Story Ideas and insights for you to chew on…
1. The LOOP is LARGE!
The Olympics and their peninsula of 3,600 square miles (93,2400 Hectares) are still surprisingly, romantically wild, and expansive!
Allow sufficient time – A non-stop drive on Highway 101 around the Olympic Peninsula (aka the “LOOP”) travels 330 miles (531 kilometers), and will take approximately 8 hours, dependent on traffic, summer road repairs, and the occasional salmon or elk crossing.
Travel Highway101, at its junction with 104, then follow it around the peninsula counterclockwise via Port Angeles to Aberdeen; take Highway 12 inland to just west of Olympia, then follow 101 north to complete the loop along the Hood Canal.
This scenic drive offers many worthwhile side-trips, i.e.
- Highways 19 and/or 20 through Chimacum and into Port Townsend (23 miles each way),
- or Highway 112 to Neha Bay’s NW most point in the continental US (37 miles each way),
- or to travel the 60-mile spur south of Quinault – along SR-26 to Hwy 109 in order to experience – and TASTE! – coastal tribe seafood, Ocean Crest Resort (Moclips), Seabrook (Pacific Beach), and Ocean Shores, before rejoining Hwy 101 in Hoquiam.
- or sip wine and dive in at the Pac NW “Disneyland” Westport Winery Resort located halfway between Aberdeen and the “Cranberry Coastal” fishing port of Wesport (21 miles each way)
2. Farms – All four-Counties (Mason, Clallam, Jefferson and Grays Harbor) are home to dozens of delicious local farms
Each celebrating locally grown food, fiber, and farm-made products
Many farms feature seasonal – self-serve / honor system – farm stands
On special occasions, e.g. Farm Tour each fall. Farms open up to welcome visitors
Remember, farms often double as “home” for these families, so respect their privacy and don’t push their hospitality limits by showing up at all hours unannounced.
Featured Farms of E. Jefferson Co.
- Bazaar Girls Yarn Shop
- Center Valley Animal Rescue
- Egg and I Pork
- Gray Fox Farm
- Kodama Farm & Food Forest
- RainCoast Farms
- Sailor Vineyard
- Soft Step Farm
- SpringRain Farm & Orchard
- Swan Farm Food Bank Garden
- White Lotus Farm
- – Space Twins Provisions
- – Ananda Hills Farm
- – Water Moon Farm
- Wilderbee Farm
- – Jacob’s Fleece Farm
Travel by Season, for the destination or for the Taste
Since the LOOP is so large we encourage “Taste Tourists” to experience it in bite-size visits. Examples include:
3. Travel by Season –
- Apples are best – August, September, October, November, December
- Blueberries are ripe – July, August, September
- Carrots – June, July, August, September, October
- Brassicaceae – Cruciferous vegetables – such as (Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Kale, Cauliflower, Bok Choy, Cabbage) – peak during July, August, September, October, November, with some June and December yields depending on seasonal conditions.
Why? Seasonal food is fresher, tastier and more nutritious than food consumed out of season. Even though we all like to eat strawberries year round, the best time to eat them is when they can be purchased directly from a local grower shortly after harvest. Seasonal fruits and vegetables produced on local farms are often fresher, as they do not require long distances for transport. Also, unlike out of season produce which is harvested early in order to be shipped and distributed to your local retail store, crops picked at their peak of ripeness are also better tasting and full of flavor.
- Purchasing locally grown foods helps support local farms and maintains farmland and open space in your community.
- Local food supports the local economy. The money you spend on products from local farmers and growers stays in the community and is reinvested with other local businesses. In addition, food grown locally, processed locally and distributed locally (for example, to local restaurants) generates jobs and subsequently helps stimulate local economies.
- Local growers can tell you how the food was grown. When you buy directly from farmers, you have the opportunity to ask what practices they use to raise and harvest the crops. When you know where your food comes from and who grew it, you know a lot more about your food.
Seafood seasonality is not dependant on climatic seasons, instead, it is the times when fish are at peak harvest and most abundant. Unless you are directly involved in the fishing industry or live in a coastal community, you probably are not too familiar with this. However, the seasonality of fish has a direct impact on its sustainability. For example, if fish are being harvested during spawning season, stocks could diminish.
- Salmon are in season – from June-September, with peak season typically between June and July.
- Oysters (and other bivalve mollusks such as Geoduck) are filter feeders and use seawater as a sort of circulatory system. The long lifespan and peculiar qualities of bivalves also give them the potential to be in season all year.
- Dungeness Crab – Named for the spit and site of the former coastal town of Dungeness, just outside of Sequim, this prized crustation is plucked straight from the waters of the Pacific Ocean during recreational and commercial fisheries that are typically open from early October through mid-July, dependent on current water quality and population surveys.
Deer, Elk, and other wild game is regulated through USDA for commercial restaurant sales. Resulting in most Olympic Peninsula menus featuring “wild game” such as Elk, actually sourcing from either Oregon or New Zealand farms.
4. Travel for a single taste –
- Sip your way around the LOOP as you sample award-winning local ciders http://olympicciderroute.com/
- Slurp your way around the LOOP as you experience the terroir of local Oysters or the gigantic Geoduck https://www.shellfishtrail.org/
Wine, Potatoes, and Carrots will all lead the “Taste Tourist” on delicious travels around the LOOP!
5. Taste the Personalities behind every label (or in every entree)
- Figuring out why an award-winning winemaker would add the extra miles and headaches to producing wine on the Olympic Peninsula is something to raise a toast to.
- Celebrating a baker, or distiller, or chef who uses Farmer Keith’s Certified Organic grains – grown in the Chimacum Valley – to produce their product pulls together a hyper-local story of collaboration and commitment.
- Chef Dan’s Fireside Restaurant culinary team converts every “Farm Experience” Taste Tourist’s overflowing basket into a one-of-a-kind multi-course dinner using the ingredients they’ve freshly sourced.
- Find out how grandpa’s thrift on sign paint has made this 5th generation family-run shellfish farm a national name for itself.
6. Make any corner of the LOOP your ‘Basecamp’ for a culinary adventure!
“Eat, Do, Stay. Repeat” That’s our 4-step advice for building the perfect culinary itinerary around the LOOP.
a. Pick a town: Port Townsend, Sequim, Ocean Shores, Shelton, Port Angeles, Port Ludlow, Brinnon.
b. Check into a local lodging host that understands foodies and will encourage your desire to be “Taste Tourists”
c. Between bites be sure to Experience a unique Olympic Peninsula excursion. Whether hike to a waterfall, sail, paddle, or walk along the beach. Tour a museum or visit an artisan craftsperson.
d. Eat and Sip. (Tip – be sure to contact the tasting room, farm or restaurant in advance to confirm current hours of operation and make reservations)
Rest, reflect and repeat
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