Northwest food adventures
by Eli Penberthy, Associate Editor
This article was originally published in June 2010
(June 2010) — It’s no secret that the Pacific Northwest is home to some of the best food in the world — in fact, it’s probably a big reason why we choose to live here! You’ll always find your favorites at our neighborhood PCCs, but sometimes it’s fun to visit the source and see where some PCC foods come from firsthand.
Summer’s long hours of daylight and warm weather make it a perfect time to explore this culinary haven, and many destinations are within an hour or two of the city. You can spend an afternoon picking berries and visiting farm stands (see the Puget Sound Fresh guide for a list of local farms at puget soundfresh.org); stop by a few creameries on your way to a Canadian vacation; or plan an overnight stay in Washington wine country, tasting at several wineries while you’re there.
You’ll find that the community of farmers, cheesemakers, wineries, breweries, coffee roasters, restaurants and other food artisans around Puget Sound is thriving, diverse and rich; whether you’re in search of a sharp farmstead cheese, a world-class wine or the sweetest carrot you’ve ever tasted, any direction you go — east, west, north or south — you’re bound to be well-fed!
Golden Glen Creamery, Samish Bay Cheese, and Fidalgo Bay Coffee are in the Skagit Valley and only about 10 minutes apart — so visit all three in the same trip! The Cascadian Home Farm is less than an hour east, so you could visit there the same day, or travel an hour north to visit the Grace Harbor farm store, which also is a nice stop-off if you’re on your way to Canada.
- Golden Glen Creamery (15098 Field Road, Bow, Wash., 360-766-6455, goldenglencreamery.com):
If you appreciate Golden Glen’s fresh butter, glass-bottled milk products and farmstead cheeses, a trip to the picturesque farm is worth the drive. Located only about an hour and a half outside of Seattle, the farm store is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and there are special seasonal open houses with walking tours, hayrides, animal pettings and more. Check the Web site for details.
- Samish Bay Cheese (15115 Bow Hill Road, Bow, Wash., 360-766-6707, samishbaycheese.com, open weekdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday Noon to 4 p.m.):
Whether your favorite is the cheddar-like Mont Blanchard cheese, the soft and flavorful Port Edison variety, or the new award-winning Ladysmith, we think you’ll agree that the farmstead cheeses from Samish Bay Cheese are top-notch. A visit to the certified organic dairy will give you the opportunity to see the animals in pasture, or just enjoy sampling cheese in the small cheese shop.
- Fidalgo Bay Coffee (856 North Hill Blvd., Burlington, Wash., 360-757-8818, fidalgobaycoffee.com):
Fidalgo Bay supplies PCC with certified organic and Fair Trade coffee, which it sources directly from farmers in San Martin, Peru. If you want to learn how your morning wake-me-up is made, from bean to cup, take a tour of the roaster. During the tour, you’ll sample different varieties, have a delicious latte made just for you, and get to take home a whole bag of beans. Tours are available Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. by appointment.
- Cascadian Home Farm (55749 Highway 20, Rockport, Wash., 360-853-8173, cascadianfarm.com, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily in summer):
Visit the birthplace of the brand that’s now famous for its range of frozen organic products — from blueberries to sweet corn. The Cascadian Home Farm sits in the beautiful foothills of the North Cascades mountain range and, during the summer, you can stop by their farm stand for organic berries, homemade organic ice cream and other delicious snacks.
- Grace Harbor Farms farm store (2347 Birch Bay Lynden Road, Custer, Wash., 360-366-4151, graceharborfarms.com, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., closed Sundays):
Grace Harbor provides PCC with creamy yogurt from five Guernsey cows. A visit to the farm and the farm store, located a little more than two hours north of Seattle near the Canadian border, will give you an opportunity to meet the cows, goats and chickens. You also can buy their popular goat-milk skin care products, eggs and some of that delicious yogurt right from the source!
- Snoqualmie Gourmet Ice Cream (21106 86th Avenue S.E., Snohomish, Wash., call 360-668-2912 for hours, snoqualmiegourmet.com):
From sourcing local ingredients for its delicious ice creams and gelatos to installing solar panels and a rain garden, Snoqualmie Gourmet Ice Cream seeks to be entirely sustainable. Tour the facility, eat a meal in the café, or just enjoy a sweet, cold treat!
