Guide to Farm and Food Scene (updated 2022)

Living in Port Ludlow, we’re in the heart of one of the best farm and food scenes you’ll find anywhere.

While some say farm-to-table is just a marketing buzzword, here it is truly a way of life. In fact, Port Ludlow is just 10 minutes from the agricultural region of Chimacum Valley, and, of course, it’s also home to one of the region’s very best restaurants, the Fireside.

You can get your morning off to a great start by dining on a farm-to-table breakfast, just minutes, or even steps from your front door. Mouth-watering dishes on the menu feature the fabulous bounty of ingredients that are available locally, like SpringRain farm-fresh eggs, Mystery Bay goat cheese and roasted Finnriver berries. If it’s a Saturday, you’ll be able to venture over to Port Townsend to check out the offerings at the Port Townsend Farmers Market, frequently named as one of the state’s best small-town markets.

Olympic Peninsula cuisine combines sustainable locally-grown and foraged fruits, vegetables, herbs and berries, the abundant local sea fare, locally hunted game, and even handcrafted local wines instill a unique sense of place.

This piece was revised and updated in March 2022.  Due to COVID guidelines and restrictions operating hours may vary.  Please reach out to establishment to confirm information.

Port Ludlow Restaurants

The Fireside Restaurant. Tucked into the west end of the Resort at Port Ludlow, the Fireside takes farm-to-table dining to a whole new level, thanks to Executive Chef Dan Ratigan, who’s spent years cultivating relationships with the area’s farmers and fish mongers, using local produce meats, fish and artisan foods, as well as taking advantage of seasonal bounties, to create the fabulous dishes on the seasonal Fireside menus. Chef Dan and his team are serious about farm-to-table, and you’ll notice the difference in every dish. Savor produce that was picked from local farmers and put onto your plate the very same day, and take a bite of marbled Neah Bay salmon, something that only exists right here in the Pacific Northwest.

Ratigan told the that 10 times more farmers were interviewed than the Fireside brought in to be its producers. They were only seeking those who bring “passion to their products,” and you can taste the results in each bite.

The dinner menu changes daily, featuring items like Jidori Chicken with Nash’s Farm Cheesy Polenta, Quillayute River Steelhead with SpringRain Farm Braising Greens, and Country Natural Beef Tenderloin Medallions. On the seasonally-changing lunch menu, you might find delights like Chef Dan’s Mac and Cheese and fresh, local steamer clams, along with a wide range tasty soups, sandwiches, and salads.

Chef Dan in front of a map featured in the Fireside that showcases the proximity of vendor farms.

On a sunny day, you can enjoy sipping a cocktail or a glass of wine from the extensive, award-winning selection on the veranda, soaking up the views of tranquil Ludlow Bay, along with kayaks, yachts, and occasional seaplane that glide across the water. You might even catch a glimpse of a bald eagle soaring overhead while otters and harbor seals swim by.

El Molcajete. One of Port Ludlow’s newest dining establishments, located in the Village Center, El Molcajete is a family run business utilizing fresh ingredients and recipes from the family’s rich Mexican heritage.

GBF (God Bless Food). Originally a catering company, GBF pivoted during COVID to offer the Port Ludlow community curbside pickup dinners to go.

Cove Coffee. Cove Coffee is a drive-thru coffee stand centrally located in the Port Ludlow Village Center.

Other Area Restaurants

While residents have a number of outstanding choices right at home, there are a wealth of exceptional dining options within a 30-minute drive of Port Ludlow too, including several highly rated “farm-to-table” restaurants.

Farms Reach Café, Chimacum. A locals’ favorite for breakfast and lunch, the Farms Reach Café showcases the bounty of area farms in every dish, including those edible flower garnishes. It attracts a mix of locals and tourists who come for the incredible area of baked goods, like tart rhubarb-filled pastries, local farm spring mix salad greens tossed with house-made balsamic vinaigrette and organic egg sandwiches with Tillamook cheddar cheese.

Chimacum Corner Kitchen, Chimacum. The Chimacum Corner Farmstand is a natural grocery store and plant nursery located at the Chimacum intersection. The Corner Kitchen prepares bakery item staples like cookies, tapioca, cakes and grab and go deli options including pre-made salads, hot soups, and a variety of sandwiches including vegan and gluten-free selections.

Finnriver, Chimacum.  Finnriver’s Cidery hosts a variety of food vendors as well as their own kitchen offerings.  Dented Buoy offers flatbread style pizzas baked in a woodfired oven made from a reclaimed marine buoy made with locally sourced and seasonal toppings.  Fiddlehead Creamery is a Port Townsend based company that offers locally sourced, organic non-dairy ice cream.  The 100% vegan artisanal ice cream is made in small batches with a seasonally rotating menu with creative flavors including Horchata, Avocado Mint Chip or Cardamom Rose. Previous vendors have included Hamma Hamma Oysters.

Fountain CaféA hidden gem near the historic Haller Fountain in Port Townsend the Fountain Café is another favorite with locals and visitors alike. The restaurant uses only the freshest ingredients and is also committed to supporting small and locally-owned businesses. Local seafood, organically grown greens, herbs and veggies feature prominently in its dishes. Organic, locally-baked baguettes are served with soups and salads, while entrees include items like Northwest smoked salmon, Cioppino made with Marrowstone Island mussels and clams, and natural grass-fed rack of lamb from Oregon’s Anderson’s Ranches.

