What’s to Love: Kruger’s is by far my favorite farm in the Portland area, and in the summer it’s one of my favorite spots with the family. There are three things that make it hard to beat: 1) Don Kruger is such a friendly guy; 2) The berries are incredible and NOT sprayed, and the farm does not use chemical fertilizers or fungicides; and 3) In the summertime, this is THE best music venue in Portland.
Every Thursday starting in July the farm opens up the lawn to families and wild-dancing kids. The concerts have always been the highlight of the week for me and my family. It’s like being on vacation. Bring your Crazy Creek chair and/or blankets, a big picnic, and kick back and enjoy some great tunes! You’ll be set for the evening. Let the kids run wild in the berry patch or play frisbee in a big open field.
You never know what’s going to happen…one night Don released several owls to the amazement and delight of the crowd. Another night, he turned on the irrigation sprinklers for kids (and adults) to run through. On several occasions, he has let the crowd cherry-pick a field of produce for free. I remember walking out with an armload of corn! The greatest thing is there is only a $10 charge per car. Don’t worry if you didn’t bring a picnic – they’ve got you covered with fresh roasted corn, and treats from other food vendors.
Concerts are not the only thing going down on the farm. Because Kruger’s uses ecologically-sound farming techniques, his berries are a real treat! My son and I once picked almost 12 pounds of blackberries one evening. It’s nice to know he can get down in the dirt without being coated in chemicals. Every piece of produce picked on his farm has been of the highest quality, and he carries other local products in his marketplace. We love the barbeque sauce!
Hay rides are always free and bring you to other berry locations on the farm. There is a corn maze in the fall with plenty of pumpkins, more music and HUGE bonfires in the evening. If you haven’t taken the family to Kruger’s Farm, you’re really missing out, and it’s only 10 miles from Portland.
Caveats: It’s hard to be objective when talking about Kruger’s Farm. There are just so many things they do right. However, I don’t like that dogs and smoking are allowed at the concerts. It’s just not a good venue to bring the family pet – too many kids running around with food. And, it really is unfortunate when you’re relaxing, listening to music, eating some food, and a bunch of cigarette smoke drifts your way, especially with your kids being exposed. Smoking should be banned from the entire lawn-area during concerts.
Website: Kruger’s Farm Market
Distance from Portland: Within 12 miles of downtown Portland
Recommended Ages: All ages! A perfect outing for the family year-round!
Parental Stress Factor: Low stress trip! Watch out for “King Kong” their rooster who is a bit aggressive.
Physical Difficulty: It’s pretty easy getting around the farm. Concerts have hay rides going, and the terrain is flat. The market area and concert are accessible with some assistance.
Family Fun Factor: High – Concerts are the best. If your kids enjoy berry picking, corn mazes, and hay rides, the farm is the perfect outing. In bad weather, the “fun factor” definitely declines.
Pet Friendly: Last time I went to a concert, dogs were still allowed on leashes.
Weather Considerations: You’re almost guaranteed a beautiful evening in the summer. If it’s wet, cold and rainy, you may want to consider another adventure.
Insider Info: Get to the concerts early. Parking is not the issue here as the property has plenty of room. The real issue is finding a choice spot on the lawn for the music. There are several other little treats worth mentioning: the fresh-made donuts are very good, roasted corn-on-the-cob, and Kruger’s has a disappearing treat – Coke in glass bottles! There are often animals to check-out behind the marketplace.
The market is a great place to find woven baskets for a very reasonable price. They often have local produce from nearby farms – support local growers. Buy their Barbeque Sweet Onion sauce – it’s awesome!
Family Tips: If you go to a concert, make sure you bring hats and sunscreen for your kids. The lawn is pretty exposed, and it’s usually sunny. If you’re in a hurry to get to the show, don’t worry about a picnic, because there is plenty of food at the concert, and the prices are pretty reasonable. A lot of people bring alcohol, which is against their policy. If you want beer or wine, they sell it there.
Very few venues exist like this for music, because it can be a big pain for the people running it and a liability problem. Too many rules, and it’s not fun anymore. However, the very few rules that do exist are for the comfort and safety of everyone there – including our kids. So, do your best to be a good citizen on the Farm.
Bring a stroller or jogger to help transport a cooler and/or picnic from your car. Just make sure to fold it up and get it out of the way. Finally, bring your dancing shoes, because your kids will want to cut a rug.
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Leaping Lamb Farm Stay on October 5th, 2009
Leach Botanical Gardens on May 20th, 2010
Rasmussen Farm - Hood River, OR on November 8th, 2007