Though big grocery stores make life more convenient, they can lessen the relationship that a shopper has with their food unlike when you buy it directly from the people who produce it. But you can still find a few of those places on Oregon's central coast.
One of my favorites is River’s Edge Chevre. The goat milk cheeses made on this small farm in Logsdon by mother-and-daughter team Pat and Astraea Morford have won national and even international awards. Yet you can drive up to the farm, grab one of the world class cheeses and simply leave the cash in a can. For a few years the cheese was kept in the mini-fridge that Astraea had once had in her college dorm room. It’s been replaced with a full-sized fridge, but the vibe is still the same.
Up In Smoke, a round of fresh chevré that is smoked then wrapped in bourbon-misted maple leaves, won a Super Gold award at the International Cheese Awards, and Humbug Mountain, an ash-covered pyramid, won Best American Cheese at the World Cheese Awards. “We were really delighted and surprised by the international prizes,” Astraea said. “But we’ve been winning prizes since the first competition we entered. That might sound arrogant, but it’s just funny how people in our own area seem surprised if they hear about one of our awards. We’ve been written about quite a lot, but it’s mostly on the East Coast in publications like The New York Times.”
Pat and one of her goats
Three Ring Farm, where River’s Edge Chevre’s cheeses are made, is located 6 miles from Siletz at 6315 Logsden Rd. Another benefit of a farm visit is the chance to meet the true stars on Three Ring Farm, the herd of Alpine goats making all that milk. The number of goats “in milk” is usually about 60, each of which Pat, who grew up with goats, knows by name. In case you are wondering, yes, I tested her.
As good as these cheeses taste, part of what makes them so appealing is visual. If there is such a thing as sexy cheese, these women are making it. “When you know what you’re doing, there isn’t a whole lot of trial and error,” Pat said. “Cheese is cheese; you can change the shape, you can add different flavors to it, but for the most part it’s going to be pretty straightforward. But we do try to make things as beautiful as possible, that’s really an important aspect of the cheese; it’s got to be beautiful.”
Pacific Sourdough's popular market stand
The lines for the natural-leavened sourdough breads, delicious pastries and specialty desserts made by Pacific Sourdough always start early and stay long at the Newport Farmers Market. But you can visit their small, artisan bakery in Waldport on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. All the breads and pastries are handmade in small batches. They contain no preservatives, artificial ingredients or hydrogenated oils, and they use sustainable Northwest-grown wheat flours, organic nuts, spices, seeds, locally made butter and the best fruits of the seasons.
Oregon Oyster Farm can help fuel a good bike ride on the Newport's Bay Road
Oregon Oyster Farm is located along Newport’s almost ridiculously scenic Yaquina Bay Road, and whether you are going by bike or car, a break for fresh oysters is always worthwhile. My favorites are the small buttery kumamoto’s, but if you don’t know which ones you may like best, the friendly, helpful staff staff is always ready to talk about the product that they are proud to serve, and they'll guide you through your oyster exploration whether you want three for right then or three dozen to take home. The address is 6878 Yaquina Bay Road, but you can also find it by just looking for the piles of oyster shells.
Do you have a any stand-out small businesses that you love? Clue me in with your opinions and stories, and share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section. For other things to do on the Central Coast, check out our Daytime Events calendar. For evening entertainment our Nightlife page steers you to the top happenings on the Central Coast.