The Bounty of Oregon Foods
Oregon has a wealth of some pretty fabulous regional foods. The Mediterranean-like climate with moderate year-round temperatures and the health conscious population of many Oregon communities combine for yummy results.
Here are some of my favorite Oregon foods along with restaurant suggestions and a bit on James Beard, the most famous cook to come out of Oregon.
Berries, Berries, Berries!
When I first moved to Oregon, I could barely believe how large the berries were--and the variety was incredible.
- Oregon Marionberries
Marionberries have a deep, rich flavor similar to a blackberry. They actually look like enormous blackberries with a touch more purple in them and they are juicy and not as seedy.To pick your own is easy as they are on high bushes.
- Oregon Strawberries
Oregon strawberries are absolutely the sweetest and best I have ever had. Now, the tests have proven it, as this site tells you. The best varieties do not ship well, so you have to go there to taste them. Pick your own!
- Oregon Blueberries
Learn about Oregon blueberries: varieties, farm locations, health benefits, plus find some great recipes. Oregon has the highest yield per acre for blueberries of all the states. Picking your own lets you see the pretty stages of color.
In my opinion, this Northwest crab is the best. You will find it in Northern California, too. It is sweet and fun to eat. I love it. You can buy it fresh from a commercial steamer or you can catch your own off some of the docks or from a boat in the bays. Learn about the best spots, times and techniques, rent some crab pots and pull in the crabs. It takes thick gloves and strong arms.
Steam them right away for your dinner. Spread newspapers out on the table and have at it either plain or with melted butter.
- Oregon Oyster Farms, Fresh Pacific Oysters
This is Oregon's oldest oyster farm (1907). Fresh Oregon oysters are so good grilled or broiled right in the closed shell with a little lemon juice added at the table, but this site also offers recipes and on-line shopping.
While they are also grown elsewhere, Oregon Hazelnuts, or Filberts as they are also called, are thought to be the best.
- Hazelnut Resources and Hazelnut Recipes
A site devoted to the Oregon Hazelnut or Filbert.
- Oregon Gourmet Hazelnuts
Offering hazelnut products such as nut brittles, spreads, nut butters and chocolates including some recipes. Order the Euphoria Truffles or find them in Eugene where they are made. They are sinfully good, really.
Specialized Dairy Products
The mild winters and cool summers of Oregon are ideal for dairy cows and goats. Here are a few of the well-known Oregon dairy products.
- Nancy's Cultured Dairy and Soy
The Springfield Creamery, makers of Nancy's Cultured Dairy and Soy Products makes such goooooood yogurt--so fresh and full of cultures. The nonfat tastes amazingly good. recipes, too.
- Dairy Foods - Tillamook
Tillamook Cheese is a farmer-owned cooperative in Tillamook, Oregon which produces award-winning cheese, ice cream, yogurt, butter and sour cream. At the Visitor's Center you can watch the cheese being made.
- Prince Puckler's Gourmet Ice Cream
Oh, the memory. I used to live just a few blocks away from Prince Puckler's, a locally owned, ice cream parlor. The ice cream is rich and the flavors are intense, complex and so interesting. The hot fudge is awesome!
Cooking All That Good Stuff
I have this book and it is a very good one. It is based on the cooking at the Steamboat Inn on the Umpqua River, a great place to stay and to eat. Meals are served at communal tables and the Inn is located up on a ridge overlooking the river. It is a popular resting spot for those who love to fish.
Where to Eat Regional Foods
- Steamboat Inn on The North Umpqua River, Oregon
The cookbook "Thyme & the River Too" has its origins at the Steamboat Inn, located 38 scenic miles east of Roseburg, Oregon on Highway 138. It is a popular spot for those who fish, but a wonderfully scenic spot for anyone, including rafters.
- Caprial's Bistro
"Caprial's Bistro" in Southeast Portland focuses on regional foods. It may sound familiar to you as Caprial and John also offer cooking classes and have a popular cooking show on PBS.
The Wildwood Restaurant operated in Portland, Oregon for 20 years and, according to those who know, influenced and marked a change in the Portland food scene. I ate here and it was a fantastic meal. Unfortunately it has closed, but you can still get their cookbook which presents its recipes using local, farm-raised ingredients.
Learn Even More About Oregon Cuisine
- Oregon Food Trips | Travel Oregon
All about food in Oregon: farms, tours and more...
- Portland Farmers Market
All about the Portland Farmer's Market including seasonal availability charts, class and demo information and special event schedules.
- Culinary tour | Epicurean Excursion | Portland Walking Tours | Oregon
I went on this walking tour called "Epicurean Excursion". They offer tour's of the city's food scene. When I went we sampled soup, breads, pastries, beer, chocolate, pizza, fresh fruit and more. I learned so much.
Oregonian: James Beard
Born in Portland, Oregon, James Beard always maintained tight ties with his beloved Oregon, despite his move to New York. He was greatly influenced by the bounty of Oregon's orchards, gardens and waters.
Books: James Beard
I loved this book. Beard writes about his first experiences as a child with the regional foods of the Pacific Northwest.
- Home | James Beard Foundation
The James Beard Foundation recognizes culinary excellence through awards, scholarships, guest chef events, educational programs, and gourmet dinners served in James Beard's house.
- Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission
Here is a delightful transcript of a talk by James Beard.
The classic James Beard.
And, Finally: Chocolate!
How can I ignore chocolate? Everyone loves chocolate. Here you will find some of the best Oregon chocolate-makers.
- Euphoria Chocolate Company
The BEST chocolate truffles you will ever devour, in my humble opinion. This is what Euphoria Chocolate Company is known for, along with it's Ultra Chocolate Sauce and the fresh-dipped ice cream bars in the summer.
- Chocolates & Chocolate Candy | See's Candies
See's chocolates are from California. Now, I know this is Oregon-focused, but I discovered See's chocolates while living in Eugene. You can visit the store there and get a free sample every time. I love them. They are a very good, fresh chocolates.
I hope you can enjoy some of these Oregon foods soon. There is so much more that I could have included, but these are my favorties.
Do you have an Oregon favorite? Add your suggestions or comments here!