The best dishes aren’t always served on top of white tablecloths. For those looking for undiscovered gems in the food scene that don’t require reservations, Yamhill Valley has a growing group of creative chefs and dining innovators who are turning the traditional fine dining experience on its head—with delicious results.
One of those innovators is Jody Kropf, who created and owns Red Hills Market in Dundee. Though he has a background in fine dining, Kropf said that the career never really resonated with him. He grew up on a small one-acre farm, and his parents owned the Brownsville General Store, which became a neighborhood hub. With Red Hills Market, Kropf wanted to recreate that feeling.
Along with the marketplace that has local food products and a robust beer and wine section, Red Hills Market also serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Expect to find local farmers, winemakers and chefs sharing the table with you. Since it opened in 2011, the place has become exactly what Kropf envisioned: a locals’ gathering spot.
The market also has a mobile pizza oven that appears at local winery events, part of a growing trend that fuses the Valley’s culinary culture with its winemaking.
Food trucks seem to be taking over the culinary world, and Yamhill Valley is no exception. Mike Roberts, who owns the ice cream food truck Cream Northwest, didn’t originally plan on opening a cart. It was only when he couldn’t find the right space that he decided the business would do better on wheels.
Usually parked at the Chehalem Tasting Room in Newberg, Cream Northwest serves handmade ice cream. In the summer, customers line up for a scoop of one of the artisanal flavors. It’s one of many food trucks making the rounds in Yamhill Valley, bringing mobile cuisine and confections to special events as an additional offering for guests looking for more than finger food.
While most wineries and vineyards don’t offer traditional meals, many throw hosted farm dinners to bring guests and chefs together for multi-course meals among the terraced vines. Field and Vine events produces Dinners in the Field from March to December. This year, you can join one in Yamhill Valley at wineries including Stoller Family Estate, Gran Moraine and Domaine Serene.