Great day trips on the Olympic Peninsula and Vashon Island.
- Nash’s Organic Produce (1865 E. Anderson Road, Sequim, Wash., 360-681-7458, nashsorganicproduce.com):
One of the first farmers to be certified organic in Washington, Nash Huber and his crew manage 400 acres of prime farmland in the Dungeness River Delta, on the North Olympic Peninsula. Nash’s provides PCC with chard, kale, herbs, turnips, beets, leeks and other vegetables, but it’s best-known for its irresistibly sweet carrots! Visit the farm store year-round from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, or call ahead for a tour of the farm. Nash’s also holds an annual Harvest Celebration the first weekend in October with fun activities, music and food.
- Mt. Townsend Creamery (338 Sherman Street, Port Townsend, Wash., 360-379-0895, mttownsendcreamery.com):
The artsy community of Port Townsend is a fun day trip in and of itself, but a visit to this creamery to see how its award-winning artisan cheeses are crafted makes the trek even more worthwhile. The creamery and tasting room are open to visitors Tuesday to Sunday during the summer.
- Island Spring Organics, Small Planet Organics (18846 103rd Avenue S.W., Vashon Island, Wash., 206-463-9848, islandspring.com): The best tofu around is crafted locally on Vashon Island, and lucky for us, the producers offer tours to learn how the healthy protein is made. Visit Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 10 a.m. to noon, by appointment only. Tours last about a half-hour and you’ll get to taste samples and take home recipes. Call or email email@example.com for more information or to book a tour.
Close to home, easy day trips.
- Remlinger Farms (32610 N.E. 32nd Street, Carnation, Wash., 425-333-4135, remlingerfarms.com):
You can enjoy Remlinger Farms’ delicious berries all year (they’re stocked in the freezer section at PCC), but nothing beats eating them fresh, right on the farm, during the summer. In addition to U-pick strawberries (June), raspberries (July), blueberries (August), and pumpkins (September/October), this farm has plenty of other activities for a fun day with the family, including the popular Family Fun Park with mini-fair rides, a 4-H animal barn, pony rides, an authentic steam train ride, and live entertainment in the farm theater.
There’s also an on-farm market with fresh produce, gift shop, restaurant and bakery. Open May through October on weekends, and every day June 21 until Labor Day, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Full Circle Farm (31904 N.E. 8th St., Carnation, Wash., fullcirclefarm.com):
PCC sources gorgeous salad mix, bunched greens, root vegetables and other produce from Full Circle Farm in the Snoqualmie Valley, just 30 miles east of Seattle. This busy 400-acre certified organic farm grows about 200 varieties of crops. This year the farm will host several events open to the public, including an outdoor summer chef’s dinner on July 15 (sign up at outstandinginthefield.com). For inquiries about other farm visits, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chinook Wines, in the Yakima Valley, and Domaine Pouillon, in the Columbia Gorge, are more than three hours outside of Seattle, so plan to stay overnight. There are plenty of other wineries to visit nearby, so you can visit several in a day. See wineyakimavalley.org and columbiagorgewine.com for more information.
- Chinook Wines (Yakima Valley, 509-786-2725. Visit chinookwines.com for directions and hours):
If you want a taste of the real, honest-to-goodness Washington, Chinook offers outstanding wines in down-to-earth former farm buildings surrounded by vineyards and orchards. Bring a picnic!
- Domaine Pouillon (170 Lyle-Snowden Road, Lyle, Wash., 509-365-2795. Visit domainepouillon.com for directions and hours.):
Alexis, Juliet and T-Bone the dog are among the exciting, rising stars in the Columbia Gorge, making wines that marry Old World style with Wild West verve.
Close to home
You won’t go hungry (or thirsty) sticking around the city this summer, either. Seattle is a food-lover’s paradise.
Tour the Theo Chocolate factory in Fremont. Or, go on a mini-pub crawl in Ballard, visiting Maritime Pacific Brewery’s Jolly Roger Taproom and stopping for a second pint at another nearby brewery, Hale’s Ales. It’s summer, after all!
