Farm to Table

A variety of clams can be found on the Oregon Coast, including razor clams and bay clam varieties such as butter, littleneck, cockles and gaper clams.

Clams Are for Digging

Just below the surface, the Oregon Coast is teeming with various clam types written by Julie Lee Don’t mind getting a little sandy, muddy and wet? Clamming might be for you! Anyone can dig for clams, and little equipment is needed: a clam shovel, a clam gun, a bucket and some patience. A shellfish license is required as well. The best clamming on the Oregon Coast is done during low tides, and it’s recommended to check with Oregon Health Authority’s website to ensure clam harvesting is open; they follow strict guidelines and constantly survey for potential biotoxins. Razor clams are a foodie’s delight and prized by clam diggers for their size and sweet-tasting meat. Clatsop County is bountiful with this seafood delicacy, with 95 percent of all razor clams deriving from a tight eighteen-mile stretch of beach. Bay clams, a broad grouping that encompasses everything that isn’t a razor clam,…

Lyf Gildersleeve, president of Flying Fish Company in Portland, takes his son, Miles, and the family to Oregon lakes for old-fashioned angling.

Trout Fishing in Oregon

One man’s journey from child angler to fishmonger businessman and sustainable seafood advocate written by Julie Lee Trout is Oregon’s most popular fish to catch and eat, with several trout species, both indigenous and adopted decades ago, to pursue. The most common is rainbow trout, which is widely stocked and distributed throughout the state. Redband trout are native to Central Oregon and historically found throughout waters connected to the Deschutes River. Paulina Lake, also in Central Oregon, boasts the state record trophy brown trout, weighing in at more than 28 pounds. Trout is generally found in cool streams and lakes, making Oregon a hot spot for this culinary delicacy. Historically, trout was a favorite of Europeans who noted catching it on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula in 1792, but rainbow trout is native only to North America’s lakes and rivers and a favorite of anglers. Lyf Gildersleeve, president of Flying Fish Company…

Tacos with fresh rockfish, plentiful year-round, offer a winter getaway for the palate.

A Rockfish by Any Other Name

written by Thor Ericksonphotography by Tambi Lane Order rockfish at a restaurant in New York, and you’ll likely get a striped bass. Place the same order in California, and you could end up with a vermilion rockfish. Here in Oregon, rockfish can be anything from quillback, pygmy, shortbelly, longspine, yellow-eye, to widow, canary, chilipepper, thornyhead and the old standby—red snapper. Oregon sport and commercial fishermen regularly catch more than twenty-five species of rockfish. Many of these rockfish have similar characteristics and are difficult to tell apart. According to the Food and Drug Administration, a single fish species can go by multiple names from the time it’s caught until the time it ends up on your plate, and many kinds of fish can legally be sold under a single name. The good news is that all these species of Oregon rockfish taste relatively the same. The flesh is versatile and can…

After a stretch at sea fishing for rockfish, the trawler Ms. Julie arrives at port, where its catch is unloaded.

Rock On: The Oregon Rockfish

Rockfish rebound in Oregon’s waters, and one man’s catch is another one’s delight written by Sophia McDonaldphotography by Jon Christopher Meyers In 2000, the waters off the Oregon coast had been so severely overfished that it was declared a federal disaster zone. Scientists with the National Marine Fisheries Service predicted that even if drastic action was taken, commercial fishing would not rebound in the area until at least 2030. It turned out they were sorely mistaken. In 2011, trawl fisherman catching rockfish and other species landed 3.5 million pounds of their scaly, slippery prey. In 2018, they netted 25.3 million pounds. In 2019, the number was closer to 25 million, according to Yelena Nowak, director of the Oregon Trawl Commission. Rex Leach of Coos Bay, who has been a commercial fisherman since 1978, was on the Oregon Trawl Commission when regulations to restore the fishery were enacted. He and many…

Whit Peters walks between cranberry bogs at Peters’ Cranberries in Sixes.