Owl Sprit CaféThe Owl Spirit Café is also a local favorite with made-from-scratch meals using locally sourced, organic ingredients. Enjoy the daily-changing homemade soups, local Pane d’Amore breads, local beef from Short’s Family Farm and heavenly desserts.

Farmers Markets

There are a number of local area farmers markets, including two in Jefferson County where you can shop, eat and meet your local farmers.

Photograph by Andrew Wiese.

Port Townsend. Port Townsend’s Farmers Market has received many accolades, including being named one of the best small town farmers markets in Washington State and the very best in the Northwest. This lively community hub in the Uptown neighborhood offers top-notch food and produce from local farms and crafters along with works of art, chef demos, live music performances and more. There are over 70 vendors every week (Saturdays 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., April through December), including farms, cideries, bakers, artisan cheese makers, soaps, herbal salves, flowers, espresso and coffee, and lots more.

Chimacum. The Chimacum Farmers Market is open on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., June through October. While it may not be the biggest, it does offer plenty of rural charms. Bring your four-legged friends, and go shopping for farm-fresh produce along with local eggs, beef, crafts, espresso and live music. The market hopes to bring back kids activities, which have been on hold due to COVID, providing the perfect opportunity to bring the kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews and what have you to enjoy all sorts of crafts, music, stories and games.

Farm Visits

If you don’t meet the farmer you hope to while visiting one of the farmers’ markets, you may be able to go straight to the farm, as some open to the public for tours, and/or offer stands where in-season produce and other items can be purchased directly.  It’s a great joy for visitors and an incredible opportunity for those who live here.

While not all are open for tours, every year in September Jefferson County hosts a farm tour that allows attendees to visit with many of our working farms and connect with local farms.  The 20th Annual Jefferson County Farm Tour will be held September 17-18, 2022 with both on-site and virtual offerings, celebrating the locally grown food, fiber and farm-made products.

It’s a wonderful way to find out what it really takes to be a small farmer, why it’s often so hard for them to be in business, and why it’s so important to support them. You’ll have the chance to see exactly where your food comes from, how it’s grown, and get to know who grows it.

If you’ve been thinking about starting your own farm, farm visits and tours can be an excellent source of useful information, where you can meet and interact with others who are passionate about farming.

Some of the farms that can be visited outside of this special farm tour as well include:

Finnriver Farm, Chimacum. This 33-acre Certified Organic family farm and artisan cidery is one of the region’s most popular. Located a few miles south of Chimacum Corner, you can swing by to enjoy delicious, award-winning ciders from fruit grown on the farm, which has its own organic apple orchard with more than 5,500 trees, including 20 varieties of heirloom and traditional cider apple types. Finnriver also grows two acres of organic blueberries, primarily sold at the local farmers markets and stores like the Port Townsend Food Coop and Chimacum Corner Farmstand, but if you join its Berry Club, you’ll be on the list to attend the U-Pick events, where you can pick your own berries. The farm also grows a variety of vegetables, flowers, squash, and produces organic stone-milled flours.

Red Dog Farm, Chimacum. Red Dog Farm is located just steps from Chimacum Corner and runs a CSA program 10 months of the year. You can also stop by the self-service, honor system farm stand that offers fresh, in-season produce as well as seasonal plants and cut flowers.

Mystery Bay Farm, Nordland. Mystery Bay Farm is a five-acre family farm located on Marrowstone Island. The WSDA-certified Grade A Dairy produces farmstead, goat milk cheeses and yogurt that are all available for general sale. Owner Rachael Van Laanen shared, “Trying to create a truly sustainable farming system grows from observation of natural systems from which the word ‘sustainable: resilient, adaptable, evolving and thus stable’, is derived. We believe that farming can be done in an ecologically, economically and socially responsible manner.”

Educational farm tours, cheese making classes, and farm dinners are offered as well. By scheduling a tour in advance, you can meet the goats as well as tour the milk- and cheese-making facility. Van Laanen notes that while “anytime is great to schedule a tour, in the springtime, March and April, there are always baby goats.”

SpringRain Farm, Chimacum. SpringRain is a 28-acre certified organic farm producing a wide assortment of berry crops including strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, currants, gooseberries, boysenberries, and blackberries, along with eggs, chickens, turkeys, and lambs. A large orchard is home to honey bees, heirloom apples and pears, nuts and asparagus. Its farm stand is open year-round, seven days a week. The self-service, honor-style stand is stocked with eggs, meat, jams, fruit and vegetables, straight from the farm.

Wilderbee Farm, Port Townsend. This certified organic family farm is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday, April through October from 12:00 to 5:00 p.m. offering u-pick lavender, flowers, and pumpkins. The farm also raises hens, honeybees and a rare breed of British Soay sheep. The farm store is stocked with lavender essential oils, lotions, soaps, balms and dried bouquets as well as unique woodcrafts made on the farm. On Saturdays & Sundays 12:00 to 5:00pm year-round, visitors can enjoy mead tastings at the farm’s meadery specializing in handcrafted traditional and barrel-aged meads. Visitors are welcome to feed the sheep, bring a picnic, and explore the farm’s scenic nature trails during open hours.