Celebrate fresh and locally grown – Albany Farmers’ Market

If battling crowded indoor grocery stores has you feeling down, here’s some good news: The Albany Farmers’ Market has been deemed as an essential service provider and will open on Saturday, April 18, However, be prepared for a few important operational changes, focused on keeping everyone healthy.

Location and facilities

Photo of woman with vegetables.In Albany, the Farmers’ Market is in the City Hall parking lot at 4th and Ellsworth and an adjacent slice of 4th Avenue. Portable restrooms will replace access to City Hall restrooms, since public buildings are closed.

Market shoppers can use features on www.locallygrown.org to search for particular vendors and view interactive maps showing the approximate location of vendors on each market day.

Hours for the Albany Farmers’ Market are 9 am to 1 pm.

How temporary safeguards will affect your market experience

Any activities that might tempt people to linger or stand closer than six feet apart have been suspended temporarily. This includes the normal musical or children’s entertainment. These measures will stay in place until the Governor’s Office institutes new action.

Open air and wide aisles are two factors that local farmers’ markets have going in their favor. But the market and our farmers and producers need full cooperation from customers to stay open and keep our community safe.

Market temporary dos and don’ts

Please follow the advice of the market’s organizers:

  • Stay home if you feel the least bit unwell or have been near anyone who might have been exposed or who exhibits symptoms
  • Wash your hands frequently – before coming to the market
  • One shopper per household. Shop for others who should not go out
  • Shop with your eyes and buy what you touch
  • Shop for what you need, but don’t linger. This is difficult because farmers’ markets are such social places and we are drawn to chatting with our producers. But now is the time to keep your neighbor safe.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from other shoppers
  • No eating at market. Order your food to go, do not eat your veggies or fruit while walking around.
  • Thoroughly wash all produce and fruit when you get home. Clean any packages or transfer to your own containers for storage.

 

Other ways to get local food and support local businesses

Locally Grown’s web page has a new tab with a list of farms and other vendors who are doing online sales, delivery or pickup options. The purpose is to help local small farms and anyone who is not able to attend farmers’ markets. At the same time, the Albany and Corvallis Farmers’ Markets are collaborating on a statewide effort to adopt an online pre-order system with delivery at farmers’ market sites. The aim is to speed transaction times. In person sales will still take place.

SNAP and Double Up Food Bucks

Corvallis-Albany Farmers’ Markets (CAFM) and the smaller area farmers’ markets in Linn and Benton counties always redeem SNAP benefits (commonly called food stamps) on customers’ Oregon Trail cards. Matching programs, which potentially double the amount that SNAP customers spend on fresh and local foods, go a step further by helping families stretch their food dollars. CAFM will return to using Double Up Food Bucks vouchers. Even dollar amounts are matched. Normally the match is capped at $10 per market day. Through April, all Double Up markets are matching SNAP purchases up to $20.

Other nutrition programs

Another program that increases access to high-quality foods among low-income households is the Farm Direct Nutrition program, which includes both young families (WIC or Women, Infants and Children) and seniors. Gleaning groups also collect perishable produce from vendors and distribute to others in need.

Welcome back to all

We really hope that as we move forward with ways to shop fresh and local that you will consider shopping at our wonderful outdoor market in Downtown Albany. We will be back stronger than ever and look forward to celebrating with the vendors.

*Image of carrots and Camron Ridge Farmstand from our 2020 AVA Photo contest.

Celebrating the celebrated – the gift of Oregon truffles

Photo of the interior of Sybaris Bistro and patrons enjoying dinner in Albany Oregon

What is the perfect holiday present for a foodie friend? We suggest a gift certificate to one of our celebrated restaurants where Oregon truffles and Willamette Valley wine and spirits intersect. At Sybaris Bistro, Chef Matt Bennett creates dishes worthy of the James Beard House. So don’t journey afar to dine on sublime — visit Albany and celebrate the rest of the season in January and February.

Once your friends (and hopefully you) receive their gift certificates, stay tuned for 2020’s Oregon truffle bounty at Sybaris. Telephone 541-928-8157 to secure a gift certificate.

You can read about their 2019 Oregon Truffle Feast in the blog-post below.

