Seasonal Foraging Chart Washingtion State

Washington Seasonal Foraging Chart

Foraging Seasonal Chart for the PNWForaged items lend an exotic, personal touch to a chef’s menu and speaks volumes when it comes to saying, “We keep our menu current and source local products.” But knowing what foraged produce is in season can be a bit of a challenge since many of Mother Nature’s most special treasures never appear at your local market.

I’ve put together a seasonal foraging chart for the Washington State area which should be pretty similar for the Pacific Northwest region in general. Of course, Mother Nature dictates the actual seasons for wild foods but this will get you in the ball park when you are planning a menu.

Finding a Forager

Of course, knowing when a particular foraged item is available doesn’t put it in your kitchen…you still need to find someone to harvest these gems. Talking with people at farmers markets may turn up some leads on professional foragers. Alternately, Charlies Produce and Hendrickson’s Produce both receive produce from local foragers. If you know of other foragers in the Washington area please leave their contact info in a comment at the bottom of the page.

 

Foraged Produce Seasonality
Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
 Blackberries, Wild
 Blackcap Raspberry
 Cattail Shoots
 Chickweed
 Dandelion Greens
 Devil’s Club Shoots
 Dewberry
 Elderberries
 Elderflower
 Fiddlehead Ferns
 Goosetongue
 Huckleberries, Blue
 Huckleberries, Red
 Juniper Berries
 Lavender
 Licorice Fern
Lingonberries
 Madrona Bark
 Maple Blossoms
Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
 Miners Lettuce
Mushrooms (see chart)
 Nettles
 Oregon Grapes
 Peppercress
 Purslane
 Raspberries, Black Cap
 Rosehips
 Salal Berries
 Salmon Berries
 Saskatoon Berry
 Sea Beans
 Sorrel, Sheep Sorrel
 Sorrel, Wood Sorrel
 Spring Beauty
 Spruce Tips
 Squash Blossoms
 Thimbleberries
 Wood Violet Greens


 

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Shop Gear for Chefs at our Online Store

August 25, 2019

Gear for Chefs now available at our new online store Chefs Resources Merch!

Chef’s Resources gear for chefs is finally available at our new online store! Over the past few years we have had requests for us to turn some of our MEMEs and kitchen charts into posters to hang in your kitchens. It’s been a long time coming but we have finally found a company which will produce our gear on an order by order basis, meaning we do not have stock inventory, they will simply make it as soon as it is ordered. Check-out our new store at Chefs-Resources-Merch.com!

Gear for Chefs

Chef gear includes a variety of mise en place posters to motivate your staff including “mise en place…ethos of the professional kitchen” and “mise en place…being able to tell that bitch Murphy’s Law to sit the #$!%@ down!” Posters are a available in a variety of sizes both in simple pin up versions and in higher quality framed versions.

Popular useful kitchen charts include “Wild Mushroom Foraging Seasons”, “Wild Foraged Produce Seasons“, “Disher Scoop Sizes & Volumes”, “Steamtable Pan Sizes & Capacities”, “Restaurant Can Sizes” and more. These are perfect to hang on the wall for reference for your crew, or in your office to help with planning menus according to the season.

And of course we have the obligatory coffee cups, water bottles, t-shirts, and utility bags for the small gear for chefs such as tweezers, peelers, oyster knives, sharpie markers, etc.

Tell me some of your favorite kitchen phrases which you would like to see on a T-shirt or poster. Some of my favorites include “Go cry in the walk-in”, “Don’t touch my mise”, and “Six stitches to go home early.”

If there is gear that you would like to see us carry, or a favorite kitchen phrase you’d like to see put on a T-shirt or poster, leave a comment below!

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Foraged Foods Becoming Commonplace Restaurants

January 17, 2019
by Jennifer Dawson

Foraged Foods Becoming Commonplace in US Restaurants

Food trends are some of the fastest-changing in the world. In 2018 alone chefs have had to contend with everything from pickling, fermenting and veganism to nootropics, booze-free beverages and homemade condiments. Another trend that is becoming more commonplace across the globe is foraging which may sound suspiciously similar to hunting-gathering but does not entail giving up your day job to live in the wilderness.

Although it is true that a few chefs have been using foraged produce for decades, it has now become a food trend rather than a rarity. In fact, an increasing number of chefs in the USA are making regular use of foraged ingredients to set their menus apart from their competitors’. In order to have a better understanding of the role of foraging within the restaurant industry, it is important to take a closer look at how and why to include foraged ingredients on a menu as well as examining the increasing popularity of the trend.

