Feed your summer adventures
Wednesday, August 14, 2019
It’s mid-August, that moment when it still feels like summer but foggy mornings and cooler nights are reminding us that fall is just around the corner.
Suddenly you realize you need to get out there and do everything on your summer to-do list. Maybe you thought you’d finally hike Oyster Dome, or take a ferry to the San Juans, or head up the Skagit to spend a day on the river. In any case, a good day trip requires a good picnic. Here are a few great places to stock up on supplies for a Skagit County picnic.
You can’t go wrong with a first stop in Edison. I’ve been raving about Slough Food for years and I don’t plan to stop any time soon, as R. John DeGloria is still offering freshly sliced prosciutto, high-quality salumi, a wide selection of local and imported cheese, and wine in his shop next door to the Breadfarm (where you will obviously want to go to pick up a loaf for your picnic).
There’s also a delightful courtyard behind the shop, overlooking Edison Slough, in case you decide to scrap your travel plans and just picnic there all afternoon instead. Edison also includes Farm to Market Bakery for pastries, or Mariposa for enormous burritos, along with Taylor Shellfish just up the road for all your bivalve needs. Not to mention the shop at Samish Bay Cheese and the goat cheese honor box at Gothberg Farms, plus various other farm stands. You are not going to starve in Edison.
If your route takes you through Mount Vernon, you’re required (seriously!) to stop at the Skagit Valley Food Co-op. I may be biased, as a 20-year member-owner, but their deli is the best one-stop-shop I can think of—and it just keeps getting better. Cheese? They have one of the best cheese cases in the valley, including plenty of local makers. Meat? The Co-op now has their own charcuterie operation, called Cured, plus a selection of other specialty meats. The deli makes their own array of dips and spreads, and there’s a huge olive bar. They even have their own bakery. You can get custom sandwiches to go (or grain salads, or empanadas, or wraps, etc. etc.) or assemble your own feast. Don’t forget their house-made ice cream bars.
Heading upriver? The Woolley Market in downtown Sedro-Woolley, located in the old JC Penney building, is a charming space with groceries, a sandwich counter, and plenty of beverage options to make sure you don’t run dry. Or stop by on your way back in the evening to catch some live music.
If your plans for the day involve a ferry, or perhaps a hike in the Anacortes Forestlands, Gere-a-Deli in downtown Anacortes is the obvious choice for a packed lunch to take with you. Unfortunately, it’s the obvious stop for everybody else as well. A recent trip to pick up sandwiches for a day hike (on a Monday!) involved a 20-minute wait in line to order, but it was worth it.
Any kind of deli sandwich you can imagine is available here, plus soups and salads and an array of baked goods to fill out your caloric needs. There’s something about sitting on a mossy bank or warm boulder overlooking the water while inhaling a large pastrami sandwich that just can’t be beat.
Ferndale’s Little Italy
For a great Italian culinary experience, it’s not necessary to cross an ocean—or even leave Whatcom County.
Instead, head straight to Leader Block Wine Co. and Eatery. The moment you walk in, you’ll forget you’re in Ferndale, as owners Robert Pinkney, Amberleigh Brownson, and Brett…
High tea and history
If you love history, get on I-5 and take the Sedro-Woolley exit. Your destination is the Northern State Hospital campus, a massive expanse of land that comprises woodlands, green lawns, hospital buildings and an old farm site, and is gradually being colonized to accommodate new businesses…
Cool as a cucumber
At an overpriced tapas joint, I recently took a chance on charred cucumber salad. The dish sounded counterintuitive, to put it delicately. We keep cucumbers cool, so they can keep us cool.
I got $16 worth of sliced, blackened sogginess, plastered to chunks of goat cheese. Yet another…