ALBANY, Ore. — Summer is here and as pandemic restrictions lift, business owners throughout Oregon are hoping people continue to support local. Enter the Mid-Willamette Valley Food Trail, which is aimed at helping people eat and drink their way through the Mid-Willamette Valley.
In Albany, Chef Matt Bennett is passionate about food.
“Cooking has been exactly what I wanted to do since I was 12,” said Bennett.
He co-owns Sybaris Bistro in downtown Albany with his wife, Janel.
“We change our menu completely every month. It just depends on what our local farmers have,” Bennett said.
Their restaurant is one of the dozens of local eateries, farms, wineries, breweries and other businesses on the Mid-Willamette Valley Food Trail, a self-guided tour through Linn and Benton counties promoting local stuff to do and eat.
“What I’m hoping is somebody that’s not familiar with all the goodies we’ve got in the valley discovers something that they had no idea we had,” said Bennett.
About a five-minute drive away is Bryant Family Farm, which is also on the Mid-Willamette Valley Food Trail.
“We’re a small family-owned blueberry farm. We have 19 varieties of blueberries, over 500 plants on 2.5 acres,” said Michel Bryant who owns the farm.
During the pandemic, Bryant said they saw a dip in visitors. But now as restrictions lift, people seem to be more comfortable coming out.
“There’s just so much in your neighborhood that I think people aren’t aware of that we hope to promote that and keep our dollars close to home,” Bryant said.
She hopes the food trail gives people an opportunity to take part in and learn more about the delicious food available to them in the Mid-Willamette Valley.