Reasons to include foraged food on your menu

By searching for fruit, vegetables, herbs, and roots in the wild yourself (or by making use of a professional foraging service) you will be able to offer your patrons a unique dining experience and simultaneously contribute towards the well-being of the environment. Not only are indigenous crops generally more drought-resistant but your carbon footprint will also be significantly reduced due to there being a very short traveling distance between the farm and the restaurant. Foraged produce also contain significantly more nutrients as they tend to be less exposed to harmful chemicals than their commercially-farmed counterparts.

Cooking with foraged food

Dewberries Foraging Seasonal ChartThere are countless ways in which you can prepare your foraged foods and present them to your diners. On a colder day, you can prepare a fragrant slow-cooked dish or gather your pots and pans and make a delicious wintery broth filled with freshly-foraged vegetables and herbs. As a chef you are more than qualified to create tantalizing dishes using an array of foraged ingredients including wild mushrooms, nettles, sorrel, squash blossoms, and goosetongue. Don’t limit yourself to conventional cooking either as you can create delicious syrups, sauces, pickles, and condiments such as fennel sauerkraut, elderberry syrup, green onion kimchi, and walnut ketchup from your foraged produce.

How popular has foraging become?

There are a number of restaurants across the USA that have actively incorporated foraged food into their offerings. Chef Eddy Leroux of Restaurant Daniel in New York works closely with a professional forager to acquire wild shoots, stems, leaves and petals to create mind-blowing dishes such as wild herb ravioli and dandelion flower tempura.  Another chef who frequently makes use of foraged ingredients is Dan Barber from Blue Hill Stone Barns, also in New York, who went as far as to start his own seed company to ensure that he always has access to the freshest produce. He also has his team of chefs forage for ingredients and allows his geese to forage for figs, lupin bush seeds and acorns instead of force-feeding them.

And on Lummi Island in Washington Chef Blaine Wetzel at the Willows Inn has gained an impressive reputation for having his staff forage for local greens, berries, mushrooms, and seaweed as well as growing much of his produce.

Finding foraged products

As noble as it may be to forage for your own ingredients, it is not always practical. This is exactly why there are an increasing number of vendors offering their foraging services across the USA. While most states are home to a number of fresh produce markets that sell foraged produce, there are also numerous online stores that can be utilized for your convenience. Foraged & Found is an organization that supplies a number of the country’s most renowned restaurants as well as countless home cooks with foraged berries, wild greens, mushrooms and tea. Apart from having an online store, they also sell their produce at various markets in and around Seattle.  If you find yourself on the East Coast, you can enlist the services of Regalis Foods who pride themselves on their exquisite variety of foraged ingredients.

Seasonal foraging

One of the most important factors to consider when making use of foraged foods is their seasonality. While there are certain edibles such as mushrooms that are available year-round, others, including persimmons, chestnuts and asparagus are a lot more seasonal and are only available fresh during certain parts of the year. If you want to include foraged foods on your menu it is imperative to be very knowledgeable with regards to the seasonal availability of your local foraged produce. You can benefit greatly by printing out a foraging calendar or visiting a reputable online site that can supply you with accurate and relevant information.

Flavor profiles of foraged foods

While it has already been determined that foraged foods are more nutrient-dense than their store-bought counterparts, it is important to also understand the differences (and similarities) in flavor profiles. Wild watercress, for example, is known to have a lot more flavor than the supermarket variety while salmonberries can be most closely compared to gooseberries and raspberries. If you are looking for a foraged substitute to onion and garlic, you can make use of three-cornered leeks which has a very similar taste profile. Wild plantains look a lot like regular bananas but have a firmer texture that is quite starchy. When ripe they are sweet in flavor and can be prepared in a similar fashion as regular supermarket bananas. These are just a few examples of foraged foods and how they compare to commercially-purchased produce. The best way to draw similar comparisons is to either experiment yourself or to conduct further research on the topic.

Always remember to be safe while foraging. Don’t trespass on private property and make sure everything you bring back to the restaurant is, in fact, edible. If you can adhere to these basic guidelines your foraging can give you a nifty competitive advantage while presenting you with the opportunity to put your dish creativity skills to the test.

 

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Wild Mushroom Seasonal Chart Washington State

Wild Mushroom Seasonal Chart for Washington State

Wild Mushroom Seasonal Chart - click to englargeGive a chef wild mushrooms and watch their face light up with anticipation. Mushrooms are so versatile and come in so many different flavors and textures that they can be paired with virtually any menu protein. Wild mushrooms are famous for adding that umami flavor which deepens and enhances the complexity of a dish. The following mushroom seasonal chart will help you develop menus with the seasonality of wild mushrooms in mind. The fabulous thing to notice is that there is a wild edible mushroom available for every month and every season of the year!

Keep in mind that this is only a guideline…Mother Nature may change things up a bit each year. If you have info on a mushroom not on this list please leave a comment so I can add it to the list.

