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Island Blog

Fruits, Flowers & Flavor

Heritage orchards and fields of flowers create a sweet harvest for dedicated artisan producers

 

 

Girl Meets Dirt

After 10 years on Wall Street, Audra Lawlor walked away to it all. She and her husband landed on Orcas Island, eager to create their island story. After hearing about Orcas Island’s rich agricultural history as the largest fruit producer in the state before the 1930s, they began to forage abandoned orchards for heritage fruit. Lawlor created Girl Meets Dirt Archipelago Preserves, from pears, apples, quince, plums and a variety of island herbs. All are classically prepared by hand–in seasoned copper pots–in Lawlor’s island kitchen, where you can visit to see (and smell) a new island tradition. 

 

Island Thyme

Since 1996, Christopher and Eliza Morris have been creating botanically-based skin and body care products in small batches from their small farm and apothecary workshop in the tiny hamlet of Olga on Orcas Island. Although they use botanicals from other places as well, they grow several of their ingredients right on the farm, including fragrant lavender, which they infuse into soaps, creams, balms and herbal oils. Chris and Eliza are a fixture at the Orcas Island Farmers market, and you can find their products in many local shops as well. 

 

San Juan Sea Salt

As a child, Brady Ryan decided one Christmas to save money and make homemade sea salt for his family. This little mad scientist found that the process made a huge mess and used a lot of electricity. Later in life, he created San Juan Sea Salt, using the power of the sun to slowly evaporate large ponds of sea water inside greenhouses on his family’s property. He infuses the large, flaky crystals into a briny mineral rainbow of flavors such as Wild Bull Kelp and Madrona Smoked Sea Salts. His salts (and local honey) add flavor that takes you to the shores–literally–of the Salish Sea. 

 

Pelindaba Lavender Farm

A simple retirement plan to protect a quiet valley on San Juan Island became Pelindaba Lavender—now a premier grower of lavender plants, distiller of essential oil, and producer of more than 250 products using both culinary and botanical lavender. Their culinary lavender products include teas, oils, vinegars, chocolates, coffee, ice creams and herb blends, from classic Herbes de Provence to zingy Lavender Lemon Pepper.

 

Island Farm Stands & Farmers' Markets

As you cruise the islands' roads, watch (carefully!) for roadside farm stands. More often than not, these little shacks also have bright bouquets of flowers for sale—at extremely reasonable prices. Often these are honor-system stands, where you can slide cash through a slit in a metal cash box, and record your purchase in a log book. Most farms sell their just-picked vegetables,  chicken and duck eggs, artisan goat, sheep or cow's milk cheeses, frozen meats, seafood, shellfish and more. This is the best way to get a taste of island life - and enjoy the view at the same time!

And of course, you can talk to your farmer and find fruits and flowers in abundance at the Orcas Island, Lopez Island and San Juan Island farmers markets throughout the summer, with varied hours in the spring and fall. Even in winter, markets are inside, and you can get beautiful preserves, root crops, meats, wool products and other island delights.

 

Pink scallops, Ursa Minor, Lopez Island

Find Local Foods

The freshest seafood, shellfish, lamb, pork and produce are served at many local restaurants. Here's how to find Island Grown foods.