Historical appreciation

What do wild Oregon-grown truffles have in common with James Beard and Albany, Oregon? Quite a bit as it turns out—and the 2019 Oregon Truffle Feast at Sybaris Bistro illustrates the connection perfectly.

Photo showing food from the kitchen being placed onto the hot plate for wait staff at Sybaris Bistro in Albany OregonMaster chef James Beard was a writer, teacher, and champion of American cuisine. Born in Portland, Oregon, Beard was a big fan of Oregon’s truffles, that at times were dismissed by European chefs as “false truffles.”

Beard was still a young cook when he established his home and career in New York City. He authored cookbooks, became a television cooking show personality, and opened a cooking school in Manhattan (as well as Seaside, Oregon). In the 1950s he was dubbed “… the face and belly of American gastronomy,” as noted by David Kamp in The United States of Arugula.

Beard’s legacy for cooking with fresh local and seasonal ingredients was handed down to many a talented chef after he passed away in 1985. His personal home in New York City became part of a working foundation that showcases talented chefs and regional American cooking.

To cook at James Beard House is an honor for chefs—and Sybaris Bistro’s owner, Matt Bennett, is no exception.

An Oregon Truffle Feast

Chef Bennett was invited for his third appearance at Beard House this past January, where he served his unique interpretation of Pacific Northwest Cuisine—building a seven course menu featuring wild Oregon truffles.

In preparation for the New York dinner, Bennett and his team prepared and hosted two Albany, Oregon-based suppers to coincide with Oregon’s Truffle Festival. Both dinners were sold out almost as soon as they were announced.

Menus for the Albany and James Beard House dinners were similar with minor variations. They both featured a series of gastronomical delights such as hazelnut foie gras with black truffle, black truffle miso marinated black cod, double white truffle pheasant breast with truffle buttered cabbage, and the pièce de résistance: a black truffle pot de creme with hazelnut oil gelato and truffle and hazelnut streusel.

All ingredients, including wine pairings, were sourced by Bennett, his wife Janel and the Sybaris staff. They were transported by the bistro team in coolers shipped in place of personal luggage. Carefully watched over and guarded, the truffles, black cod, pheasant, Dungeness crab and Oregon-grown vegetables safely arrived in New York.

A local culinary genius

Photo of plates of truffle infused menu items sitting on the hot plate at Sybaris Bistro in Albany OregonAVA was lucky enough to have a seat at Sybaris’ truffle feast. Chef Bennett regaled diners with tales about Oregon truffles, the reasons behind the menu he created, and a bit about James Beard’s gastronomical history and the famous house where his truffle feast was to be featured.

We delighted not only in Sybaris’ ambience, with its enormous fireplace and cozy crackling fire, exposed brick walls, plank tables, starched napkins and stellar tableside service, but in chef’s creativity and delicious sense of humor.

A sometimes overlooked ingredient (pig’s foot!) was used to construct a sausage-like croquette with wild mushrooms and white truffle verjus. Bennett’s unusual selection was a bit of tongue in cheek homage to the French method that utilizes pigs to harvest truffles. Bennett is well known for his dishes that are metaphors for their inspiration as well as their roots.

Photo of the interior of Sybaris Bistro in Albany OregonSybaris Bistro’s dinner menus change monthly, featuring locally sourced fresh ingredients in season. It’s no wonder Bennett captured the attention of the James Beard Foundation—he warm-heartedly embraces the core Beard value to cook with what is available within reach.

If you want to experience Sybaris in a Beard-like manner, stay tuned to their Facebook and website. Bennett and his culinary team create special themed dinners to celebrate holidays with limited dining events such as “A Dickens Dinner” or Valentines Day. These menus typically feature multiple courses with additional wine pairings. They’re a great way to jump into Bennett’s “style de cuisine” and either celebrate the end to an extended weekend or start one out.

Whatever draws you to Albany, a visit to Sybaris Bistro in 2020 should definitely be part of your travel itinerary.

*Blog content copyright 2019 by AVA, written by Maddie MacGregor. All photos (except for Chef Bennett profile), by AO Films.