All mushrooms are edible, but some only once -Croatian proverb

 

Wild Mushroom Seasonality Calander
Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
 Angel Wings
 Bearshead Tooth
 Black Trumpet
 Boletus, King
 Cauliflower
 Chanterelle
 Chanterelle, Blue
 Chanterelle, Yellowfoot
 Chanterelle, White
 Chicken of the Woods
 Coral Mushroom
 Fairy Ring
 Hawks Wing
 Hedgehog
Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
 Honey Mushroom
 Lion’s Maine
 Lobster
 Man on Horseback
 Matsutake
 Morel
 Oyster
 Puffball
 Saffron Milky Cap
 Snowbank Mushroom
 The Prince
 Truffle, Black
 Truffle, White


 

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Seasonal Produce Chart Washington State

Seasonal Produce Chart for Washington State

Seasonal Produce ChartChefs love the changing of the seasons because each season brings new produce to play with and new, vibrant flavors to work into our menus. The best way to see what produce is in season is to take a walk through your local farmer’s market. But if you are planning a menu for sometime in the future it can be a challenge to know what will be in season then. This seasonal produce chart will help guide that planning process and give you the ability to create menus with the freshest, most vibrant produce available. It will also help you promote a locally sourced menu and support the farmers in your area. This produce calendar is for Washington State, to find a produce guide for your state follow this link.

Remember, mother nature has her own whims so actual seasonality may vary from year to year.

 

Produce Seasonality Chart
Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
 Artichokes
 Arugula
 Asparagus
 Beet Greens
 Beets
 Bok choy
 Borage
 Broccoli
 Broccoli Rabe
 Brussels Sprouts
 Burdock
 Cabbage, Green
 Cabbage, Napa
 Cabbage, Red
 Cabbabe, Savoy
 Cardoons
Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
 Carrots
 Cauliflower
 Celeriac
 Celery
 Celery Root (Celeriac)
 Chard
 Chicory
 Chinese Broccoli
 Collard Greens
 Corn
 Cucumbers
 Eggplant
 Endive, Curly (Frisee)
 Escarole
 Fava Beans
 Fennel
Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
 Garlic
 Green Beans
 Green Garlic
 Horseradish
 Jerusalem Artichokes
 Kales
 Kohlrabi
 Kohlrabi Greens
 Lambsquarters
 Leeks
 Lettuce, Leaf
 Lettuce, Butter
 Lettuce, Iceburg
 Lettuce, Roamine
 Lettuce, Spring Mix
 Mizuna
Mushrooms, see chart
Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
 Mustard Greens
 Nasturtium
 Okra
 Onions, Yellow
 Onions, Sweet
 Parsnips
 Pea Shoots/Vines
 Peas, Shell Peas
 Peas, Snap/Snow
 Peppers, Chile
 Peppers, Sweet
 Potatoes
 Pumpkins
 Purslane
 Radicchio (Chicory)
 Radishes
 Ramps
 Rhubarb
Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
 Rapini
 Romanesco
 Rutabagas
 Salsify
 Scallions
 Shallots
 Spinach
 Squash Blossoms
 Squash, Summer
 Squash, Winter
 Sunchokes
 Sweet Potatoes
 Tomatillos
 Tomatoes
 Turnip Greens
 Turnips
 Yams
 Watercress
 Zucchini


 

Check-our our other seasonal charts:

 

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Chefs Resources Site Index

Chefs Resources Site Map

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The Willows Inn on Lummi Island – Off the Chain Good!

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Willows Inn on Lummi Island – Off the Chain Good!

Chef Blaine Wetzel - The Willows InnI have lived in the Bellingham area for over 30 years and although Lummi Island is known to be a beautiful, peaceful place there has never really been any reason to go out there. The whole state is filled with beautiful, peaceful places so why go out there? Well, owner John Gibb and Chef Blaine Wetzel are offering some pretty compelling reasons to make the trip.

The Willows Inn across the bay from Bellingham, WA on Lummi Island has garnered a great culinary reputation, and although I have been wanting to try Chef Blaine Wetzel’s food for several years now, I never got around to making the trip to the island…my loss. I have the great fortune of being able to go out three or four times a year with a few of my bosses to “wine and dine” as we R & D local (Seattle and north) restaurants. We have to pay for the wine (and other alcoholic indulgences!), but our employer picks up the food portion of the bill. I chose the Willows Inn for our most recent R & D exploration. It’s days like this that I especially love my job!

I had seen a sample menu for Willows Inn online and was therefore under the assumption that this would be about a five or six course dinner. And when we were presented with the evening’s menu (a Prix Fixe menu so there’s no choices here, you get what the Chef serves) it also showed only five courses. However, when the first course arrived sous chef Nick said that they would be bringing out a number of “pre” courses before the actual menu courses started. Buy evenings end we had reveled our way through 16 courses! 17 if you count that awesome bread with the chicken drippings. Of course, with 16 dishes there were some courses which we didn’t appreciate quite as well as others. But this was a matter of choosing a distinction between “off the f__king chain awesome!”, or simply “really damn good”. I found all of the courses to be simple and pure in flavor, yet executed in such a perfect way as to be truly a culinary delight.

