Who's Excited for Summer?
I sure am, and along with the warmer weather comes all the lovely local produce!
Right now here at Coho Restaurant and our partnering inns, the Tucker House Inn
and Harrison House Suites
, we are enjoying the radishes, asparagus and baby greens that prefer the cooler temperatures of Spring. In our greenhouse, we're babying along the tomatoes, squash and some finicky herbs until Summer heats things up and hopefully stay that way for a few months.
Strawberries are only a few weeks away, and I'm always so impatient for “real” tomatoes that I'm already almost drooling.
Washington is fortunate to have several extremely fertile regions, and we look forward to the seasonal abundance it brings every year. The Skagit Valley, Yakima Valley, and Walla Walla Valley all offer up some of the region's finest produce. The Walla Walla area is also establishing itself as a legitimate wine country. (Check out photos from our recent Walla Walla Winemaker's Dinner series in our blog). The Okanagan is full of orchards that supply us all with apples, pears, cherries etc. Meanwhile, the Palouse is full of wheat fields, lentil fields and other similar crops.
There are also several wonderful family owned dairys throughout the state. These small businesses produce many artisan cow, goat and sheep dairy products that are sometimes featured here at Coho Restaurant.
On both the east and west sides of Washington are forests that offer berries, mushrooms, and greenery. The coast has an abundance of shellfish and other seafood available. One great perk of being on an island is that the fish is always fresh!
Island Grown Produce
The San Juan Islands themselves have an impressive array of farms producing everything from apples to peas to lamb. Our team at Coho Restaurant is proud to support the island farms. We appreciate the passion and effort the farmers invest in their products. The Farmer's Market here in Friday Harbor runs from April to October and is every Saturday 9:30am-1. Be sure to check it out if you are here when it's running!
One Last Tip
Foraging is also wonderful here on the islands. Stinging nettles are shooting up everywhere right now. While this means a bit of attention must be paid when walking in the woods, they are a great ingredient in the kitchen. Once properly processed, they can be cooked much like spinach or added to sauces such as pesto and chimichuri. Another bonus, nettles are high in vitamin C.
If you happen to be exploring one of the salt marshes or sea shore, keep your eyes peeled for sea beans, sea lettuces and of course sea weed.
In July and August there are abundant blackberries to enjoy if you are willing to brave the thorns. In my opinion a few scratches are totally worth it for a fresh blackberry pie or the opportunity to whip up some blackberry jam. Yum, yum!