Okanogan County (Twisp & Winthrop)

30 01 2008

Ever since the North Cascades Highway opened in 1972, my family has made the drive almost every year. Usually it’s just a weekend jaunt, but we’ve been known to spend more time “east of the mountains” as well. If the road is open, we certainly use it as our preferred means for crossing over. While there are plenty of the familiar and favorites to revisit every year, it seems that new discoveries are to be made every time.

Local 98856 Sign

This year, one such discovery was Local 98856. Sound a bit like a union? It is, of sorts. A group got together and set up a commercial kitchen cooperative – a union of community. Farmstand, coffee shop or a quick place to pick up dinner, it’s many things, but most importantly it is a celebration of local foods in Okanogan County. The apples might have come from an orchard 8 miles away and the beer just a few blocks. The story in PDF

Glover Street Market in Twisp

Although we knew of it, we hadn’t visited Glover Street Market before. Often we’re just getting started on a camping trip so we’re already provisioned when we pass through the area or we’re enjoying the local restaurants during a short weekend visit. This time we planned a stop since I knew they carried Bluebird Grain Farms’ emmer in bulk. I picked up 5 lbs. of emmer and a few other things at this natural foods grocery.

I was a little disappointed at the dearth of some local ingredients (eggs, meat), but it was well-stocked for a small shop. If I was shopping, I’d visit the Local first and then finish off my grocery list at this store. A nice surprise, however, was a cute little mushroom bag which are made locally. Pretty good groceries, as they say.

Cinnamon Twisp

Besides, that sort of order of things would allow me to stock up on fresh-baked breads and other goodies at Cinnamon Twisp!

Tappi Restaurant, Twisp

Just down the block and across the street is another new find! Tappi is a welcoming and delicious place to have dinner before heading back across the pass. Since it’s just a 2 hour drive for us, we had planned on making it an occasional Monday night tradition as long as their special (free Margherita pizza with a bottle of wine) held out, but
unfortunately the pass got nasty. We look forward to the opening of the highway and our next visit to Tappi. Yelp review

Lost River Winery Community Red

We didn’t choose this wine for our pizzas, but we did have it earlier at our dinner at the Mazama Country Inn. We always buy Lost River wines while in the area and my mother buys it by the case delivered to Anacortes. It’s also available by the bottle at Hank’s Harvest Foods in Twisp, Winthrop Red Apple Market and, of course, at many of the local restaurants and shops.

Sweet River Bakery, Pateros, apple fritter

A somewhat accidental find was the Sweet River Bakery in Pateros. In the 36 (yipe!) years of visiting Okanogan County, we’ve never gone to Pateros that I recall. We’ll be going to Pateros now! We picked up pastries, custard, a hot cup of coffee, a couple loaves of bread and our email. What more could we ask for? More room in the car, I think. 😉

Some other places to go:

Twisp River Pub/Methow Brewing

Rocking Horse Bakery in Winthrop

Winthrop Brewing

Local 99586 jam

Wherever you are in Winthrop or Twisp, ask for Blue Star Coffee and enjoy what Okanogan County and the Methow Valley have to offer. Keep your eyes open, you might discover something new in an old favorite!

Sweet River Bakery almond claw

Before you go:

Methow Valley’s Buy Local Page

Sustainable Methow & Sustinere magazine

WSDOT Mountain Passes


On the Road Again

30 11 2007

Over the river and thru the wood to grandfather’s house we go … (full lyrics)

Not really, we’re actually headed down to Portland for a friend’s 50th birthday celebration this weekend. Does this mean that eating local is out the window while we’re on the road? Absolutely not! Portland is a wonderful food town with many restaurants that source locally. Won’t be a problem. See Foodshed PDX for some suggestions when headed that way.

Meanwhile there’s a lot of highway between Concrete and Portland. We’re likely to get a little hungry between here and there, but since we’re heading out on a Friday we’re already dealing with a lot of logistics just getting through Everett-Olympia without using I-5 as a parking lot. What to do? Pit-stopping in Seattle might be delicious, but it would take too much time since I have a long shopping list for Bob’s Red Mill to take care of before the party. This means we’ll need some ‘short duration’ food.