For those who prefer a more low-key adventure, pack a picnic for a day at the park or beach — stopping at the PCC delis to pick up salads, sandwiches and brownies, of course! It’s a perfect way to spend a summer afternoon.
Of course, we know that not every delicious thing to eat and drink from the Pacific Northwest is available at PCC, so we thought we’d tell you about a few unique other unique finds that are worth a trip.
- Lummi Island
Located about two hours away from Seattle, near Bellingham, Lummi Island is one San Juan island a food lover shouldn’t miss. It’s home to the only reefnet salmon fishery in the world (lummiislandwild.com), as well as organic farms, restaurants and cafes.
Stay overnight and do not pass up a meal at The Willows Inn (willows-inn.com), which has not only spectacular marine views but also features fresh salmon from the owner’s reefnet boat, local spot prawns, and organic produce and pastured eggs from nearby Nettles Farm, which also offers lodging, informal farm tours, a chance to meet a Mangalitsa pig (from Hungary!), and weekend workshops for learning such practical skills as turning your backyard chicken into a stewing hen and how to fillet a whole salmon! (Nettlesfarm.com).
- Fairburn Farm Culinary Retreat and Guest House (3310 Jackson Rd, Duncan, B.C., V9L 6N7, Vancouver Island, 250-746-4637, fairburnfarm.bc.ca) Sprawled over 130 acres in BC’s Cowichan Valley, Fairburn Farm operates a water buffalo dairy (think fresh buffalo mozzarella!) but is most famous for its guest house that offers culinary getaways, cooking classes and fabulous dining. Dinners and breakfasts for overnight guests and six-course lunches on Sundays for visitors feature seasonal and organic foods grown right on the farm, local seafood, and local wine.
If you attend a Saturday cooking class, expect to spend the morning harvesting fresh produce, foraging for wild foods and gathering eggs before planning the day’s menu and cooking all afternoon — then celebrate your day’s work with a big, delicious meal.
- Quillisascut Farm School of the Domestic Arts (2409 Pleasant Valley Road, Rice, Wash., 509-738-2011, ):
Over on the east side of the state, in the fertile farmland near Lake Roosevelt, Quillisascut offers an unparalleled opportunity to experience the farm-to-table connection. During weekend retreats and week-long training programs (for serious cooks and culinary professionals), guests stay in a bunkhouse and learn all about farm life-milking goats, making cheese, helping care for farm animals, harvesting produce from the gardens, visiting neighboring organic farms, and of course, spending afternoons in the kitchen-classroom cooking delectable meals using the abundance of local foods. Sign up for one of the workshops offered this summer, or arrange a special retreat for you and a group of your best friends.
- Vashon Island is a mecca for local-food enthusiasts. Plan a Saturday day trip and visit the farmers market or farm stands scattered around the island (for information, visit Vashon Island Growers Association vigavashon.org), then stop for lunch at La Boucherie (17635 100 Ave. SW, Vashon Island, 206-567-4628, seabreezefarm.net), a butcher shop and restaurant featuring charcuterie (pates, terrines, rillettes, sausages, and more) and farmstead cheeses from the island’s Sea Breeze Farm.
The famous BLT is a summer menu mainstay, and if you don’t see anything on the menu that suits your fancy, the talented chefs will cook up a pork chop or any other cut of meat from the butcher’s case that looks delicious. Open for lunch Wednesday through Saturday noon to 2:30 p.m., and for dinner Friday and Saturday 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
- Soft Tails Spirits (12280 N.E. Woodinville Dr., Suite C, Woodinville, 425-770-1154, softtailspirits.com):
If you’ve been around the block visiting wineries, try something new: a distillery! The first craft distillery on this side of the state, Soft Tails uses small-batch distilling methods to produce vodka made with Washington apples and its signature grappa (Italian pomace brandy) using Washington wine grapes from three Woodinville wineries. Brace yourself for the 84-proof grappa — with 42 percent alcohol, it packs a real punch, but you’ll still appreciate the delicate fruit flavors that shine through. The tasting room is open noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays or by appointment.