One of the things we enjoy about traveling is the opportunity to sample local foods. I don’t think there’s any better place than Lopez Island to be a locavore (the general parameter being a diet comprised of foods that are grown within a 100-mile radius). We make an exception for chocolate and coffee, which we consider to be essential food groups.
On Lopez, local farmers cultivate not only vegetables and fruits, but also raise beef, lamb, pork, goats, chickens, eggs, and even oysters, clams, and mussels. Self-serve farm stands dot the island, but the premier farm stand on Lopez (and perhaps on the planet) is located within biking distance of our campsite. Horse Drawn Farm, a family homestead with a self-serve farm stand, is open daily; payment is via an honor system cash box stuffed with bills. They grow a gorgeous array of vegetables and herbs, and raise lamb, pork, and beef, all organically. Actually, they go far beyond organic, tilling their fields with a horse-drawn plow and harvesting by hand.
Just another half-mile down the road is Crowfoot Farm, a you-pick organic berry farm with the best (and biggest and sweetest) raspberries we’ve ever tasted, as well as a crop of delicious strawberries that can be harvested from June until September. We enjoy biking to pick berries, riding back to camp with boxes of berries bungee-corded to our bikes. I had visions of making raspberry jam at camp, but the berries somehow always disappeared before I fulfilled that unrealistic plan.
I told Eric that I’ve now exceeded my previous lifetime consumption of Dungeness crab. The bays are brimming with crab, and we’ve enjoyed crab at least twice a week in the form of crab cakes, crab omelets, crab with lemon butter and capers or a fresh tomato sauce over polenta, and in crab tacos. And, of course, just straight crab, cracked and messy and delicious and best eaten outdoors, where the flying pieces of shell don’t stick to the walls. Our new friends (and co-camp hosts) Dan and Penny are dedicated and skilled crabbers, and generously kept us supplied with fresh steamed crab from the day the season opened in early July until we left the island in early September.
To top it all off, Lopez Vineyards produces a wonderful selection of organic wines. We’ve visited a couple of times with friends, and had a great time trying the wines and wandering through the vineyard and gardens. It’s wonderfully easy to eat and drink well—and locally—on Lopez. We’re savoring those memories, knowing that we’re heading into parts of the country where the food selections veer toward offerings from Little Debbie and Oscar Meyer. [portfolio_slideshow]