Taste the Olympic Culinary Loop

Taste the Olympic Culinary Loop

The Olympic Culinary Loop’s 350+ mile trek roughly follows US-Hwy 101 around the Olympic Peninsula for an inviting tour of locally produced food and artisan beverages. Taste the Olympic Culinary Loop by following a four-step recipe: “Eat. Do. Stay. Repeat.” Pick a town as your basecamp. Towns like Port Townsend, Port Ludlow, Sequim, Port Angeles, Ocean Shores, Shelton, or Brinnon, offer lodging hosts who understand the local food scene. They’ll make delicious recommendations that will enhance your stay.

Photo of Finnriver Bites on "Taste the Olympic Culinary Loop" blog
Finnriver Bites | Photo courtesy of Jen Lee Light Photography

Take a Culinary Side Trip

Add in a culinary side trip off US-Hwy 101 to visit stand-alone destinations such as the fertile Chimacum Valley or Port Townsend, dubbed the “Paris of the Pacific Northwest” by Sunset Magazine. An abundance of fresh delicacies are found on the peninsula’s shorelines and farms. Shellfish beds abound. Fertile soils offer a variety of crops to enjoy. It’s easy to see how the Olympic Culinary Loop is a food lover’s year-round playground dedicated to enjoying every bite of the Olympic Peninsula.

Photo of Hood Canal Oysters on "Taste the Olympic Culinary Loop" blog
Hood Canal Oysters | Photo courtesy of Explore Hood Canal

Fertile Farmlands

All four counties on the Olympic Peninsula (Mason, Clallam, Jefferson, and Grays Harbor) are home to dozens of farms boasting an abundance of produce, herbs and creamery products from local dairies. While it could be driven non-stop in approximately eight hours, why not travel at a non-fast-food pace? Stop to sample award-winning ciders and the marine terroir of local oysters. Or taste the bounty from bakers, distillers, or chefs who use Farmer Keith’s Certified Organic grains. These are harvested in the Chimacum Valley to produce grains and breads with a hyper-local story of collaboration and commitment.

Even before Betty MacDonald penned her American classic, “The Egg and I,” the fertile farmlands and waters of the Chimacum Valley have been serving up a bounty of delicious crops and foods. Today the valley is one of the most exciting market baskets fueling the Pacific Northwest’s agritourism industry.

Photo of Finnriver's farm and orchard on "Taste the Olympic Culinary Loop" blog
Finnriver’s farm and orchard is Certified Organic and Salmon Safe | Photo courtesy of Jen Lee Light Photography

Consider teaming up with Chef Dan’s Fireside Restaurant culinary team at the Resort at Port Ludlow. They offer a “Farm Experience” by giving guests a basket to fill when visiting the farms. By the end of the day, it’s overflowing with goodness. The chefs then use the items to create a one-of-a-kind multi-course dinner using the ingredients guests have freshly sourced.

Farm basket | Photo courtesy of Resort at Port Ludlow

Olympic Peninsula Culinary Celebrations

Photo of Crab Fest
Crab Fest | Photo courtesy of Visit Port Angeles – M. Kreuger Photography

Looking for some extra motivation? Come experience some of the many seasonal culinary celebrations around the peninsula such as Apple & Cider Festival or the Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival in October; the Ocean Shores Razor Clam & Seafood Festival in March; the Hood Canal Fjord Fest in May; or the Joyce Daze Blackberry Festival in August. Check out our Events Calendar for full list of festivals.

Photo of Digging for clams on "Taste the Olympic Culinary Loop" blog
Digging for clams | Photo courtesy of Grays Harbor County Fair & Events

Why Taste the Olympic Culinary Loop?

Some may wonder why a taste of the Olympic Culinary Loop is special. Seasonal food is fresher, tastier and more nutritious than food consumed out of season. Even though we all like to eat strawberries year-round, the best time to eat them is when they can be purchased directly from a local grower shortly after harvest. Seasonal fruits and vegetables produced on local farms are fresher, as they do not require long distances for transport. Crops picked at their peak of ripeness are also better tasting, full of flavor and nutrients. Out-of-season produce is harvested early in order to be shipped and distributed to your local retail store. It’s not nearly as delicious!

Photo of Beach at sunset
Beach at sunset | Photo courtesy of Grays Harbor County Fair & Events

Be sure to take breaks between bites to take in an Olympic Peninsula experience. Tour a museum or art gallery. Hike to a waterfall. Get out on the Salish Sea to sail or paddle. Walk along the beach. Click HERE for a suggested tour to eat and enjoy a taste of the Olympic Culinary Loop.

Taste the NE Corner of the Olympic Culinary Loop

Taste fresh farm-to-table fare at:

Fireside Restaurant at the Resort at Port Ludlow Resort, Port Ludlow

Old Alcohol Plant Inn and Spirits Bistro, Port Hadlock

Ajax Café, Port Hadlock

Farms Reach Café, Chimacum

The Finnriver Kitchen, Chimacum

Chimacum Farmers Market (Sundays, 10 am – 2 pm, June-October), Chimacum

By guest blogger Steve Shively, Jefferson County Tourism Coordinating Council and Olympic Culinary Loop

Cover photo courtesy of Resort at Port Ludlow