What to know if you go

Photo of two women drinking wine and laughing at Sybaris Bistro in Albany OregonAlthough not required for regular dinner service, reservations are advised. Sybaris is enormously popular with the locals as much as with culinary travelers. Specially themed dinner events almost always sell out ahead of time, so make those reservations early.

Sybaris is located at 442 First Ave W, in Albany, Oregon. The bistro is closed Sundays and Mondays, and open from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Telephone 541-928-8157 for reservations or to purchase a gift certificate. Check out the monthly menus (gluten-free included) on their website at https://sybarisbistro.com.

Open Season – Albany Farmers’ Market

In 2019, the Albany Farmers’ Market enters its 42nd season. This delicious Albany tradition is Oregon’s longest continuously operating outdoor farmers’ market. Opening day’s musical forecast includes guitar licks by David Rogers.

Photo of brightly colored bell peppers spilling out of a rattan basket at the Oregon Albany Farmers' MarketSince this is the Year of the Pig in Chinese tradition, the market sought local pork producers. Three Linn County pork ranchers will now showcase their product to eager shoppers. Participating farms are Anchor Ranch, Gap Road Meat Company, and PK Pastures. Other producers sell a selection of locally-grown chicken, beef, and lamb.

Krakelen, another new vendor, will sell their made-on-the-spot wood-fired pizzas topped with many locally sourced ingredients.

Since the market requires that its products must be local and farm direct, the size of the farmers’ market expands and contracts over the outdoor market season. Some farmers grow inside large greenhouses called high tunnels that keep the soil a little drier and warmer, allowing them to bring vegetables a bit earlier in the season. Not all market vendors have access to this method,  which is one reason why you might see see what you are looking for one week, but not another.

The Albany season begins with fewer than 20 vendors, depending on weather earlier in the year. As hot weather crops develop, the vendor count builds to about 30. Albany’s market is open for a 32-week long season. Early season offerings feature spring raab and many other greens, potatoes and other storage vegetables, radishes, fresh turnips, carrots, rhubarb, preserved foods, honey, eggs, meat, poultry, and cheese plus nursery plants and cut flowers. On the other extreme, the last market in November will feature much of what will be on Thanksgiving tables the next day.

Power of Produce Kids’ Club in Albany

Graphic image showing a big illustration of a carrot and advertising the PoP Club for kidsThe Albany Farmers’ Market and its community partners are supporting a 12-week “Power of Produce Club” (PoP) June 15th through August 31st. Children aged five through 12 will receive $4 in market tokens to spend each time they attend the market during the program dates. Club members can attend activities produced with support from community partners like the Albany YMCA and Linn County Master Gardeners.

The PoP Club is funded with local small business sponsorships and larger grants, including one from the Siletz Tribal Charitable Contribution Fund, which has supported anti-hunger efforts in Linn and Benton County for many years.  The Albany Elks Lodge #359, which is seeking to renew its national grant supporting PoP in Albany, will assist with cooking and planting activities.

Albany’s club is modeled after the Oregon City Farmers Market PoP Club, and has spread to other farmers’ markets across the country. 

What to know if you go

The Albany Farmers’ Market is open on Saturdays, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m, April to November. Located in the City Hall parking lot at 4th and Ellsworth Streets, it is within walking distance of historic downtown and unique shopping and dining experiences. And while at the market, fresh baked cookies, muffins, pies, pastries, and hot or iced beverages are available for a grazing brunch.

Don’t forget to check out other great events on our website at https://albanyvisitors.com/calendar-of-events/calendar/

An Oregon truffle feast

A festival of intersecting food trails

What do wild Oregon grown and harvested truffles have in common with James Beard and Albany, Oregon? Quite a bit as it turns out—and the recent Oregon Truffle Feast at Sybaris Bistro illustrates the connection perfectly.

Image of a pair of man's hands with dirt on them holding out a handful of Oregon wild trufflesMaster cook James Beard was a writer, teacher, and champion of American cuisine. Born in Portland, Oregon, Beard was a big fan of Oregon’s truffles that at times, are dismissed by European chefs as “false truffles.” 

Beard was still a young cook when he established his home and career in New York City. He authored cookbooks, became a television cooking show personality, and opened a cooking school in Manhattan (as well as Seaside, Oregon). In the 1950s he was dubbed “… the face and belly of American gastronomy,” as noted by David Kamp in the book The United States of Arugula.

