plant places

Red Ridge Farms

Yes, there are olives in the Willamette Valley!

By Kate Bryant April 26, 2011

While tooling around Dundee area wineries with out-of-town guests the other day, I passed signs for a plant nursery. What? A nursery I don’t already know about? This little number was nestled amidst a group of Dundee-area wineries including Domaine Drouhin (which is where we were heading for a tipple)… all just a hop, skip and a jump above the main drag of 99-W.


We were returning from the beach and sorely in need of a drink so we passed by the lovely-looking herb gardens and greenhouses peeking out from behind a hedge of trees. But made quick work of our drinking and headed back to the plant nursery: a plant gal’s got priorities, you know!


Red Ridge Farms in Dayton, just above Dundee, is an olive and wine grape farm, plant nursery, olive oil and vinegar tasting room, and garden shop, with overnight accommodations as well.


If I had to describe the place in one, hyphenated word, starting with "m," I would call it "many-faceted" – there are olive oils, vinegars, wines, specialty foods, herbal toiletries and gifts, and gardening-related items like tools, statuary, terrariums, wreathes and all variety of plants in the shop. In fact, it almost reminds me of the old Smith & Hawken shop in Northwest but with a bit more in the way of herbal products and toiletries, and sadly, no English gum boots. But there are some covetable items and I bought a well-priced bottle of Arbequina olive oil, which I’ve been enjoying.


The outdoor plant nursery offers ornamental perennials, shrubs, annual flowers and particularly herbs (some 300 types), as well as (of course) olive trees; a diversity of pots in the pottery area (they import pottery from Vietnam under the name Stoneycrest Imports); and various types of garden art. And I was pleasantly surprised that the prices were not "wine country" prices, either!


There were some tempting plants in the nursery, including both garden stalwarts like pansies and old-fashioned perennials, as well as some unusual southern hemisphere plants like Callistemon and a few species of Prostanthera, which isn’t reliably hardy every year but one can always hope, can’t one? Quite a few of their plants are grown on site, which is nice, and their home-grown stock looked hale and hearty.


Neatest of all is that they are among Oregon’s first olive farms. Not only do they sell cold-hardy olive trees, they are themselves farming over 11,000 Arbequina, Arbosana and Koroneiki olive trees on over 15 acres of Yamhill County. These varieties are cold hardy to 10 F and have proven adaptable to local region’s soil and climate. (Olives also make lovely landscape plants, whether grown as trees or as shrubs.) Their tasting room offers side-by-side tasting of the oils, and while they are still supplementing the local oils with the same varieties from California until their trees are producing enough, it’s still exciting to know that we are producing olives in Oregon!

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Red Ridge Farms
5510 NE Breyman Orchards Road
Dayton, Oregon 97114
phone: 503-864-8502
email: [email protected]
Nursery Hours: Wednesday – Sunday: 9 am to 5 pm, Monday + Tuesday by appointment.

They prepare picnic lunches for you if you call ahead (might be a nice idea if you’re touring that area of wine country).

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