The Tart-Sweet Oregon Cranberry—Bogged Down

Cranberries, as American as Thanksgiving, bring Oregon flavor to fall dishes written by Sophia McDonaldphotography by Amanda Loman Around the time Portland was welcoming its first train passengers, Morrow County was being incorporated and the Grants Pass Daily Courier was delivering its first newspapers, farmers began forming bogs and filling them with cranberry vines along the southern Oregon coast. These tart treats have been an important agricultural crop in a region which has been better known for animal-based foods such as seafood and dairy since 1885. They also deliver a fine option for locavores who can’t imagine a holiday season or a turkey sandwich without a spoonful of the ruby-red berry sauce. This thoroughly American berry (one of the few fruits native to North America) has been Whit Peters’ business for most of his life. He and his mother, Sara Osborne, own Peters’ Cranberries in Sixes, about twenty miles south…

Blackberries cover about 50 acres at Duyck Family Farm in Banks. The farm grows the Kotata variety.

Back in Blackberries

Delicious and fulfilling fruit of hard work on Duyck Family Farm Written by Sophia McDonaldPhotography by Daniel Stark “Growing up, I would always tag along with my dad, whether it was just riding in a truck or hoeing or working with a cousin. I always knew I’d come back. I just didn’t know when or how.”— Jacque Duyck Jones, of Duyck Family Farm, on taking over the family business Blackberries reach their peak in July, just in time for pie making, ice cream churning, jam jamborees, backyard cocktail mixing and gluttonous fresh eating. While they’re at their best straight from the vine, juices warm from the sun and staining your fingers, they also freeze well, something that makes this Oregon snack available year-round. In fact, the freezer is the first destination for the vast majority of Oregon blackberries. According to the Oregon Raspberry & Blackberry Commission, more than 90 percent…

Lemon lets the Oregon blackberries shine in this traditional pie.

Pie Eyed – Double Crusted Blackberry Pie

Written by Thor Erickson Photography by Tambi Lane When I was about three years old, my parents emptied their savings account and bought a small bakery. For the previous forty years, this bakery had earned a reputation for producing all kinds of cookies, pastries, cakes and pies. As part of the sale, before hanging up his apron and retiring, Ernie, the original owner, agreed to train my father how to operate the business. Although my dad had a bit of kitchen experience, when it came to baking, he was a newbie. Ernie prided himself on maintaining operating costs for the bakery. He bought flour, sugar and spices in large quantities, used bottled flavor extracts and pre-made fruit fillings packed in five-gallon buckets. With the exception of dairy products, none of the ingredients were perishable. With minimal storage, all of these items were stacked high and took up every last inch of space….

Oregon wasabi

Oregon Wasabi?

Oregon-grown wasabi is a versatile and spicy option for your cooking written by Sophia McDonald Sushi aficionados, take note: That spicy, lime green paste next to your dragon roll may be called wasabi, but chances are it isn’t the real thing. Most of the time, it’s a combination of horseradish, powdered mustard and green food coloring.  Wasabi is native to Japan, but you can buy it closer to home than you might think. Oregon Coast Wasabi in Tillamook County is one of only three commercial growers in the United States. Co-founder and CEO Jennifer Bloeser quite by accident stumbled onto the relative of the horseradish plant at an equestrian event. A fellow participant had brought some plants to the gathering and was giving them away. Bloeser’s neighbors in Southeast Portland were always sharing the bounty from their gardens with her, and she was looking for something to give back. Wasabi,…

Strawberry Alarm Clock

written by Thor Erickson photography by Charlotte Dupont LIKE CLOCKWORK, every year in early May, I start to hear a voice in my head. No matter where I am or what I am doing, it stops me in my tracks. A deep, faint, mildly pleasant whisper. “Strawberries,” it gently says, like a game-show host leading a yoga class in The Twilight Zone. “Strawberries,” it tells me, more frequently as days pass. This voice is telling me that Oregon strawberry season is looming, and I had better be ready. The haunting refrain “Strawberries …” is warning that there might not be enough time to fully capture the fleeting ripeness of these sweet little Northwest gems. “Strawberries …” underscoring that no time machine would allow me to live in Oregon strawberry season for eternity. If I don’t heed the call, I might not have enough time to enjoy the Totem, Hood, Tillamook,…