Beard’s legacy for cooking with fresh local and seasonal ingredients was handed down to many a talented chef after he passed away in 1985. His personal home in New York City became part of a working foundation that showcases talented chefs and regional American cooking. 

To cook at James Beard House is an honor for chefs—and Sybaris Bistro’s owner, Matt Bennett, is no exception.

An Oregon Truffle Feast

Chef Bennett was invited for his third appearance at Beard House this January, where he served his unique interpretation of Pacific Northwest Cuisine—building a seven course menu featuring wild Oregon truffles.

In preparation for the New York dinner, Bennett and his team prepared and hosted two Albany, Oregon-based suppers to coincide with Oregon’s Truffle Festival. Both dinners were sold out almost as soon as they were announced.

Menus for the Albany and James Beard House dinners were similar with minor variations. They both featured a series of gastronomical delights such as hazelnut foie gras with black truffle, black truffle miso marinated black cod, double white truffle pheasant breast with truffle buttered cabbage, and the pièce de résistance: a black truffle pot de creme with hazelnut oil gelato and truffle and hazelnut streusel. 

All ingredients, including wine pairings, were sourced by Bennett, his wife Janel and staff. They were transported by the Sybaris team in a series of coolers shipped in place of personal luggage. Carefully watched over and guarded, the truffles, black cod, pheasant, Dungeness crab, and Oregon grown vegetables safely arrived in New York.

A local culinary genius

AVA was lucky enough to have a seat at Sybaris’ truffle feast. Chef Bennett regaled diners with tales about Oregon truffles, the reasons behind the menu he created, and a bit about James Beard’s gastronomical history and the famous house where his truffle feast will be served.

We delighted not only in Sybaris’ ambience, with its enormous fireplace and cozy crackling fire, exposed brick walls, plank tables, starched napkins and stellar tableside service, but in chef’s creativity and delicious sense of humor.

A sometimes overlooked ingredient (pig’s foot!) was used to construct a sausage-like croquette with wild mushrooms and white truffle verjus. Bennett’s unusual selection was a tongue and cheek homage to the French method that utilizes pigs to harvest truffles. Bennett is known for playing with ingredients and creating dishes that are metaphors for their inspiration. 

Sybaris Bistro’s dinner menus change monthly, featuring locally sourced fresh ingredients in season. It’s no wonder Bennett captured the attention of the James Beard Foundation—he warm-heartedly embraces the core Beard value to cook with what is available within reach. 

If you want to experience Sybaris in a Beard-like manner, stay tuned to their Facebook and website. Bennett and his culinary team create special themed dinners to celebrate holidays with limited dining events such as “A Dickens Dinner” or Valentines Day. These menus typically feature multiple courses with additional wine pairings. They’re a great way to jump into Bennett’s “style de cuisine” and either celebrate the end to an extended weekend or start one out.

Whatever draws you to Albany, a visit to Sybaris Bistro should definitely be part of your travel itinerary.

*Blog content copyright 2019 by AVA, written by Maddie MacGregor

What to know if you go

Although not required for regular dinner service, reservations are advised. Sybaris is enormously popular with the locals as much as with culinary travelers. Specially themed dinner events almost always sell out ahead of time, so reserve early for holidays or farm-to-table or Thanksgiving benefits. 

Sybaris is located at 442 First Ave W, in Albany, Oregon. The bistro is closed Sundays and Mondays, and open from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Telephone 541-928-8157 for reservations. Check out the monthly menus (gluten-free included) on their website at https://sybarisbistro.com

History, Holidays, and Horses

Image of large draft horses hitched to wagon and wearing Christmas harnesses in front of the Monteith House Museum in Albany, Oregon. A sunset shines pink behind the silhouette of trees.

Are you a romantic soul yearning for a Victorian Christmas? If so, you really need to know about the Albany Annual Christmas Parlour Tour of Historic Homes and Buildings. Coming up on Sunday, December 9, 2018, from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., the 39th annual tour will feature beautifully decorated historic houses, museums, churches, historic library, and a downtown loft. This is one of only two tours offered per year that include interiors of historic homes.

