Traveling I-5 to get from one winery to another won't give you the real essence of the Valley. Salem, Albany and Eugene are OK, and the east-side wineries, particularly Willamette Valley Vineyards, are great, but you get the real feeling of this amazing agricultural area by driving through towns like Junction City, Monroe, Monmouth, Rickreall, Amity, McMinnville, Dundee or Newberg. And while the wineries attract tourists, the backbone of the Valley was built on grass seed and filberts, as well as being the market-garden for Portland. To get an idea of the voluptuous produce of the Valley, read chapter 4 of Cory Schreiber's amazing cookbook "Wildwood - Cooking from the source in the Pacific Northwest" (Tenspeed Press).
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