Breakfasts are covered, there are local restaurants for dinner, and there is even the occasional dinner at the bnb, but what about specialty markets, farmers markets, noteworthy roadside stands for honey, local produce or eggs? And even the big box supermarkets in the area? What’s in store for visitors who like to stock up on snacks or provision themselves for a night of grilling at the bnb?
And for what your kitchen or stomach needs at all hours of the day and night, we even have a choice among major chain super markets. If I could do all my shopping at the farmer’s markets or Sweet Cron in Kerby, I would. But sometimes it’s late and you just need a grocery store.
To be clear, Crescent City isn’t Berkeley or Boston’s Back Bay, but there are a few locations and producers of local goods worth noting. Heading in these various directions will put you in touch with the local food scene, which is good for our local business community and healthy for you. Nothing fancy, but if you care about locally produced, often organic, food, here’s a decent top 10 list to work with.
Rumiano Cheese Factory – These folks take cheese seriously. The factory and retail store are under the same roof in town just off the 101. The Rumiano family started in the cheese business in the 1920s and while they have expanded and contracted over the decades, have built a loyal following among locals in Crescent City who shop the store for bargains and specials, and also a broad business that sees their cheeses carried all over the west coast. Business aside, if you like cheese you’ll be in a little bit of food heaven. My favorites at Rumiano are the cream cheese, the blue, and the discount packages of smoked Gouda. This is not a fancy operation, the factory and store are clad in the same skyblue-painted sheet metal. But tool around the company web site and you’ll see an allegiance to high quality ingredients and tons of recognition to the many local farms that supply Rumiano with milk. A look at Trip Advisor and Yelp reviews will see a store well-loved by its patrons, us included. 511 9th St, Crescent City, (707) 465-1535
Taylor’s Sausage – You’ll pass Taylor’s if your approach to the bnb takes you west on 199 from Grants Pass. Located in the sleepy town of Cave Junction, Taylor’s is a local institution selling all manner of meat (though they specialize in pork products). Not the most pleasant destination for vegetarians, meat lovers will be in a swoon from the moment they enter the store and approach the U-shaped deli counter with about 10 different jerkies, all cuts of pork, cheeses, and sausages both fresh and frozen. There’s also a steam table where you can get ribs, burgers and hot dogs to eat in or to go. It’s a lively if not slightly chaotic scene that’s well worth the stop if you are into meats. 202 S. Redwood Highway in Cave Junction, Oregon, 541-592-5358
Crescent City Farmers Market – Over the past five years I’ve seen the June to October market (Saturdays at the Fair Grounds on the 101 in town) grow and grow. I generally block out the booths selling redwood carvings, butcher block cutting boards, soaps, ceramics and crochet hats and aim straight for the farm stands, honey makers, mushroom foragers, bakery and bread stands and the one or three stands selling prepared Mexican, Korean or Indian foods. The selection changes with the season, of course. My favorite stands are the Ocean Air Farms stand and Sweet Cron. County Fairgrounds, Crescent City
Sweet Cron – A funky farm on Hwy 199 in Kirby OR (just east of Cave Junction), Cron is our favorite place to buy peppers, apples, squash, fantastic cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, more peppers, flowers, melons, corn, plums and whatever else is in season. Sometimes they’ll sell a neighbor’s produce as well (apples, peaches, plums, for example). The Cron folks are down home and super friendly. Their prices can’t be beat. Find them in Kirby most days, at the Crescent City Saturday and Wednesday Farmer’s Mkts, in Brookings on Wednesdays as well as at the Hiouchi Hamlet on Sundays during the productive months of July, August, and September. We love Cron! 22995 Redwood Hwy., Kerby, Oregon, (541) 660-7902
