Whether you're a home chef or simply a food lover, you will want to spend a day with Chef Jessica Hansen of Kitchen at Middleground Farms. Her sparkling personality and wholesome and holistic approach to food make her classes fun, and even what seems a daunting recipe to learn at first turns out to be as simple as it is delicious. The ingredients are from right there on her family's farm and from neighboring farms, so you know everything will be fresh, seasonal and local. The backstory of how the kitchen came to be is a fascinating one, you can hear it in our Territory Tales podcast.
Anjelica Otness opened Fat Cupcake in Oregon City in the fall of 2017 and has quickly grown to two other locations, including one in Happy Valley. She had no professional culinary training and learned from experimenting in her kitchen, watching YouTube videos and searching Google. She's selling more than 1,500 cupcakes a day to a hungry clientele who crave her sweet and savory creations. She is always creating new flavors and combinations and designing cupcakes that are as tasty as they are beautiful. See her in action from our Facebook Live video.
Kyra Bussanich owns Kyra's Bake Shop in downtown Lake Oswego, which is a completely gluten free facility. She developed the bakery and the recipes out of her own necessity before gluten free was really a part of the larger conversation. Kyra had spent many years battling serious stomach issues, and doctors had tried a variety of treatments without results. She decided to cut gluten from her diet as a last ditch effort and before she knew it, her condition was improving. Kyra believed in her recipes so much that she took them to the hit Food Network show, "Cupcake Wars" and won. She was invited back on the show, and won again. And then a third time. And then a record fourth time. Kyra is the only four-time winner of Cupcake Wars, and you can experience her genius for yourself at her shop. Everything is amazing, but the cinnamon rolls are simply incredible.
Melissa is a true pioneer in a city built by pioneers. She's the owner of the first legal food truck in all of Oregon City called The Perky Pantry. Located inside The Hive Taphouse, she serves a wide selection of delicious foods. While all amazing, the Philly Cheesesteak is out of this world, and something that must be tried by everyone at least once. Her pierogi are also delicious; you can see how they're made in our Facebook Live video.
The small town coffee shop used to be a focal point in a community. Lisa Halcom has kept that spirit alive at Happyrock Coffee Roasters in downtown Gladstone. Lisa became interested in coffee when she was a teenager. She quickly immersed herself in the entire coffee process, falling in love with roasting in particular. She jokes that early in her career, people would ask what she was going to do with her life because she couldn't stay in coffee forever, and she'd reply with "Watch me." That passion remained and she purchased Happyrock more than a decade ago and made the already popular shop the thriving epicenter of her community. You can hear her full story in our Territory Tales podcast featuring Lisa.
Puddin' River Chocolates is the ultimate home made chocolate experience. Teresa Sasse originally opened her popular shop in downtown Canby. A few years ago, however, she relocated the shop to a building adjacent to her family's home. The end result is a charming, welcoming ambiance that makes guests feel at ease. Add in some decadent chocolates, truffles and other goodies and you're pretty much guaranteed to be find yourself in a state of bliss. Teresa credits her Amish heritage for the businesses success, as she has a strong work ethic and devotion to service. You can find her in the shop, continuing to play with her recipes with a smile on her face. Granted when you surrounded by this much goodness, it's hard not to smile.
Is there anything better than cheesecake? It's hard to find anything, and Zoe Ann has taken the cheesecake to a whole new level with Zoe Ann's Cheesecakes. You'll find her stellar creations at the Milwaukie and Lake Oswego farmers markets during the summer months. There you can find 12-16 different three-inch individual size cheesecakes for sale, plus you can special order larger varieties. Zoe's goal was to make a product that makes everybody happy, and that's pretty much a given when you have one (or more) of her cheesecakes.
Emily Lau is a first generation immigrant who brings her native culture to downtown Milwaukie with Cloud Pine Tea + Culture. This part teahouse part restaurant is all parts amazing. Try some loose leaf tea, dim sum, specialty bowls and other authentic creations. You can also experience her customs with a traditional tea ceremony, which is an amazing experience to take part in. Emily herself is as fascinating as the food is delicious. In addition to her culinary skills she's an accomplished musician and frequently combines all of her considerable talents into a truly memorable experience for customers.
Graham and Tooze is truly a family affair, owned by the mother-daughter team of Sally and Annie Bany. Billed as the "farm store in your back yard" shoppers can find such treasures as fashionable clothing, local wines and cheeses, farm fresh eggs, home décor and other fun finds. The store was born of a conversation between the pair as they sat at the intersection of Graham's Ferry Road and Tooze Road... hence the name. Graham & Tooze is the ideal example of small town, locally owned business charm.
It's not every day that someone can make their dream come true, but for Taylor Gibson, that's exactly what Lennox Jai Boutique in Estacada is. Gibson loved fashion ever since she was a child and was able to turn that love into a thriving business in 2019. The clothing options are focused on quality and affordability while also making sure every woman, regardless of body type, can feel good about themselves. Shoppers really can put together an entire outfit, and beyond, with a visit here. You can get tops and bottoms, shoes, accessories and more to create a complete look that's all your own.
Hillockburn Farm is an absolutely charming farm store in Estacada that has a diverse array of offerings. It started with handmade, small batch all natural body care products for friends. The quality of the those creations caused their popularity to soar, and are now purchased all over the country. The scenic farm has also become a popular event venue. It's hosted reunions, showers and of course amazing weddings. Adding to the benefit of the venue as a wedding location, they can even take care of the flowers too with exquisite arrangements. Want to learn more about flowers? You can take part in one of their floral workshops to learn how to make beautiful arrangements yourself.
Freeland Spirits is the sister location in Lake Oswego for the popular tasting room the first started in Portland. The story behind the business shows how inspirational someone can be in ways even they would never expect. Owner Jill Kuehler's grandmother never drank a sip of alcohol in her life, but did inspire her family to create all good things from scratch. That's the mentality that went into their first creation, Freeland Gin, and every single spirit since. Not only is Freeland in limited company being a woman-owned distillery, their master distiller is also a woman. Molly Troupe has has a background in biochemsity and a master's degree in distillation, so it's safe to say she knows her stuff, and then some. You can sample and purchase their amazing creations at the gorgeous Lake Oswego tasting room located a few steps from Millennium Park Plaza and Oswego Lake itself.
In a town all but defined by its wealth of wonderful locally owned businesses, Harmony is a definitive inclusion in that list. It's actually a second generation woman owned business. It was started in 1984 by Linda Lawrence who since handed the reins over to her niece, Jenny Beaudoin. This spot is more than a fantastic restaurant and bakery — which it is. it's also a gathering spot for locals in the town. Their menu is filled with seasonal dishes crafted from locally sourced ingredients. Wash it all down with local coffees, juices, beers and wines, and you'll see why it really is better to live like a local when you visit.
Think you've experienced all that Oregon wine has to offer? If you haven't been to Buddha Kat in Sandy then you're missing out, because sisters Barbara and Laura Dilley have created some truly wonderful wines like you've never had before. They combine grapes from Oregon's well known varieties and add berries to the mix, creating a delightful, fruit forward wine. Some of their creations actually go right for the berries instead and forego the grapes. In a world where it's getting harder to do something new, they've created something special and unique.
Mt. Hood Vacation Rentals started back in 1991 when Betsy LaBarge decided to put her 30 years of hospitality experience and expertise into creating what has become the leading provider of vacation rentals homes on Mt. Hood. They have more than 30 homes available to rent, from small cozy getaways to large mountain retreats perfect for large families. Betsy has also become a leader in the industry, serving on tourism boards local and national, and is a staunch supporter of the industry.