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Oregon Local Foods

Guide to Oregon Local Foods

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I've eaten a lot of good food in this life, and a lot of it has been in Oregon. Amazing produce, plenty of small and well tended restaurants, and a do-it-yourself ethos leads to some fabulous eating. Learn more about the local foods of Oregon and eating locally there below. Have a favorite aspect of local Oregon eating? Tell us about it!

Oregon Seasonal Fruits & Vegetables

Photo © Molly Watson
There is no shortage of fresh, local food available in Oregon. The state enjoys amazing growing conditions. Sure, the season is a bit shorter than in its gigantic neighbor to the south, but the results are all the sweeter for having to had struggling through a cooler winter. Find out what's in season when with this Guide to Oregon Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables.

Oregon Farmers Markets

Beets and Carrots at Market
Photo © Molly Watson
Oregon is full to the rafters with excellent farmers markets. Most run May or June into October or November, and some open again for "holiday markets" selling seasonal goods. More and more markets are adding winter hours, though,so keep you eyes and ears open for chances to find more super-fresh foods. Begin your search with this Guide to Oregon Farmers Markets.

Oregon Specialties: Berries

Photo © Molly Watson
Yikes, the berries they grow in Oregon blow my mind. They really really do. So sweet, so juicy, so lovely. There are plenty of all the berries, although the state is best known for its blackberries (Marionberries to be specific), excellent blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are to be found as well. While California growers have taken over the national market for strawberries, those still grown in Oregon are grown for local sale, which means they are varieties that don't keep well—those sweet, small, juicy berries that are best eaten a day or two after being picked—and are well worth seeking out at farmers markets and farm stands. Learn more About Berries here.

Another local treasure to look for: black raspberries. Oh so sweet and seedy. My favorite berry!

Oregon Specialties: Dungeness Crab

Dungeness Crab
Photo © Molly Watson
Portland's native son, none other than the ultimate foodie before foodies were a thing, James Beard, famously called a smack-down on lobster - letting everyone know what West Coasters have always known: Dungeness crab kicks lobster's butt. Sweet, meaty, sustainable, and absolutely fabulous. Oregon has a large sustainable commercial harvest and a season that runs over half the year. Yum. Learn more About Dungeness Crab here.

Oregon Specialties: Wild Mushrooms

Photo © Molly Watson

Wild mushrooms love the cool mountains and warm summers of Oregon. Look for morels starting in the late spring, then it will morph into chanterelle season, and before you know it fall will be upon you and farmers markets and restaurant menus will be awash in wild mushrooms of all sorts.

Oregon Specialties: Wild Salmon

Fileted Wild Salmon
Photo © Molly Watson
Fresh wild salmon is a traditional specialty in Oregon, even if much of the wild salmon eaten in Oregon these days comes from Alaska. Learn about different Types of Pacific Salmon here and then see How to Cook Salmon. To experience a taste of Oregon, you'd need to plank your salmon. Traditional planked salmon isn't cooked on a slab of cedar wood (although that version is delicious), but rather full filets are threaded onto cedar sticks and cooked over a live flame. For a reasonable facsimile, try making this Grilled Salmon.

Oregon Specialties: Hazelnuts

Oregon grows a lot of hazelnuts. Look for them at farmers markets, co-ops,and restaurant menus. They keep, obviously, but that new crop of nuts every fall sure tastes good.

Oregon Specialties: Pink Shrimp

The small sweet pink shrimp harvested off the Oregon is not only delicious, it's a sustainably managed fishery. In these times when foreign farmed shrimp and foreign-caught shrimp is highly suspect, you can buy delicious Oregon pink shrimp without worrying about destroying the ocean or exploiting fishermen.

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