Franklin’s Corner Community Garden

Franklin's Corner Community Garden planFor awhile now I’d been driving on Franklin Avenue and at the roundabout at Eighth Street I noticed on the southeast corner there appeared to be a large garden of some sort being developed. Thanks to a press release that came in yesterday, I have a name for it now: Franklin’s Corner Community Garden. It’s a fascinating idea; here’s the full press release:

Franklin’s Corner is the first community garden constructed on a City-owned lot. Franklin’s Corner, at NE Franklin Avenue and NE Ninth Street, is entirely organic, uses water-conservation techniques and offers a community gathering space for the neighborhood.

The park is a storm water infiltration system, or rain garden. It is designed to capture, hold and naturally treat storm water in the neighborhood. This clean, filtered clean storm water will eventually rejoin our groundwater supply.

For decades, the lot had been irrigated turf in a highly-visible area. The completed garden is an aesthetic improvement for the surrounding neighborhood. Its location provides a viable growing climate and features an edible food forest which is open to the entire neighborhood. The landscape also consists of native plants and pollinators for bees and butterflies.

Plots are available to rent for the growing seasons to anyone. Some plots are sponsored for low-income families. Plots are available on a first come-first serve basis with preference given to returning gardeners in good standing who volunteer to maintain the garden area.

Franklin’s Corner was made possible by widespread support in the community: grants, sponsorships, donation of time, services and material by many of Bend’s local businesses, community partners, volunteers, and neighbors.

It’s a volunteer-driven project but you can sponsor or even rent a plot, which is a great idea. Obviously the 2014 plots are taken, but there’s plenty of time to get in on plots (garden beds) for 2015.

And next Tuesday the 23rd, they are having their dedication ceremony at 5:15 if you wanted to check it out.

Uncorked: Wine fest at Sunriver SHARC

This weekend (last night and today), the old Sunriver Sunfest Wine Festival is taking place—rebranded as “Uncorked” and put on by Sunriver Style and SHARC. It looks like a great wine event, and my wife went with some friends last night and really enjoyed it; some pictures are below.

Here are the details:

Uncorked, Sunriver Style is a two-day wine event featuring Oregon wineries, chocolates, cheeses, educational wine classes, live music & more!

Previously known as the Sunriver Sunfest Wine Festival, the Sunriver Owners Association enlisted the support of a veteran wine festival coordinator to stage a rejuvenated and dynamic event renamed “Uncorked, Sunriver Style.” Held in SHARC’s Benham Hall, the two-day event will showcase 16 Oregon-based wines, music and vendors featuring boutique chocolates, cheeses and more. There will be a few other surprises throughout the weekend.

$20/per person ages 21 & older; includes one event stemless wine glass and 5 tasting tickets. Additional tastes, glasses of wine and bottles will be sold by the vendors. $5 admission each day for non-drinkers (does not include a wine glass); ages 3 and under are free.

They have some educational wine classes to offer as well, for $30 per class (or $75 for all of them). Overall looks like a great wine festival, so check it out if you get the chance!

And, a few pictures:

Oktoberfesting

Bend OktoberfestIt’s that time of year again—Oktoberfest season! Oktoberfest officially runs from September 20 through October 5 this year, and the local events are gearing up accordingly. Here’s a rundown:

Eagle Crest’s annual Oktobercrest is taking place this Saturday the 13th, running from 11am until 9pm. There will be “dozens” of beers on tap, along with cider and wine, and Oktoberfest-inspired foods, live music, and more. There is even, for the first time, an Oktobercrest 5K Beer Run taking place from 11am to 1pm tied to it (which will cost you $25 to enter). For the Fest itself, mugs cost $10, and tasting tickets cost $1 each. It should be a fun day with a lot of things to offer! Hat tip to radio’s Robin Fox for the heads-up!

The Bend Oktoberfest is taking place the next weekend, on Friday the 19th and Saturday the 20th. This is Bend’s oldest Oktoberfest celebration, taking place on Oregon Avenue downtown and features beers, specialty foods, games, wiener dog races, and more—including family-friendly activities. And one of the features I like about this Fest is the beer—you buy the steins, and then you get full pint pours of all the beers (or cider)—$4 to $5 per pint, at least, but it’s not the ticket/token based method, and if you’re going to be eating brats and listening to Oompah music then you’re going to want a pint of beer in your hand!

Over at the Old St. Francis School on Saturday the 20th, McMenamins’ own Oktoberfest is taking place all day long, a nice companion to the Bend Oktoberfest. They’ll have live music in O’Kane’s Square starting at 1pm, and moving to Father Luke’s Room at 8pm—all free, all day long. Look for a special beer, food specials, and I’m quite sure some colorful, festive figures running around.

Any other Oktoberfest celebrations taking place? Let me know and I’ll post updates!

