In partnership with Travel Oregon’s Food Trails program, the High Desert Food & Farm Alliance has launched the High Desert Food Trail, Central Oregon’s first official food trail. The High Desert Food Trail joins eight other Travel Oregon-designated Oregon Food Trails throughout the state, and is the second to be located east of the Cascade Mountains.
With more than 45 different stops at local food-oriented businesses throughout Crook,
Deschutes and Jefferson Counties, the High Desert Food Trail features three unique self-guided itineraries that showcase various ways to enjoy the stunning landscapes, artisan offerings and resilient agriculture. While the focus of the High Desert Food Trail is on local agriculture such as farms and ranches, craft beverage producers, cooking schools, vineyards, artisan markets and even lodging properties are included in the program.
“Experiences such as the High Desert Food Trail foster a deeper connection and a greater sense of place for both visitors and locals. These experiences are so rewarding but can be difficult to discover without an organized effort or a formal program in place,” says Annie Nichols, lead organizer for the High Desert Food Trail. “With such strong agricultural roots in the region, combined with an incredible culinary scene and a culture of artisans and makers, we hope to make access to and enjoyment of high-quality, locally-sourced food experiences that much easier.”
According to Travel Oregon, the Oregon Food Trails program aims to cultivate innovative partnerships between culinary and agricultural businesses, strengthen local food economies and create unique experiences for visitors and locals alike. The objectives of the program are to:
- Drive visitation to agricultural and culinary businesses in destinations that offer high-quality and locally-sourced consumable products in a compelling way;
- Deliver excellent visitor experiences by increasing business engagement and collaboration;
- Inspire visitors to explore businesses that they might not find on their own; and
- Encourage visitors to stay in destinations longer, visit in shoulder seasons and consider repeat visitation.
“While some activities might be limited by an individual’s specific interests, such as mountain biking or skiing, or confined to certain seasons of the year, food is the one component that’s part of every Central Oregon visitor’s experience year-round, and regardless of their interests,” said Julie Theisen, CEO of Visit Central Oregon. “The High Desert Food Trail allows us to tell the story of food and its interconnectedness to the visitor experience, and to showcase the quality, diversity and creativity of the region’s agritourism in new and different ways.”
To learn more about the High Desert Food Trail, visit High Desert Food Trail. To explore all that the region has to offer — including food — or to begin planning a visit to Central Oregon, visit visitcentraloregon.com.