Explore the Marion Farm Loop in Willamette Valley

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While Oregon's Willamette Valley is famed for its wines, the other bounty of the fertile valley beckons. Experience the Willamette Valley with a scenic and tasty drive along the Marion Farm Loop.

There are many ways to experience Oregon’s Willamette Valley; one is to take a few days and peruse the Marion Farm Loop. This self-guided loop features 24 farm stops showcasing various fruits, several exciting wineries, the Flying Bee Ranch, The Oregon Garden, and the Oregon Garden Resort. Here are the things you must see along Oregon's Marion Farm Loop.

Oregon Garden on the Marion Farm Loop

A Waterfall in The Oregon Garden. Photo by Tracy Ellen Beard



Willamette Valley Farm Loops

The Willamette Valley boasts four farm loops within a 15- to 45-minute drive of Portland, Oregon. Each loop explores 15 to 20 different farms, numerous farm products, and many activities, including wine tasting, festivals, farm stands with fresh ripe produce, and gorgeous flowers available for purchase.

The Marion Farm Loop.

Marion Farm Loop sign. Photo by Tracy Ellen Beard


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The Marion Farm Loop

The farmers along the Marion Farm Loop, located just minutes from Salem, are thrilled to share their experiences with inquiring minds. Each farm remains open for different seasons, so check the websites before venturing out. During the fall, you can hunt down the perfect pumpkin, and in the summer, plenty of fruit is available for snacking, freezing, or canning for another day. Wineries are open all year, so you can always find a place to enjoy wine tasting.

Scenic Valley Farm Pears on the Marion Farm Loop.

Pears from Scenic Valley Farms. Photo courtesy of Scenic Valley Farms



I traversed the Marion Farm Loop in the springtime. I stopped at five fantastic places: Flying Bee Ranch, Scenic Valley Farms, Willamette Valley Vineyards, The Oregon Garden, and Oregon Garden Resort.

Flying Bee Ranch on the Marion Farm Loop

Jeremy Mitchell and Delsey Maus stand at the forefront of family-owned Flying Bee Ranch. The family has owned and operated the business since 1999. They offer more than 20 unique, local, raw kinds of honey, beekeeping supplies, and classes about apiculture—the rearing and breeding of honeybees. You will find the ranch in Salem.

Flying Bee Ranch on the Marion Farm Loop.

Flying Bee Ranch on the Marion Farm Loop. Photo courtesy of Flying Bee Ranch

On my visit, I learned about bees and beekeeping. Delsey explained how the hives are built and managed by the bees, and she demonstrated what life is like in the hive using a small plastic hive that separates into pieces. Delsey explained the queen’s purpose is to lay eggs and to produce chemical scents that unite the colony. She also told me that the drones, or male honey bees, are only around to mate with the queen; they cannot survive independently and depend entirely on the female honey bees to collect nectar and provide food for the hive. Female honey bees, or worker bees, do everything but reproduce. The worker bees care for the queen, collect nectar, make honey, act as scouts, and guard the hive.

Flying Bee Ranch on the Marion Farm Loop.

Bee hives at Flying Bee Ranch. Photo courtesy of Flying Bee Ranch

Flying Bee Ranch Helps Pollinate Farms on the Marion Farm Loop

Flying Bee Ranch farms out tons of bees. Jeremy said, “We provide bees for pollination for many local farms. We produce local honey for local people. Not long after we began working at Flying Bee Ranch, we joined Travel Salem and Travel Oregon. After joining, I realized that there is a much bigger market for honey outside of just the local Salemites. Locals are our biggest market, but many tourists come through looking for things to do for the day. We started connecting with travel groups and the farm trail, which has paid great dividends.”

Flying Bee Ranch on the Marion Farm Loop.

Bee supplies at Flying Bee Ranch. Photo by Tracy Ellen Beard

I tasted most of the varietals; my favorites were blackberry, meadowfoam, and orange blossom. I didn’t care for the buckwheat flavor. Be sure to try the different honey flavors when you visit. Tastings and educational information are free to visitors, and the ranch is open all year.

Scenic Valley Farms

The Zielinski family owns and operates Scenic Valley Farms, a multi-generational family farm, vineyard, and winery in Gervais.

Hops at Scenic Valley Farms on the Marion Farm Loop.

Scenic Valley Farms Hops. Photo courtesy of Scenic Valley Farms

The grapes used for wine at Scenic Valley are from the estate vineyards initially planted by Bob Zielinski in 2008. Tastings for the delicious wines take place in the spacious tasting room adorned with Bob’s collection of antique tractors. The farm also grows pears, hazelnuts, clover, wheat, grass seeds, garlic, and hops.

Filberts from Scenic Valley Ranch on the Marion Farm Loop.

Scenic Valley Farms filberts. Photo courtesy of Scenic Valley Farms

Brian Zielinski manages the day-to-day operations, and his sister Tina Millican handles the business end of things. Their parents have five children and began operating the farm in 1970. All the children played a part in the farms’ success over the years, but Brian and Tina currently run the business.

A combine in the field on the Marion Farm Loop.

A combine at Scenic Valley Ranch. Photo courtesy of Scenic Valley Ranch

Delicious and Unique Wine at Scenic Valley Ranch

During my visit to the farm, Winemaker Gabriel Jagle explained, “We make about a dozen wines each year, but we have five core wines: rosé, pinot gris, pinot noir, chardonnay, and grüner veltliner. The family gives me free rein. As long as I get those right, I can experiment with other wines.”