(*Win tickets to this event; see below in the “Win free tickets” section!)

Father Christmas will be out with an enormous bag of treats and the Monteith House and Museum will be lit by oil lamp and fire-light, warming your spirit.

Chafin Farms’ beautiful draft horses will merrily transport you around the historic districts with sleigh bells jingling, and the antique trolley will transport you back to a different era. Tour participants will be encouraged to ring the church bell at Whitespires Church and the fireplace will be crackling at the Carnegie Library.

While the tour is considered “self-guided,” you can ride either the trolley or the horse and wagon around to each stop (this is included in the ticket price) or drive your own car, trek by bike or two legs, or any other mode of alternative transportation. A map will be provided the day of the tour.

This jolly holiday event includes refreshments and loads of happiness, all for the ticket price of $15. Tickets can be purchased ahead of the tour online or the day of the tour, at Albany Visitors Association. 

Win free tickets

We will be giving away three pairs of tickets ($30 value) to the tour! Simply subscribe to our monthly events e-newsletter between November 20th and December 1st to be entered in the drawing. Current subscribers are included. We will contact winners on December 4th.

A Dickens Christmas Dinner Benefit at Sybaris

An antique engraving with hand-colored pencil depicting a scene from the Charles Dickens novel "A Christmas Carol"After the Parlour Tour, you have an opportunity to attend an absolutely divine benefit supper. Sybaris Bistro will host a “historic” dinner at their restaurant on December 9th at 5:00 p.m. This dinner is the fourth “Let Kids be Kids,” event, and will raise funds for local underprivileged children to ride the Albany Historic Carousel.  

The menu includes chilled pheasant pie with wassail jelly, goose “ham,” pease porridge, mock turtle soup, smoked trout kedgeree, roasted pork loin with sugar plum gravy, roasted potatoes, plum pudding with hard sauce, real English Stilton, fruits and nuts, and oat biscuits.

The cost is $50 per person, $75 with wine pairing; gratuity not included.  Please, don’t be a Scrooge, raise your glasses for kids who need passes! Telephone Sybaris for the all important reservation: 541-928-8157.

2018 Albany Farm to Table Benefit

AVA sends out gratitude to Sybaris Restaurant and Springhill Cellars Winery for their gorgeous Farm to Table dinner along Albany’s historic 9th Street Canal. This beautiful evening was a benefit for the Albany Regional Museum, who provides educational and historical presentations, collections, and exhibits for free to the public. We hope you enjoy the slideshow and stay tuned to AVA for the 2019 farm-to-table dinners! (*Images provided by Knoher Photos and Katie Knower.)

 

Albany Farm to Table Dinners – 2018 Series

The first of Albany’s 2018 Farm to Table Dinners takes place on Sunday, August 19th. Dine al fresco along a shaded historic waterway—the Albany 8th Street Canal.

Feast on delectable creations by Chef Matt Bennett of Sybaris Bistro and sip locally-grown and crafted Springhill Cellars Winery selections. The menu is based on Cajun Creole cuisine inspired by Chef Bennett’s recent trip to New Orleans.

Seating at the dinner is limited and we encourage you to purchase your tickets early for what will no doubt, be a sold-out event. Dinner proceeds will benefit the Albany Regional Museum and enable them to continue to offer free admission to all visitors.

Tickets

Purchase your tickets online with the Albany Regional Museum.

 

 

Albany wins travel destination award

Congratulations are in order to our fair city! Albany was included in Northwest Travel & Life magazine’s “52 Getaways” issue in January 2018, and has been named one of the publication’s 2018 Top Travel Picks.

Albany Visitors Association contributed to content developed for the feature article, and Albany businesses are highlighted, including The Pix Theater, Sybaris Bistro, and the Albany Historic Carousel & Museum.

Read the article “Dreamers and Doers” in NW Travel & Life’s ’52 Getaways for 2018.’

 

 

September Featured AVA Photographer

A huge shoutout to Mike Krutsinger of MKrutsinger Photography. Mike is our featured AVA photographer for September, and is volunteering with AVA to help give back to his community. His feature gallery reflects Albany Visitors Association’s summer Linn-Benton Farm-to-Table dinner that was held at Weddle Covered Bridge. It will give you a hint of what’s in store for next season!