Ocean Air Farms – Another local institution, Ocean Air is a 15-acre farm located in the flats just north of Crescent City. The best of their crop includes the most excellent carrots I’ve tasted, deeply aromatic cilantro, various and fantastic looking kales and chard, squash, onions, radishes, leeks, lettuces, and other goodies that come and go with the season. Besides being present at all the local farmer’s markets, the farm’s stand is open every Saturday during the winter months. Head north on Lake Earl Dr. until you get to Moorehead Rd (look for Sea West Restaurant and the Fort Dick Market and make a left there). The farm stand will be on your right on Moorehead. Morehead Rd., Crescent City
Parkway Feed (for eggs) – You probably didn’t come to the redwoods for eggs, but on the topic of local, fresh, and organic, it’s worth mentioning the unpredictable but awesome-when-they-have-them chicken, duck and bantam eggs for sale at our local pet food and animal feed store. Parkway acts as an intermediary between chicken-owning locals who have more eggs than they can eat and those in town who for whatever reason don’t raise chickens but prefer to eat just-laid, mostly organic eggs from local farmers and country folk rather than the mass-pro duced dairy products available in Safeway and the likes. Figure on $4 a dozen for chicken eggs, a bit higher for duck eggs and a bit less for bantam eggs. And if Fido needs a pig’s ears to chew on, this is also your place. 1645 Parkway Dr., Crescent City, (707) 464-6873
Singing Bird Farm – You’ll see the sign for a second and guaranteed it’ll be too late to stop. “Raw Honey” the sign will say and in an instant your car will already be 100 feet past it…way too late to stop. But if can, think ahead if you’ll be on this part of 199. Make the effort to spot that sign, slow way down and make the turn. You’ll start to wonder am I doing the right thing? or probably the feeling will be a combo WTF/WTH moment, but give it a second. The confusion will pass as you enter a non-descript driveway with a couple of simple tables set up under a Wal-mart-style awning. Ah, the honey masters at Singing Bird Farm. With bees that spend most of their feeding hours buzzing around wild blackberry bushes, the honey that owners Lyn and Ted extract from their bees is a rare treat. We buy it by the quart jar but they sell it in a variety of sizes. Lots of other honey-related items for sale too…teas, balms, and extracts but so far we’ve just gone for the honey. 5800 Redwood Hwy, Grants Pass, Oregon, (541) 450-5961
Safeway – A picture-perfect version of every other Safeway you’ve ever visited, this is our go-to store for groceries. Great customer service, plenty of choices, sales that sometimes kick serious butt, I shop all departments at all hours of the day and night (it’s open 24 hours). For our investment in food, for ourselves and for guests, Safeway delivers solid value and they just won’t tolerate disappointment. And they have the best choice of wines in the city (though you won’t find any from Oregon…Fred Meyer works for that). 475 M St., Crescent City, (707) 465-3353
Wal-mart – Where else can you get avocados for 68 cents or half a dozen bagels for a buck ninety-nine? Pineapple prices hover around $2.50 and sometimes drop lower. You won’t find tofu or pomegranate though — this is Wal-mart, you know. But you can get flours in 10 and 20-pound bags and all sorts of freeze-dried staples for your bomb shelter (go figure). And ammo too, for that matter. I give these folks credit where credit is due. Go, expecting Wal-mart prices, Wal-mart quality, and you won’t be disappointed. Open 24-7. 900 E Washington Blvd., Crescent City, (707) 464-1198
Fred Meyer in Brookings – There is a semi-cult-ishness the Fred Meyer shopper exudes. I’ve never felt the same way about the store but I do recognize the place for what it is. The Brookings location has a vast selection of goods and they run the gamut from high-end organic (including a damn good selection of loose grains and spices) to the downright middle ground when it comes to health (gallons upon gallons of Sunny Delight anyone?). Occasionally the store will surprise you – a surprisingly tiny toilet paper and paper towel selection if I say so myself) but the deals can be impressive (this week, pineapples are 99 cents each and pomegranates are 2 for 4 bucks. Not bad at all.). The store has a crazy assortment of department besides food…sporting goods, cookware, storage, bedding, paint, garden, furniture, clothing, shoes, stationary, the list goes on. The store also has a gas station on the property with hands down the cheapest gas around. 10am to 10pm. And no sales tax. Woot! 325 5th St. Brookings, (541) 469-1610