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Culinary Daytrip: Madras 

Enjoying pastries, picnicking, whiskey sipping and fresh farm foods

Foodies can delight in a host of Central Oregon culinary excursions—and the Madras area is no exception. Check out these recommendations for breakfast, lunch, dinner and the hours in between.

Sandwiches are fresh and made to order at Great Earth Cafe & Market. - TAMBI LANE PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Tambi Lane Photography
  • Sandwiches are fresh and made to order at Great Earth Cafe & Market.

Breakfast in Madras

Our daytrip to Madras begins at Eagle Bakery, at the corner of 3rd Street and the Old Culver Highway, owned and operated by the Birky family, quite famous for their cinnamon rolls. Get there at 7am when they open on Friday to enjoy the freshly made doughnuts and maple bars for only $1 each!

"Country Home Baking" is the company's tagline, and the taste of homemade goodness is in their breads, pies, cakes and cookies. Here's the tricky part: They're only open on Fridays and Saturdays and if you're not there early you could miss out on some of their more popular items. My suggestion is to enjoy an early morning pastry then grab extra cinnamon rolls to take home and freeze for later. Save room, because lunch is next!

Lunch in Madras

Head north to SW "D" Street for some browsing at Great Earth Cafe and Market. Troy Boyd and her husband Gary opened Great Earth in 1996 with the mission of bringing good food to the Madras area. Over the years, they've also created a unique market with specialty food items, gifts, kitchen gadgets and a variety of grab-n-go meals. Do a little shopping in their market, grab a bottle of wine or kombucha, then head to the counter and order up one of their sandwich specials for your picnic. The Dakota, stacked high with sliced turkey breast, Havarti, tomato and green leaf lettuce on 5-seed harvest bread (baked in-house), is a popular choice. There's also a lovely Whole Grain Veggie and a Black Bean Burger in a pita pocket. If a sit-down lunch is more your style, the Doro Wat Chicken with Ethiopian spices is wonderful.

Madras side trips

New Basin Distilling Company is one of Oregon’s only grain-to-bottle distillers. - TAMBI LANE PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Tambi Lane Photography
  • New Basin Distilling Company is one of Oregon’s only grain-to-bottle distillers.

Lunch is in the bag, so it's time for a tour. Drive a little farther north on Highway 97, then turn west onto NW Andrews Drive. You could drive on down to the hangar of the Erickson Aircraft Collection (which I highly recommend doing now or later). But if you look immediately to your right, you'll see New Basin Distillery. Stop. Take a tour. Owner Rick Molitor will greet you with a smile and show you around their impressive grain-to-bottle distillery. This former school superintendent's passion for handcrafted spirits is contagious, and before you leave, you'll be well-schooled in the art of distilling. Of course, you can do a tasting and have a bit of their Resignation Rye or Strong American Light Whiskey and realize it all started with grains from a nearby field.

The day is young; the options aplenty. For an outside excursion, check out nearby hiking trials at The Cove Palisades and Smith Rock state parks. It's all about doing whatever you need to do to work up a dinner appetite.

Dinner on a farm

The Rainshadow Organics Farm Store is open Wednesday through Saturday. - TAMBI LANE PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Tambi Lane Photography
  • The Rainshadow Organics Farm Store is open Wednesday through Saturday.

Time it right and make a reservation in advance to dine outdoors in true summer style on the farm at Rainshadow Organics. This full-diet family farm on Holmes Road between Terrebonne and Sisters is an incredible place with acres of vegetables, greenhouses, momma cows, a herd of pigs, a hive of bees and multiple flocks of chickens and turkeys. The farm offers several opportunities between now and October to enjoy a Longtable Dinner; a three-course meal created from the farm's own bounty; a seasonal three-course wine dinner pairing farm-raised foods with local wines; a Sunday brunch, catered by their farm-to-table chef or even a simple cooking class. The Farm Store offers the option to take home some fresh eggs, plum jam or pickles.

Eagle Bakery
218 SW 3rd St., Madras

Great Earth Cafe & Market
46 SW D St., Madras

New Basin Distilling Company
2063 NW Andrews Dr., Madras

Rainshadow Organics
71290 Holmes Road, Sisters

About The Author

Donna Britt

Food writer, food stylist, recipe tester, cookbook editor, podcast producer/host are a few of the creative hats Donna Britt wears. Donna loves to hike, paddle board and spend quality time with family and friends. Oh, and she also collects cookbooks and cast iron cooking vessels.
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