Eastern Oregon's wide open spaces and fresh air are the perfect ingredients for a culinary tour. But be forewarned: Union County's sunshine-kissed bounty and friendly farmers make for a delicious adventure.
Whet your appetite with a quick swing through the Farmer's Market in La Grande's Max Square, where you can pick up a basket of fresh berries, artisan cheese, freshly baked bread and pastries. It's a great place to shop organic and grab some snacks for a picnic or munchies down the road.
If a sit-down breakfast is more your style, belly up to the Longbranch, a favorite of locals for generations for their biscuits and gravy, fluffy pancakes, and country-style omelets.
Take Highway 237 from Union to Cove and make a quick right onto French Street for a picnic lunch under the ancient trees at Forest Cove Warm Springs Pool. This naturally warmed pool is open all year, and offers some of the best family fun in the valley.
If your trip takes you to Cove in late August, be sure to stay for the Cherry Fair. The fair includes a cooking competition staring locally grown cherries featured in everything from chicken to soup, and of course, cherry pie.
Keep on 237 to head back into La Grande for dinner. A local favorite is 10 Depot Street. Chefs there whip up excellent traditional meals using local beef, lamb and produce. Seasonal huckleberries are blended into daiquiris and crown cheesecake, while fresh, local mint make mojitos mambo.