Eat Local! 10 Things to Try from Forest, Farm, and Sea
Though it’s a relatively narrow slice of land, the 135 north-south miles of the Southern Oregon Coast hosts a diversity of environments—bay, lake, ocean, estuary, coastal forest, river, and farm (to name but a few). Pair this variety with a climate hospitable to growing, and it’s easy to understand why this region is one of the West Coast’s up-and-coming culinary destinations.
Over the last years, Southern Oregon Coast communities have been creating new ways for people to access more of the region’s bounty. The Wild Rivers Coast Food Trail maps the farms, restaurants, breweries and sellers of this bounty-rich region. (You’ll find a downloadable map to the food trail in the footer of the website.)
Building on the community effort, many Live Culture Coast experiences feature Wild Rivers Coast Food Trail stops. Hosted by the farmers, chefs, and brewers themselves, these farm and food experiences give you a deeper connection to the tastes of the region—and the people and places that are growing and creating them.
No matter what you love to eat or drink, add one of these culinary experiences to your Live Culture Coast trip.
1. Cranberries from Local Farms
Upwards of 99 percent of Oregon’s cranberry harvest comes from the Southern Coast—and Bowman Bogs is one farm where you can see cranberry farming up close. The Bowman family has lived on the southern Oregon coast for five generation, and Dennis Bowman has managed cranberry production for more than 30 years. Their cranberries are the known for their deep red hue and exceptional flavor.
Taste It at Live Culture Coast— Wednesday, October 23: Cranberries, Music + Art: A Great Night Out! The night features two tickets to sample Grandpa Jack’s Cranberry Syrups.
2. Shellfish and Seafood from the Intertidal Zone
That “high-energy zone” where waves crash and tides roll in and recede is called the intertidal zone—it’s home to barnacles, mussels, crabs, urchins and more. Do you know which ones you can eat? With the help of a marine biologist, get a taste of what lives here as you walk a stretch of beach.
Taste It at Live Culture Coast— Sunday, October 27. Taste of the Intertidal.
Local Hosts— Oregon State University’s Port Orford Field Station
3. Freshwater Fish, Fir Tips, and Foraged Foods from Lakeside
On a sandy, palm-dotted lakefront beach, tuck into a lake-to-table meal and taste your surrounds—literally. About a mile inland from the coast, the town of Lakeside has access to freshwater catch all year owing to Tenmile Lake—as well as forest delights, including mushrooms and fir tips. This special evening shows you the wide variety of foods that can be harvested from the coast and its “edge environments.”
Taste It at Live Culture Coast— Saturday, October 19: Lake-to-Table Meal
Local Hosts— Lakeside Revitalization Partnership and the City of Lakeside
4. Cider from Bandon
When a storage shed on this working cranberry farm was turned into housing for a cider press, this third-generation cranberry farm started a new line of business. When you taste the flavors that site-grown cranberries add to a glass of cider, you’ll understand why Bandon Rain’s cider biz has taken off.
Taste It at Live Culture Coast— Monday, October 21: Cidery Tour +Tasting
Local Host— Bandon Rain
5. Sablefish, Salmon, and Seafood from Port Orford
Formed in 2009, Port Orford Sustainable Seafood (POSS) is a Community Supported Fishery that pays fair wages to local fishermen and keeps more of the Port Orford catch in Oregon. Members order from the online marketplace and then pick up their sablefish, rockfish, albacore, salmon, crab (and more) at locations in Oregon. Even better is that members actually get to know the most important person on their plate—their local fisherman.
Taste It at Live Culture Coast—Thursday, October 24. Sustainable Seafood Cooking Demo. Can’t make it for class? Redfish Restaurant always has locally caught seafood on the menu—in a dining room with spectacular ocean views.
6. Local Foods from Local Markets
The Southern Oregon Coast has many local food stores with locally grown products you won’t find at their chain-store grocery brethren. Even better is that these stores have strong relationships with communities, growers, and local food vendors. These market owners are true community-builders. For Live Culture Coast, each is hosting experiences that celebrate food, fermentation and local producers.
Taste It at Live Culture Coast—
7. Fresh Produce, Pickled Properly
When you know how to pickle and preserve food at home, you can have the taste of summer, spring, and fall all year round. You can learn to preserve food safely with Oregon State University Extension. The program gives home cooks the techniques and confidence to can, pickle, and ferment Oregon’s incredible bounty themselves.
Taste It at Live Culture Coast— Friday, October 25: Fermentation 101.
Led by one of OSU’s Master Food Preservers, learn to make your own sauerkraut—and get answers to all of your pressing pickling and preserving questions.
Local Host— OSU Extension Master Food Preservers
8. Small-Batch Beers from Coast Breweries
The Southern Oregon Coast is lucky to have brewers who are as committed to building strong local communities as they are to small-batch brewing. Brew enthusiasts take note: Many of these beers are available for tasting only here on the coast (or in parts Oregon). These are the kinds of breweries where you can still meet the brewers, who often will take the time to share their passion for beer with you. Personal connections like that are exactly what sharing a beer is all about.
Taste It at Live Culture Coast—
9. Farm-Fresh Produce, Grown Locally
Nestled on the banks of Floras Creek near Langlois, Valley Flora is mother-and-two-daughter collective. The all-female family of famers grows more than 100 different vegetables, berries, and fruits year-round. The family is committed to ecological and organic farming—and you can taste the flavor of that commitment in everything they grow.
Taste It at Live Culture Coast— Valley Flora is a farm stop on our Live Culture Coast route. During the month of October, the farm stand is open Wednesdays and Saturdays, 10-2. Find directions to the farm here.
Local Hosts— Valley Flora Farm
For Southern Oregon Coast bakers, bread making (and bread breaking) is not just a business—it’s an act of community building. Naturally leavened breads, in particular, celebrate the joy of breadmaking. These breads takes patience, practice, science, and lots of trial and error—and they rise to the level of art.
Taste It at Live Culture Coast—