Pack Your Oregon Coast Picnic
Oregonians love to eat local, especially when it comes to the bounty of fresh-baked breads, artisan meats and cheeses, sweets and handcrafted beverages on the Coast.
But often it’s way more fun to curate and pack your own homegrown picnic instead, and tote it to the beach, the campground, the bike trails or the mountain.
Luckily, there are more than a dozen farmers markets up and down the Coast throughout the summer months that let you do just that. Some are longtime community traditions that are packed with throngs of visitors; others are truly local affairs that are nonetheless charming.
Some are Saturdays or Sundays; others are midweek. Just check websites before you go to make sure. There are summer markets in Astoria (Sundays), Bandon (Fridays and Saturdays), Brookings (Saturdays), Cannon Beach (Tuesdays), Coos Bay (Wednesdays), Lincoln City (Sundays), Manzanita (Fridays), Newport (Saturdays), Port Orford (Saturdays), Yachats (Sundays), Tillamook (Saturdays), Toledo (Thursdays) and Waldport (Wednesdays), among others.
Wherever you go on the Coast, take time to get to know the friendly farmers, independent artisans and community members. Here’s a roundup of some of the Oregon Coast’s lesser-known handmade provisions.
- Locally Baked Bread
Right on Alsea Bay in Waldport, Pacific Sourdough is famous for their scratch-made specialty breads, made with Northwest-grown wheat flours, organic nuts, spices and seeds. Pile their sourdough or sprouted wheat sandwich bread high with locally made butter and artisan cheese for an instant picnic basket favorite. Don’t be surprised if you step out with a box full of their exquisite pastries and other desserts too.
- Fresh-Caught Seafood
F/V Sonja’s Wild Pacific Albacore promises that their locally-caught tuna is the freshest you can buy in a can. Lifelong Astoria fisherman Dave Stevenson offers the solid white flaky goodness in four varieties: with and without salt added, hickory smoked packed in canola oil, and jalapeno and garlic. Don’t forget the can opener and some fresh lettuce for an impromptu nicoise salad.
- Artisan Cheese
Geez Smoked Cheese, a family-run cheesemaker based in Florence, started when native Oregonian George Bowles started experimenting with smoked meats, then branched into cheeses in 2014. His picnic-perfect blocks of creamy aged white cheddar, swiss and pepperjack make ideal slices for any sandwich or pinot pairing.
- Gourmet treats
Jennifer and Paul ‘Ginger’ Ingram run Gingifer’s Kitchen from their homebase in Lincoln City, cranking out small-batch artisan jams and pickles made with love. Try their strawberry, balsamic and black pepper jam or Eclipse signature jam — a blend of black raspberry and marionberry to celebrate the Aug. 21, 2017 total eclipse — and a jar of spicy bread & butter pickles for lovely balance.
- Craft Beverages
Winemaker Ray Shackelford at Nehalem Bay Winery in Nehalem has fun producing summertime classics — red, white and fruit wines like chardonnay, peach, plum and cranberry wines in addition to the classic pinot noir and pinot gris. Since they’re made with local fruit, check out their seasonal offerings all summer long.
Story by Jen Anderson
Photo courtesy of Tillamook Coast (pictured is the Manzanita Farmers Market)