The third edition of the Culinary Adventure Map was recently released by the Olympic Culinary Loop. Nearly doubling in size from its original 27 locations to 53, it highlights some of the Olympic Peninsula's top farm to table culinary providers. In addition to food and beverage producers, there are restaurants and lodgings in the mix. I recently went on a 220-mile road trip using the new Culinary Adventure Map, enjoying numerous stops along the way -- from Port Townsend's Alchemy Bistro & Wine Bar to Hama Hama Seafood Company on the Hood Canal in Lilliwaup. Six of them are featured here.
The Olympic Culinary Loop celebrates Olympic Coast Cuisine, which reflects the diverse microclimates, coastal proximity and Native American heritage of the Olympic Peninsula. The bounty of the four-county region includes locally grown fruits, vegetables, herbs, berries, honey, seafood and locally raised poultry, beef, pork and lamb -- along with handcrafted wines, ciders and artisan spirits. The maps are available at visitor information centers on the Olympic Peninsula and a printable version may be found on the Olympic Culinary Loop website. The website also includes culinary activities and events through the year, from January's Strange Brewfest in Port Townsend to Grayland's Cranberry Festival in October. A new mobile app will be available at the end of April 2014.
Chimacum Corner Farmstand
The Chimacum Corner Farmstand ("Your Food From Here") has become a hub for the farming community in and around Chimacum. It embraces local farmers and food makers, and has brought new life to this corner. Among the numerous offerings is honey by Sailings Orchards & Apiary, the only bulk honey available on the peninsula. Hand scooped ice cream by Port Townsend's Elevated Ice Cream Company will be offered starting May 1. The store is open daily from 9AM to 7PM.
Quilcene Village Store
Quilcene Village Store was a gas station that fell on tough times and closed in 2003. The building was purchased and remodeled by local investors, with plenty of community help. In 2011, it reopened as a gas station and grocery store. Local products are featured, and other items you don't expect to find at a convenience store, including organic and gluten-free. Don't miss the cool purple neon sign at night.
The Geoduck Restaurant & Lounge
The Geoduck Restaurant & Lounge overlooks Hood Canal in the small town of Brinnon. The popular tavern is famous for its Burger Dip (a combo hamburger and French dip), but the Taylor Shellfish oysters and hand cut fries lured me in. The restaurant has been a destination since 1938 and attracts loggers, hunters (lots of wildlife on the walls), bikers, tourists and families. In 2011, it was included in Esquire magazine's Best Bars in America.
Hama Hama Seafood Company
Hama Hama Company is a family-owned business in Lilliwaup that started in 1922. The timber and oyster farm is now run by the fifth generation of the Robbins family. Famous for its oysters, stop by to watch some shucking (that's Hama Hama's Juan Aguilar in the photo); buy some oysters or clams to take home; or order off the lunch menu and enjoy with a beverage in the outdoor waterfront dining area.
Finnriver Farm & Cidery
Chimacum's Finnriver Farm & Cidery is an organic family farm and artisan cidery where you can "taste life on the land" via handcrafted hard ciders and spirited fruit wines. Owners Keith and Crystie Kisler, who started farming their 33 acres in 2004, opened the tasting room six years later. In addition to the tasting room, woodfired pizza from Dented Buoy & Finnriver's craft cider are featured from 12-5 in the summer during Sundays at Finnriver, along with live acoustic music. The tasting room is open daily.
Fireside Restaurant at The Resort at Port Ludlow
The Fireside's Farm to Table Dinner Series this summer celebrates local farms on the Olympic Peninsula. Each six-course tasting menu, prepared by Fireside Chef Dan Ratigan, also includes an evening with the farmer. The featured farms are SpringRain Farm & Orchard, June 27; Dharma Ridge Farm, July 18; Finnriver Farm & Cidery, August 29; Red Dog Farm, September 19. Book online at Brown Paper Tickets. The Fireside is located at The Resort at Port Ludlow, with views out to the marina and the Olympic Mountains.