This is the kind of gig which every chef would love to have. A small restaurant with about 40 seats, service staff of three, and a kitchen staff of 7 talented cooks, 1 intern and 1 estage’ along with a dishwasher to serve those 40 guests. The guests hang out in a separate area having cocktails while they wait to be seated for the one and only 7 o’clock seating. The Chef controls the timing as to when different guests are sat, he knows exactly what the menu is, and he gets to set the pace. No multiple seatings, no getting slammed followed by lulls in service followed by getting slammed again, no scrambling to prep more of that one item which everyone and their brother wants tonight. Just one smooth flowing machine serving incredible bites to your guests.

But, that doesn’t mean that this is an easy job. I heard that the cook’s average shift is about 14 hours, including some time foraging the island for some of today’s menu items. And level of execution on these dishes shows the highest degree of commitment to consistency, quality, presentation, and flavor. No second rate stuff here, nothing which is simply “good enough”.

For a little history on Chef Wetzel and the Willow Inn follow this link.

Click on the images for a larger photo. The full menu is listed below.

Willows Inn photos

Smoked Mussel Venison Tartar Steelhead Roe Dried Kale Crisp Halibut Skin Scallop Turnip Shiitake Mushroom plate-up Charred Kohlrabi Smoked Sockeye Wild Seaweeds Bone Marrow King Salmon Strawberries Blueberries Parting Gift Sunset at the Willows

 

Willows Inn Menu July 10, 2013

Smoked Mussel

A beautiful small wooden box was presented at the table by sous chef Nick with the comment that we would receive several “pre” courses before the actual dinner menu. When I opened the wooden lid, a puff of wood smoke and the fragrant aroma of roasted mussel greeted me. And, to my surprised delight, the mussel opened before my eyes as I removed the lid! This was sooooo cool! I was an instant fan of the Willows!

Venison Tartar

served on crisp rye with savory and fennel fronds
While the presentation on the mussel dish delighted me, the flavor of this dish made me smile ear to ear and was one of my favorites of the evening.

Crispy Crepe with Steelhead Roe

The roe was folded into whip cream and stuffed into golden brown brik dough rings. The ends were then touched into fines herbs and served. You got the crunch of the brik dough followed by the delightful “pop” of the roe… freakin awesome!

Kale with Black Truffle and Rye

Crispy leaf of kale spiked with truffle and rye

Crispy Halibut Skin

Talk about an innovative way to utilize every part of the fish, this concept had us talking. Filled I think with a clam farce, this had a wonderful crunch and flavorful center. It was also lightly dusted with…sorry, don’t remember. Was it fishy? Not at all.

Singing Pink Scallops with Watercress

Light and refreshing, this reminded me of a ceviche.

Turnips steamed in Whey

A flavorful broth, tender turnips with just the right amount of “bite” or “chew”.

Grilled Shiitake

The shiitakes were very tender and had a light smokiness to them. They were also very moist as if they had been marinated. I found a separate recipe by Chef Wetzel for confit shiitakes and think that is how these were prepared. Very nice.

Charred Kohlrabi with Red Currants and Coriander

served with a quenelle of mussel cream

Smoked Sockeye

This was warm as if right out of the smoker. The salmon was rich and lightly salty (which suggests they used a brining process) with a mild sweetness which I thought was maple.

Wild Seaweeds braised with Dungeness Crab & Brown Butter

Local seaweeds are harvested from the Lummi Island beaches and utilized. It’s not “a looker” but it sure tasted good. The crab meat was fresh and moist.

Dried Beets glazed with Lingonberries served with Bone Marrow

I love the intense, earthy, mildly sweet flavor of beets, and with the lingonberry glaze these puppies were worth fighting for! They made a nice counter point to the richness of the marrow which added its own decadence to the dish. Loved it!

King Salmon with summer squash and Nasturtiums

Locally caught king salmon with a perfectly crispy skin yet juicy-tender flesh…this crew knows how to cook salmon for Pacific Northwesterners!

Strawberries and Pineapple Weed granita

The first of three dessert courses, fresh local strawberries with their pure taste of summer coupled with the refreshing pineapple weed (never used it before) shaved ice.

Blueberries with Woodruff and Malt

The malt was turned into a kind of “dirt” for this presentation with the blueberries scattered throughout. It offered a nice crunch to go along with the berries. And the woodruff was made into either a cream or panna cotta quenelle.

Flax Bites

The parting gift was caramel cube with flax seeds. It was “just sweet enough” and made for a great ending to a fantastic dining experience.

 

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