BurgerVille logo

No MickeyD’s or BK scary meat for us, we have BurgerVille! Perhaps you haven’t heard of this small chain, but next time you’re in southwest Washington or northwest Oregon, give them a visit. They have delicious Oregon Country Beef burgers with Tillamook cheddar. Can you beat that? Maybe with a Wild Coho Smoked Salmon & Hazelnut Salad for $5.29? 🙂

While you’re waiting to go there in person, click through to BV’s News & Events page and watch the online version of Nightline. There’s a short piece on fast food in general and an interview with Eric Schlosser who authored Fast Food Nation. If BurgerVille is good enough for Eric Schlosser, it’s good enough for me! The Walla Walla onion rings and blackberry shakes are to die for, but you have to wait until summer. Meanwhile it’s sweet potato fries season and I just got a free coupon. Time to hit the road!

A Day of Rest

9 09 2007

What with all the canning, freezing and dehydrating going on, this month is proving to be a lot of work. Well, take a day off and keep in the spirit of the Eat Local Challenge by visiting one of our great restaurants that feature local foods.

Rhody Cafe, Bow

One such place is The Rhody Cafe in Bow. The website has the current menu and directions.

After your meal, check out The BreadFarm, Farm to Market Bakery and Slough Food in nearby Edison. Samish Bay Cheese isn’t far away nor is the Golden Glen Creamery.

Seafood Curry

Bon appetit!

Eat Local Challenge – September 2007

30 08 2007

Challenge yourself to eat local for a day, a week or the whole month of September. The Eat Local Challenge has become an annual event with participants all over the world – a sort of global local event!

Eat Local Challenge logo

“What about olive oil? I can’t live without my coffee!” Well, you could try to work around that by using some local butter instead which is a mighty tasty option and I’ve heard that an apple (local and in season right now) in the morning will give you more energy than a cup of joe. Or you could just commit to eating only local fruits and vegetables as a start and keep that cup of coffee for now. Every bit helps.

Get some local support for this by going to the Skagit Valley Food Co-op for a workshop during the second week of September (more details here) and learn about our local foodshed and how you can take advantage of all the bounty that is produced here. Jodie Buller, Marketing and Outreach Coordinator for the co-op, will be having a facilitated conversation about eating locally in the Skagit Valley. She has convinced me to be there as well so come join in and share your ideas for local eating and glean a few new ones!

Skagit Food Co-op logo

If you’re up in Whatcom County, one of the local coordinators is Sustainable Connections with their Eat Local Week from September 9th through the 16th. Their website has many listings of local events and even more listings of local producers. This is a great resource, check it out.

Sustainable Connections Buy Local logo

Other resources beyond those listed above (check the links on the sites as well):

Eat Wild – Washington


Sustainable Table

Haggen Food’s Local Grower Map

Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland Skagit Valley Farm Stands & Farmer’s Markets (.doc)

Also, just in case you don’t want to cook every day, there are many local restaurants that feature our local foods! This is not a comprehensive list, but a few options are:

Café Burlington

The Calico Cupboard Café and Bakery

The Rhododendron Café

Bistro San Martin

12 04 2007

Birthday cake

Happy Birthday to me! I don’t know about you, but I want to go somewhere where I’ll be treated to a lovingly prepared meal and the front of house staff will not burst into song. Last year for the big even-year event, we went to Bistro San Martin in Arlington for an intimate dinner. We enjoyed it so much that this year we brought both our mothers and had an even more special time. Read a review.



We indulged in Italian bubbly, Spanish wine and French slugs – err – escargot! In keeping with the spirit of this blog, I will report that Pacific Northwest native people apparently included banana slugs in their diet. I am filing this information away so that should dire conditions arise, I know that I could muster up some garlic and a local gastropod. To replicate the above presentation, however, I think I would have to use my aebleskiver pan as they can get to be nearly 10” long. If I ever eat a banana slug, you’ll read about it here first!