This week, I was asked to suggest an itinerary of Rogue Valley food tourism. My list included farm stays at Pholia Farm in Evans Valley or Willow-Witt Ranch near Ashland, dining at New Sammy’s Cowboy Bistro in Talent and Summer Jo’s in Grants Pass and a Farm to Fork event, in addition all the usual suspects: farmers markets, wine tasting and artisan-food sampling.
And today, I get to experience one of Medford’s latest stabs at food tourism: the Smudge Pot Stroll. It’s part of Pear a Fare, a two-day event devised in 2009 to celebrate local and regional food vendors who present an array of artisan foods, confections, wines, spirits and brews in an enormous, climate-controlled tent.
Last year, organizers added the Smudge Pot Stroll, basically a food crawl around downtown that starts at 5 p.m. I’ll be attending as a judge.
For $30 per person, $50 per couple, participants sample appetizers paired with beverages at 16 eateries. The cost includes an illuminated souvenir glass and map of participating restaurants: Elements, Porters, 38 Central, Habaneros, Havana Republic, Gaetano Ristorante Italiano, Spoons, Downtown Market Co., Bricktowne Barrel House, Misoya Bistro, 4 Daughters, Sunrise Cafe, Howiee’s, Rosso’s, Wamba Juice and Old Farmhouse.
As of Thursday evening, approximately 50 tickets remained, so call 541-621-7160 to reserve for this evening.
If you can’t get in on the stroll, visit the Pear a Fare tent near the corner of Main and Bartlett streets. It’s open from 5 until 10 p.m. Friday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Entrance is free, but to sample food, visitors must purchase an engraved souvenir glass and five taste tickets for $10. See www.pear-a-fare.com for a list of participating vendors.