An Overview of Oregon Local Foods

Guide to Oregon Local Foods

I've eaten a lot of good food in this life, and a lot of it has been in Oregon. Amazing produce, plenty of small and well tended restaurants, and a do-it-yourself ethos leads to some fabulous eating. Learn more about the local foods of Oregon and eating locally there below. Have a favorite aspect of local Oregon eating? Email me to tell me what I've missed!

  • 01 of 08

    Oregon Seasonal Fruits & Vegetables

    Stinging Nettles. Photo © Molly Watson

    There is no shortage of fresh, local food available in Oregon. The state enjoys amazing growing conditions. Sure, the season is a bit shorter than in its gigantic neighbor to the south, but the results are all the sweeter for having to had struggled through a cooler winter. 

  • 02 of 08

    Oregon Farmers Markets

    Beets and Carrots at Market
    Beets and Carrots at Market. Photo © Molly Watson

    Oregon is full to the rafters with excellent farmers markets. Most run May or June into October or November, and some open again for "holiday markets" selling seasonal goods. More and more markets are adding winter hours, though, so keep your eyes and ears open for chances to find more super-fresh foods. 

  • 03 of 08

    Oregon Specialties: Berries

    Blackberries. Photo © Molly Watson

    Yikes, the berries they grow in Oregon blow my mind. They really really do. So sweet, so juicy, so lovely. There are plenty of all the berries, although the state is best known for its blackberries (Marionberries to be specific), excellent blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are to be found as well. While California growers have taken over the national market for strawberries, those still grown in Oregon are grown for local sale, which means they are varieties that don't keep well—those sweet, small, juicy berries that are best eaten a day or two after being picked—and are well worth seeking out at farmers markets and farm stands. 

  • 04 of 08

    Oregon Specialties: Dungeness Crab

    Dungeness Crab
    Dungeness Crab. Photo © Molly Watson

    Portland's native son, none other than the ultimate foodie before foodies were a thing, James Beard, famously called a smack-down on lobster - letting everyone know what West Coasters have always known: Dungeness crab kicks lobster's butt. Sweet, meaty, sustainable, and absolutely fabulous. Oregon has a large sustainable commercial harvest and a season that runs over half the year. Yum. 

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Oregon Specialties: Wild Mushrooms

    Morel Mushrooms. Photo © Molly Watson

    Wild mushrooms love the cool mountains and warm summers of Oregon. Look for morels starting in the late spring, then it will morph into chanterelle season, and before you know it fall will be upon you and farmers markets and restaurant menus will be awash in wild mushrooms of all sorts.

  • 06 of 08

    Oregon Specialties: Wild Salmon

    Fileted Wild Salmon
    Fileted Wild Salmon. Photo © Molly Watson

    Fresh wild salmon is a traditional specialty in Oregon, even if much of the wild salmon eaten in Oregon these days comes from Alaska. Learn about different Types of Pacific Salmon here and then see How to Cook Salmon. To experience a taste of Oregon, you'd need to plank your salmon. Traditional planked salmon isn't cooked on a slab of cedar wood (although that version is delicious), but rather full filets are threaded onto cedar sticks and cooked over a live flame. For a reasonable facsimile, try making this Grilled Salmon.

  • 07 of 08

    Oregon Specialties: Hazelnuts

    Closeup of a heap of hazelnuts
    Tuomas Lehtinen Getty Images

    Oregon grows a lot of hazelnuts. Look for them at farmers markets, co-ops, and restaurant menus. They keep, obviously, but that new crop of nuts every fall sure tastes good.

  • 08 of 08

    Oregon Specialties: Pink Shrimp

    Red Shrimp
    Krakozawr Getty Images

    The small sweet pink shrimp harvested off the Oregon is not only delicious, it's a sustainably managed fishery. In these times when foreign farmed shrimp and foreign-caught shrimp is highly suspect, you can buy delicious Oregon pink shrimp without worrying about destroying the ocean or exploiting fishermen.