Washington's enchanting combination of coastal valleys, inland farms and nutrient-rich seas creates the perfect growing conditions for more than 300 crops, seafood items and a host of other delicacies.
Here are just a few ways visitors can sample some of Washington’s signature foods straight from the source, from food tours to wine and cheese tastings.
1. Barrett Orchards, Yakima
The sun-drenched days and cool evenings east of the Cascade Mountains create the top-producing apple and pear harvests in the U.S. Stop for a bag of rosy-hued fruit at roadside stands or a farm like Barrett Orchards, where you can ask the farmer for tips on organic farming or stroll through the orchards. Find farmer’s markets in Washington >>
3. Chateau Ste Michelle, Woodinville
Find out why Washington’s Columbia Valley such a prized grape-growing region, learn the history of the vineyard (the estate’s winemaking roots date back to the repeal of Prohibition in 1933) and treat your taste buds to a wine sampling. View listings for wineries and tasting rooms in Washington >>
4. River Valley Cheese, Fall City
Just to the west of the huckleberry-sprinkled Cascades and not far from spectacular Snoqualmie Falls, cheese gourmands gather for a culture-rich class at River Valley Cheese. Craft your own mozzarella or raw-milk havarti under the wing of a cheese pro.
5. Savor Seattle Food Tours (pictured)
The Gourmet Seattle Tour from Savor Seattle offers 21 tastings, including four wine and beer pairings, at seven different stops. Sample the freshest catches at Cutters Crabhouse, see where Seattle chefs get their truffles at the Truffle Café and end your evening with Italian coffee and gelato.
6. Puget Sound U-pick Farms
Cherry-picking your own finds at Washington farms is also a treat. Just minutes from Seattle, fill a flat (or three) at local U-pick farms stocked with strawberry fields, pumpkin patches and Northwest blackberries.
7. Mushrooms & Seafood Hunting Along Washington’s Shores
Mist-enshrouded shoreline and cool coastal air nourish mushrooms and seafood. Sniff out golden chanterelles and meaty matsutakes on a mushroom foray with the Olympic Peninsula Mycological Society, a club for fungi enthusiasts.
Along Washington’s rocky shores, clams, oysters and giant Dungeness crabs await anxious gourmet hands. Shuck it up in March at the Razor Clam Festival in Ocean Shores, featuring hands-on clamming instruction and a competitive chowder cook-off. Find more events in Washington >>
Photo credit: Allison Sowers