Tomato Starts and Traditions

I possess a solid resume of struggling houseplants and moldering windowsill herb pots − I could give a sideways glance to a dandelion and kill it. And here I live, in the bountiful Pacific Northwest, where anyone with a scrap of soil has a Pinterest-perfect garden. When we got our first house with a big backyard, it wasn’t peer pressure or aspirational living that got me curious about gardening. Instead, it was the voice of my dearly departed grandmother with her no-nonsense attitude: “You don’t know until you try, so get out there and get your hands dirty.”...

One Ingredient Three Ways: Rhubarb

After the ground thaws, green shoots and buds emerge as harbingers of spring. The rhubarb leaves are among the first to uncurl and fan out. Soon, green stalks will blush pink, then red, begging to be picked. I always eagerly await rhubarb season. Its bright, sour flavor is welcome after a winter season full of rich, hearty foods, and it’s a versatile ingredient that works well in both sweet and savory recipes....

Seeding is Believing

I am restless behind my windows, and the garden beckons. But January always offers up slate-gray mornings and frosty nights, and though the winter solstice is behind us, I feel boxed in by these short days. As I gaze out at my streetlight-lit garden in the endless eventide, I decide that the only antidote is an armchair getaway. In a time like this, gardening catalogically has to suffice....

Say Cheese!

In the heart of Bandon, Oregon, near where the Coquille River meets the ocean, Face Rock Creamery buzzes with locals and tourists enjoying free cheese samples, ordering sandwiches and ice cream cones, and studying historic black-and-white photos of boats hauling milk. A glass wall runs almost the length of the store, giving visitors a view of the cheese as it’s made—and giving the Face Rock cheese makers a view of the visitors....

Check, Please

Tipping is a distinctly American practice, and one that feels so ingrained in everyday life that it’s hard to imagine dining out without it. But that’s exactly what Oregon’s restaurant industry is contemplating right now. A confluence of legislative changes mean tipping is on the chopping block, and the way we pay for food outside the house may be about to change dramatically....

Tradition with a Twist

Walk through the doors of Elixir distillery in Eugene, Oregon, and prepare for a surprise. Outside, it’s a modest industrial park; inside, it's an Italian apothecary, fragrant with bitter herbs and warm spices and presided over by Andrea Loreto, the unlikely Florentine liqueur-maker of the Willamette Valley....

Clean Your Plate!

At the beginning of the New Year, many of us pause and think about the year behind and create plans for the year to come. After all the holiday indulging, many of these plans revolve around health and wellness, and we begin to move towards the idea of treating our bodies with a little more care. ...

Gate to Plate

At first glance, the landscape evokes an Edward Hopper painting. A saturated sky so blue and bright, low mountains in the distance, a lonesome barn, and gently rolling grasses dotted with cows. But this is a modern-day snapshot from Grass Valley (population less than 200), a blink-of-an-eye ranching town that makes up part of Oregon’s heartland....