W is for...Willamette Valley
There are only a few more days left in this year's edition of the A-Z Blogging Challenge; this makes me happy and sad at the same time. Happy that I can take a break from posting everyday (except Sundays, of course) and sad that this wonderful event will be over for an entire year. Alas. Today's letter is the glorious W...here's an Oregon W...
The most populated region in the state, the Willamette Valley is surrounded on three sides by mountain ranges and is located in the northwestern part of Oregon. It is the most fertile region of the entire state and produces many of the local crops. In accordance with the abundant ability to produce crops and other necessities, it's fitting that the largest population of the state in located within the valley; also, most of the largest/principle cities are located here.
Largely inhabited by the Kalapuya Native American tribe in the 19th century, the area was "discovered" in 1807 when the Lewis and Clark Expedition arrived; settlers began to move in to the area, becoming fur traders and mountain men, and the tribe died out as a result of a widespread fever. In the 1820s, the area was heavily promoted on the East Coast and in the Mid-West as a "promised land," thus sparking the great exodus to the West in the latter part of the 1800s. The heavy drove of settlers to the area, especially the Willamette Valley, caused the Oregon Territory to reach statehood status much faster than other developing states.
Climate wise, the valley experiences cool, wet winters, dry, warm summers, and is relatively mild throughout the year; often described as a cooler and wetter Mediterranean atmosphere, most precipitation is experienced as rain, falling mainly between November and February. The area also has a rather long growing season, averaging 150 to 180 days. The majority of crops grown in the valley are grass, berries, and vegetables, as well as hazelnuts and the majority of Christmas trees sold in the US. The valley is also well-known for its production of hops, used throughout the US, but perhaps most well-known for its greenhouse and nursery stock. Linn County, a central area, is the grass seed capital of the world...beware if you are an allergy sufferer.
In recent decades, the Willamette Valley has become a large producer of grapes and award-winning wines. With a cooler climate than California, the valley has become home to some of the most expensive pinot noir wines in the world, as well as highly regarded pinot gris, and has over 200 vineyards. A popular outing for a lot of people in the area, locals and visitors alike, is to go on the many Wine Tours throughout the valley.
Regardless of what you're in to, the area has something for you.
Blog on, fellow A-Zers and happy Friday!