Although we are past the peak of fall colors there are still some beautiful hues to be seen.  For details and locations of where to see the best colors see http://oregonfallfoliage.wordpress.com/

Drink and be Merry 

This weekend wineries all over the state are holding special Thanksgiving weekend open houses. Many of our Rogue Valley wineries are opening their doors with special events and tastings. For a full list of all participating vineyards see http://oregonwinepress.com/article?articleName=thanksgiving-taste-southern-2011  A few of my personal favorites include:

Del Rio Vineyards & Winery – 52 N. River Road, Gold Hill 541-855-2062

Nov. 25–27 (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.) The festivities begin on Friday with the Black Friday Case Sale and continue on Saturday and Sunday with complimentary wine tasting, holiday spiced wine and appetizers.  For more information see www.delriovineyards.com

Troon Vineyard – 1475 Kubli Road,Grants Pass

Nov. 25–27 (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.) In the spirit of giving, bring two cans of non-perishable food for the Applegate Valley Food Pantry and your tasting fee will be waived. While you are at Troon enjoy  wine and food pairings from Chef Tim Keller and live music by Rachael Sandeen from 1 to 4 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. For more information see www.troonvineyard.com

All Aboard

If you’re looking for something both kids and adults will enjoy check out what has become something of a Thanksgiving weekend tradition, The 34th Annual Rogue Valley Railroad Show. This event takes place November 26-27th at the Medford Armory. Here you will see model railroad displays and exhibits with the proceeds going to the Medford Railroad Park. For more information see http://rvmrc.net/show%20archives.html

Ginger Bread at the Theater

Although this last one has a hint of Christmas to it I thought is still deserved mention. This weekend is the finale of the Ginger Bread Jubilee at the Craterian Theater in Medford. This event raises funds for the Theater while we get to enjoy viewing some amazing ginger bread creations. The community tour portion of the event happens Friday, November 25th and Saturday November 26th from 10am-4pm. Admission is $3. http://www.craterian.org/gingerbread-jubilee/

And let’s not forget the fall seasons main attraction. Nothing says Thanksgiving like friends, family and pumpkin pie.  So, before you start decking the halls give Autumn it’s last hurrah and enjoy a festive Thanksgiving weekend.


Aug 25

Wine on the Ranch

 

As the sun sets on a hot August evening with the sound of music in the air I enjoy a glass of fine wine and some beautiful scenery. Set deep in the Applegate Valley in Williams, Oregon is Plaisance Ranch. The name is French and the definition closely fits this quaint winery.  Plaisance \Plai`sance\: Pleasure, Merriment, kindness. “With Great Pleasure”.  Throughout the summer the proprietors, Joe and Susie Ginet hold “Wine Down” events which are every bit the definition of the word Plaisance.  On this particular summer evening dozens of people have gathered for music by Swing State, tacos by The Out of the Way Café topped off with homemade brownies and most importantly the wines of Plaisance Ranch.

Like much of the Applegate Valley, Plaisance has changed directions in the past twenty years. Once a dairy farm the Ginet family is now producing wine and although this transition may seem relatively recent the family has been growing wine grapes for generations in France, making this transition from a dairy farm to a vineyard a natural one. Their wines have taken numerous awards, most recently Best of Show in the 2011 World of Wine festival for the Plaisance Ranch 2010 Ginet Rose.  The winery lists it’s Predominant Varieties as Tempranillo, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot noir, Syrah, Chardonnay, Pinot gris, Riesling, Cabernet Franc, Viognier and Zinfandel. Many of which were honored with 2010 World of Wine awards.

Plaisance Ranch is located at 16955 Water Gap Road in Williams and is open from Noon – 6PM everyday except Tuesdays. For more information call 541-846-7171 or visit www.plaisanceranch.com.  And don’t miss the next “Wine Down” event scheduled for Friday, September 16th from 5:30-8:30 PM. You will be sure to receive a warm greeting, taste some superb wine and enjoy the relaxed beauty of Williams, Oregon. Cheers!

May 21

Springtime Wine Tours in Southern Oregon

After a long wet winter two sure signs of spring in Southern Oregon are the Spring Uncorked Barrel Tour and Roam the Rogue Passport Winery Tour.  Both give a chance to sample wine and take in the beautiful valley scenery.

The Spring Uncorked Barrel Tour takes place Sunday May 22nd from 11am – 5pm and includes 15 wineries in the Applegate Valley. Each stop includes wine samples and appetizers. The cost for the tour is $39 and includes a commemorative wine glass. Tickets can be purchased online at www.applegatewinetrail.com.