This freedom to experiment allowed Gabriel to make a unique wine, his 2021 Estate Hop Chardonnay. Yes, you guessed it, beer and chardonnay in one. All the wines at Scenic Valley Farms are tasty, but this one surprised me the most because I liked it, and I am not a big beer fan.

Scenic Valley Farms on the Marion Farm Loop.

A bottle of 2021 Estate Hop Chardonnay from Scenic Valley Farms. Photo by Tracy Ellen Beard

Gabriel learned about winemaking from some of the best in the area: Brad Ford, Russ Raney, and Barney Watson. Gabriel uses all hand-picked fruit, ferments it in small lots, and uses both house and wild yeasts.

Wines from Scenic Valley Farms on the Marion Farm Loop.

Scenic Valley Farms wines. Photo courtesy of Scenic Valley Farms

Willamette Valley Vineyards

You can experience Willamette Valley Vineyard wines in various places around Oregon. My favorite, which happens to be on the Marion Farm Loop, is the Estate Tasting Room in Turner.

Wine at Willamette Valley Vineyard. Photo by Tracy Ellen Beard

Wine at Willamette Valley Vineyard. Photo by Tracy Ellen Beard

The winery is sensational, offering numerous places to taste excellent wines indoors and outside. The views from the hillside are spectacular, and you can choose to purchase snacks or a tasty lunch. However, I love to bring a picnic lunch and enjoy it with one of their lush red or bright white wines. I like to spend an entire afternoon stretching out on the lawn and sitting at one of their picnic tables. The tasting room/restaurant features an inviting circular firepit, perfect for enjoying wine on Oregon’s notoriously rainy days.

Willamette Valley Vineyards on the Marion Farm Loop.

Stunning views at Willamette Valley Vineyards. Photo by Tracy Ellen Beard

The Oregon Garden

The Oregon Garden in Silverton, Oregon, is roughly 120 acres, with 80 acres developed into themed gardens. I began my visit with a 30-minute tram tour. I love tours because you can get your bearings and determine areas you would like to revisit and where you want to spend most of your time. The tour guide gave me a fantastic overview of the entire botanical garden. My favorite themed gardens were the A-Mazing Water Garden, the Bosque Garden, and the Home Demonstration Garden.

Statues in The Oregon Garden on the Marion Farm Loop.

Statues in The Oregon Garden. Photo by Tracy Ellen Beard

The A-Mazing Water Garden boasts nine different water features, including a circular water garden with a decorative bridge, a “raining” water wall, and paths that zigzag throughout the park.

The Oregon Garden on the Marion Farm Loop.

The A-Mazing Garden at The Oregon Garden. Photo by Tracy Ellen Beard

The Bosque Garden is a large central plaza with 40 planter boxes, each containing a single Pacific Sunset Maple tree and four brick reflecting ponds. The maples come alive in the spring with shiny green leaves that remain through the summer and then change into radiant shades of orange, red, and yellow in the fall.

Bosque Garden on the Marion Farm Loop.

The Bosque Garden in The Oregon Garden. Photo by Tracy Ellen Beard

The Home Demonstration Garden is a succession of smaller gardens built to inspire home gardeners. The small gardens are structured to demonstrate a different component of garden design. I learned about creating distinctive garden spaces, building water gardens, and what to plant to get different colors throughout the year.

Flowers in The Oregon Garden on the Marion Farm Loop.

Flowers in The Oregon Garden on the Marion Farm Loop. Photo by Tracy Ellen Beard

Oregon Garden Resort

With so much to see and do along the Marion Farm Loop, I spent a night at the Oregon Garden Resort next to The Oregon Garden in Silverton. The resort has 103 well-appointed rooms, an outdoor swimming pool, a hot tub, the Moonstruck Spa, and the Garden View Restaurant. Staying at the resort was a delightful way to relax while discovering the Marion Farm Loop.

Oregon Garden Resort on the Marion Farm Loop.

The Oregon Garden Resort. Photo courtesy of the Oregon Garden Resort

Articles Related to the Marion Farm Loop

Plan a Trip to Explore the Marion Farm Loop

Fall is coming soon, and it is a fabulous time to visit the Marion Farm Loop. Stop by and check out Bob’s famous tractor collection and sample some of the local wines. Enjoy the fall colors, pick up some delicious fruit along the way, and spend time meandering The Oregon Gardens.

While Oregon's Willamette Valley is famed for its wines, the other bounty of the fertile valley beckons. Experience the Willamette Valley with a scenic and tasty drive along the Marion Farm Loop.

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Explore the Marion Farm Loop in Willamette Valley



Written by Tracy Ellen Beard

Tracy Ellen Beard, Wander With Wonder Senior Editor, is a freelance writer, editor, and photographer based in Longview, Washington. She is an avid traveler, wine connoisseur, foodie, hiker, cyclist, and kayaker. Tracy is the “Out and About” columnist for the Columbia River Reader and writes monthly for Upscale Living Magazine. She also contributes regularly to LuxeGetaways, Northwest Travel & Life, Country, Country Extra, and several other magazines. Her stories focus on luxury and adventure travel, fine dining, wine, libations, road trips, and recipes. Tracy shares a unique perspective on the world from her personal journeys and the excursions she took as the founder and past president of an international children’s nonprofit. Her twenty years of experience writing in various genres, and her culinary training in San Francisco, California, have added to her knowledge and expertise.

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