*If you would like to contact Mike Krutsinger in regards to his commercial photography services, please email us.

Gallery

Click on any of the images to see better, You can exit the gallery at any time by pressing the escape key.

When ordinary coffee won’t do

Uni6

Organic coffee beans at Universal

I don’t know about you, but coffee is the highlight of my mornings and afternoons. Granted, I may be more fortunate than most caffeine lovers—I’m married to a man who orders green beans from small farms around the world and roasts them over flames in a popcorn popper.

Although living with a coffee alchemist is magical, when I’m out with family and friends I often usher them over to the closest Starbucks for a cappuccino. And even though we have many charming spots in Albany that specialize in espresso drinks, what I’m looking for is a dedicated coffee experience.

Uni2

A shady spot to sip coffee

Much like Oregon vintners use their knowledge to craft a perfect wine, coffee tasting (and making) is a fine art. In my quest to share my passion for coffee with Albany’s visitors, I discovered Universal Coffee on Santiam Rd.

Although Universal is tucked away from our city’s main thoroughfares, it is a jewel in the coffee crown. As I pulled up in front of the shop, it was obvious that adventurous spirits are welcome here.  A quirky bicycle and cart decorated with coffee sacks serves as a landmark, while enormous umbrellas shade those who appreciate sipping al fresco.

Uni5

A colorful explosion of art

The interior of the shop is an explosion of vibrant Latin art, complete with a corner devoted to musical instruments and plenty of space for groups or individuals to settle in for a leisurely coffee break.

I visited with barista Juan Ruiz, who has worked alongside Universal’s owner, Alexander Contreras, for the last two years.

“We are all about educating people on what coffee tastes like,” says Ruiz, as he lets me smell the beans he will craft my Americano with. “Most people think there has to be sugar or lots of dairy in their coffee, but then they cannot taste the differences in the varieties.”

Professional Barista Juan Ruiz

Professional Barista Juan Ruiz

As Ruiz busied himself grinding the beans, I asked him about their source. He explains that most are “single origin,” a term often associated with one specific family farm or geographical region. And each day at the shop, a new bean is featured. This means if you are serious coffee aficionado your taste buds will never be bored. In addition, all beans used at Universal are organic.

Today’s variety is sourced from Ecuador, from the family farm ‘Nossa Familia.’ The resulting brew? Citrusy notes mellowed with hints of chocolate that kept it from being too sour. It was smooth and mellow, not burnt or over-roasted.

Traditional Aztec drinks

Traditional Aztec drinks

Ruiz shows me a full rack of dairy alternatives, including soy, coconut, and almond milks. “We have a full range of non-dairy ingredients that we can use to make lattes and other drinks with,” he tells me.

In addition to unbelievably delicious coffee—Universal specializes in a Latin American historic concoction known as Champurrado—once the sacred drink of the Aztecs, made with corn and cacoa beans. Universal infuses their modern version of this ancient beverage using cinnamon, white or dark chocolate, corn flour, brown sugar, coffee, milk and other options. It is served in a special vessel.

Other specialties of the house include organic coffee ice-cream drinks, apple pie (made by a local baker), and tasty Latin American treats. Ruiz mentions that the shop is now sourcing a local baker to provide gluten-free goodies so that everyone can enjoy a delicacy along with their organic coffee.

The shop's landmark

The shop’s landmark

If you haven’t yet tried Universal Coffee, enliven your local coffee experience by visiting Alex and Juan soon. It’s an opportunity to learn more about how coffee is produced, how single origin defines flavor, and the art of tasting the brew’s true identity. One sip will ensure that even the most discerning coffee critic in your group sits up with delight.

Information for when you go
Universal Coffee is located within the Carriage House Plaza at 1157 SE Santiam Rd, Albany, OR, 97321. Hours: Mon, Tues, Fri, Sat: 7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Wed and Thurs: 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Closed on Sundays. Telephone 541-981-2126. Website: http://universalcoffee.co

The AVA lobby is open by calling or knocking 9:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. (Closed July 3, 2020 to honor Independence Day). For information regarding COVID-19 or to reach us click here.See updates for AVA, Albany businesses, and local events →
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