Some of the stops in the Applegate Valley include: 

Wooldridge Creek Winery www.wcwinery.com

Troon Vineyard www.troonvineyard.com

Devitt Winery www.devittwinery.com

Valley View Winery www.valleyviewwinery.com

Next weekend gives us yet another taste of the Valley’s wine offerings with Roam the Rogue Passport Winery Tour.  Saturday May 28th from 11am – 5pm join the Upper Rogue Valley winemakers on a tour of 8 wineries.  Tickets are $25 and include wine tasting, appetizers and a Commemorative Reidel glass.  Tickets can be purchased online at www.roamtherogue.com.

Roam the Rogue Passport Winery includes:

Agate Ridge Vineyard www.agateridgevineyard.com

Roxy Ann Winery www.roxyann.com

Crater Lake Cellars www.craterlakecellars.com

Del Rio Vineyard www.delriovineyards.com

 If you love wine and beautiful scenery get out and enjoy these wonderful events. See you there!

Mar 23

Cranes for Japan Fundraiser in Grants Pass

Due to the recent devastation caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan many people and communities have been compelled to help.  If you live in Southern Oregon you will have the opportunity to contribute, with 100% of the proceeds going to The American Red Cross Japan relief effort. You will learn how to fold origami cranes which will then be strung together into a “Senbazuru” arrangement and presented to the people of Sendai Japan.  The suggested donation is $10 for adults and $5 for children. The goal is to fold 1000 cranes and raise $10,000 which will go to the effected area.  

This is a wonderful opportunity to work with your community to help those in the devastated areas of Japan. This drop-in event takes place in the Main Lobby and Cascade Rooms of Three Rivers Community Hospital on Friday March 25th from 11am – 8pm. The hospital is located at 500 SW Ramsey Ave. in Grants Pass.

Mar 21

Shop Local at Rogue Valley Growers Markets

It’s officially spring. The days are getting longer, the trees are blooming and a sunny warm summer is just around the corner. This time of year also marks the reopening of the Rogue Valley’s Growers Markets. There are numerous markets spread across the valley which can be found on most days of the week. The growers markets are a popular valley attraction. Many area residents enjoy strolling through the market in search of the freshest brightest fruits and vegetables while listening to local musicians and sampling local gourmet treats. If you haven’t stopped by one of the Valley Growers Markets before, now is the time to give them a try. 

There are a variety of reasons to shop at our local growers markets. When you buy locally grown fruits and vegetables you get food picked at its peak. The food is fresh and simply tastes better. Farmer’s market food is different than commercially produced food in more ways than you might imagine. According to the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture www.cuesa.org the average American meal travels about 1500 miles from farm to your dinner plate. This affects the consumer and the planet in a variety of ways. The long distance our food travels consumes huge amounts of fossil fuels. When thought of in terms of energy produced, every 1 calorie we consume takes 10 times that amount of fossil fuel energy to transport. Obviously this is not the most effective use of energy not to mention the large amount of carbon emissions produced. Then there is the quality of the food to consider. In the time it takes to ship your food those 1500 miles it would be nothing but a pile of mush if it were picked fresh. Due to this much of the commercially produced food is picked before it is ripe and then chemically gassed with ethylene to ripen it.

Shopping at the local growers markets also helps the community economically. For every $100 you spend in your community at a local business $68 of it stays in your community compared with only $43 when you spend the same $100 at a major retailer. The local farms, gourmet food makers, artisans and crafters you find at our local growers markets employ people in our community. By supporting them you support the Rogue Valley as a whole.

The Rogue Valley Growers Markets are not just limited to fruits and vegetables. This past weekend I spotted a wide variety of goods including jams, jewelry, dog treats, handmade wood furniture, breads, tamales and plants to name just some of the offerings. If you live in the Rogue Valley you have multiple choices of growers markets in your area. The first three markets opened this month with more to follow in the coming months. So, if you’re looking for ingredients for dinner, shopping for plants for the yard or hungry for some local gourmet food, grab the kids and find your local growers market.

The following is a list of Rogue Valley Growers Markets.

Ashland Markets

Tuesdays at the Ashland Armory
8:30-1:30
March 15 – November 22

Ashland Saturday Market – Lithia Way & First Street
9:00 – 1:00
May 7 – October 29

Medford Market

Thursdays at the Medford Armory
Open from 8:30 – 1:30
March 17 – November 17

For info on both the Ashland and Medford markets see www.rvgrowersmarket.com

Grants Pass Markets

Saturday’s downtown at 4th and “F” Street
Open from 9-1
March 5th – Thanksgiving

Summer Market at Riverside Park
Wednesdays, 9am – 1pm
June – Sep

Rogue River Sunday Market
110 E. Pine St.
Sundays, 9am – 1pm
May – Oct

Talent Evening Market
110 E. Main St.
Fridays, 5:30 – 8:30pm
June – September

For more information on Oregon Farmers markets see www.oregonfarmersmarkets.org or www.localharvest.org

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