Bend Creamery: Scratch-made ice cream using liquid nitrogen

I got a press release recently about the newest ice cream cart, Bend Creamery, and it sounds intriguing: they make their ice cream from scratch using liquid nitrogen. And according to that press release, it’s made on the spot for you, to order:

Bend Creamery, creators of Bend, Oregon’s only made-from-scratch organic ice cream, recently opened its tiny and powerful cart downtown. Mixing and flash freezing the ingredients right in front of visitors with a unique process that always brings a smile, this local company serves up delicious, organic goodness each weekend.

They’re going all-in on the organic angle as well, keeping it simple with only three base ingredients going into their ice cream: milk, cream, and sugar (all organic). Here’s a bit more from the press release about the process:

New flavors are added seasonally and the cart is currently serving fresh mint, sweet cream and chocolate ice cream, along with fresh waffle cones, fudge, caramel and raspberry sauces all made in house.

The ice cream is flash-frozen right in front of the customer using a tank filled with something that’s found in 78 percent of the air we breathe: nitrogen. This liquid nitrogen is -321 degrees and it freezes the ice cream ingredients 10 times faster than commercial batch freezers (after which it evaporates). Faster freezing means there’s simply not time for tiny ice crystals to form, and results in the creamiest ice cream possible. This process is also why Bend Creamery does not need to use any gums, stabilizers or any other “extra” ingredients.

So far they are only open on weekend (Friday through Sunday) from 1 to 8pm, in the Riverfront Plaza (by Crow’s Feet Commons). I haven’t personally tried their ice cream yet so I can’t vouch for it, but it’s sound interesting enough to check out!

Bend Creamery

Bend’s newest cidery: Far Afield Cider

Far Afield CiderLast weekend after the Little Woody we swung by the new Maker’s District to check out some of their block party action and to stop in at the new Far Afield Cider, which was having its grand opening the same day.

Far Afield grand opening

Far Afield is located on NE Second Street, in the former Nectar of the Gods Meadery (you might remember this mead was only available at the Horned Hand before closing). As such, they go into the space with minimum renovation needs—it was already plumbed and set up for fermentation, and included a walk-in cooler.

Far Afield cidery

Far Afield cidery

The Bulletin ran a profile of John Gessner, the owner (whom I’ve known along with his wife Brenda for years), back in July and highlights a few key points behind the Far Afield philosophy:

Gessner, who formerly homebrewed as a hobby, said he’s doing something a little bit differently than the other Bend cideries — aging the cider. He currently has about 1,200 gallons aging and hopes to have it available in kegs this month.

One day he would like to have the apples pressed on-site. But for now, he said, he gets his juice from the Yakima Valley in Washington. When the juice arrives, he ferments it. He adds yeast, lets it sit for up to 10 days, removes the yeast and stores it in the cooler to age from two to six months.

The only difference now is that I believe the juice is coming from Hood River—at least that’s what I thought they’d said last week.

They are focusing on two main types of cider (as well as apple cider vinegar): a sweet cider that is sweetened with honey and seasoned with vanilla, and a cider fermented with an ale yeast—“For the beer lovers,” as they said last week, pouring samples of this particular one. I don’t know that it had a beer character but I do think it had a bit of a fruity ale yeast profile and more body/mouthfeel than you usually encounter in a cider. (The sweet cider wasn’t pouring, as the latest batch was still aging.)

Look for their cider to go on tap at the usual suspects initially—the Platypus Pub, Broken Top Bottle Shop, the Growler Guys—but I don’t know when and where that will be for sure yet. But you can follow their Facebook page to keep abreast of updates.

Far Afield Cider - apple tree branch
Apple tree branch they used for their “ribbon” cutting

Hollinshead Garden Open House

OSU Extension Service - Master Gardener
OSU Extension Service – Master Gardener

How did your garden grow, this summer? Personally, I cultivated a beautiful salad bar for the “antler’d rats” (er, adorable deer). Luckily they don’t seem to like the taste of hops… yet.

If your tomatoes are troublesome, if you need advice about growing veggies, or if you just want to tour the gardens… then be sure to check out the Hollinshead Community Garden Open House this Saturday, September 6th, 10am-2pm.  Highlights will include tours, classes, and tastings in the garden and homestead house. Got a gardening question? You can ask an OSU Extension Service Master Gardener as you roam.

The Little Woody starts today!

The Little WoodyOne of Bend’s premier beer festivals, The Little Woody Barrel Aged Brew and Whiskey Fest, kicks off today at 5pm and continues tomorrow at noon (ending at 10pm both days)! It’s also one of my favorites, featuring beers aged on wood in some form, many brewed specifically for this event.

As always it’s taking place at the Des Chutes Historical Museum, and is featuring some 23 breweries pouring something like 38 beers (I posted a handy list here), not to mention the whiskey tasting that will be taking place inside the museum throughout the event.

If you can go, I’d highly recommend it. It will cost $10 for the basic entry fee, which gets you in plus a commemorative glass. $20 gets you that plus 10 tasting tokens, which are worth $1 apiece. Remember, though, that beers (and whiskeys) always cost multiple tokens—last year, they ranged from 2 to 6 tokens in price.

But it’s definitely worth it, you’ll be tasting some unique beers you won’t find anywhere else, and the Museum is a great setting. Don’t miss out!