Bounty of the Sea
Oregon is rich with natural resources and for the coast, one stand out is our seafood industry. Dungeness crab, salmon, pink shrimp, albacore tuna, Pacific whiting, oysters, clams….we love our seafood. For those visiting our state, particularly inlanders, there is huge appeal to jumping aboard a charter vessel in search of an elusive salmon, or kneeling in wet sand to dig for clams. For visitors, this may be a once-in-a-lifetime adventure and one that will become a well-loved memory. For those actually involved in the fisheries, it is particularly important to continue to improve and shape our sustainable harvest. Oregon’s goal is to create food cycles that are ecologically balanced and produce quality product year after year.
Each fall season, we love to celebrate and pay tribute to the bounty that the ocean offers up by spotlighting its goodness with an array of culinary endeavors. For the next few months you have your choice of delicacies, so come on over the Coast Range, enjoy the fall foliage on your way, and settle in to indulge your taste buds.
The second weekend of August, you can visit the 27th annual Charleston Seafood Festival (August 10-11). This family friendly event includes live music from country to jazz, games and contests for the kidlets, beer and wine and of course, lots of seafood. Walk around vendor booths full of ceramics, glass art, woodwork, activities and more. Enjoy what the south coast has to offer during those sunny, cool autumn days.
The 4th annual Newport Wild Seafood Weekend, produced by the Newport Fishermen’s Wives, returns to the Yaquina bay front on September 7-8. Opportunities to do “dock walks” will be offered for those interested in visiting the fishing vessels and learning more about the fishing fleet. Education areas manned by NOAA and USCG staff will be among the many vendor booths along the port area. Bay cruises are available and raffle prizes and more will delight attendees. The newly opened Maritime & Heritage Museum will be open for self-guided tours, and the famous Wild Seafood Cook-off will round out Saturday’s schedule.
On September 14-15, the north coast and south coast both offer fun activities. Astoria Commercial Fishermen’s Festival will once again feature “Deadliest Catch” stars, plus food, craft and wine vendors. This two day event will showcase and educate attendees about seafood products, productivity and in general, the fishing industry.
That same weekend, roughly six hours to the south, North Bend will host the 10th annual Mill Luck Salmon Celebration. This is a celebration of Native American and Coquille Tribal culture, including canoe races and exhibitions, rides, and Native drummers and dancers. Huge slabs of fresh salmon prepared in the open-pit manner will be spotlighted at the annual Salmon Bake. A marketplace will be offering traditional wares and food, games and activities to participate in. Bring your whole family and enjoy this cultural experience.
After several weeks’ break, on November 2, you can come back to Newport for the 13th annual Oyster Cloyster, a celebration of all things oysters. Oregon Oyster Farm, just six miles up the Yaquina Bay Road, is the oldest farm (founded in 1907), and is part of an oyster industry that makes the west coast the leading producer of oysters, over both the east and gulf coasts. This farm is currently growing millions of Pacific and Kumamotos each year and local chefs thankfully take advantage of the incredibly fresh bi-valves delivered to their restaurants along the coast. Oyster Cloyster is a competition between chefs whose main objective is to create the tastiest, most unique dish for competition. Past entries include Asian “Yoi-Ster Bomb, a Malaysian oyster and shitake stew; Oysters With Crème Fraiche & Caviar; and Honey Cured Smoked Oysters On a Cornmeal Parmesan Pancake With Citris Aioli. Whaaaat!? It IS a culinary delight…join us.
So there you have it….all the seafood you could ask for. Come out to the coast and enjoy an epicurean experience. You won’t be disappointed.
Submitted by: Kim Voetberg