Coming up in Grays Harbor County…

Some really remarkable events are on the calendar for the couple weeks in our corner of the world. This weekend, April 25, 2014, in Hoquiam, we welcome the Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival. A first-class avian festival unfolds over three days of bird sightings, tours, lectures and more. Bowerman Basin is aflutter with a wide range of migrating birds this time of year.


Also the weekend of the 25th weekend is the Rock and Gem show at the fairgrounds, sponsored by the local Gem & Geology Society. Learn all about the world of lapidary and see a fine range of specimens form society members.


Take a look at the calendar below and make plans to visit Grays Harbor soon!


25-27  Spring Fling Arts & Crafts Show – Ocean Shores. Artisans and crafters display and sell their handcrafted works in the OS Convention Center. For more information, contact: (360) 289-9586.


25-27   Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival – Grays Harbor. Thousands of birders flock to Grays Harbor County to view this natural spectacle. Field trips, lectures, viewings and more are available all weekend at the Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge- on Paulson Rd., south of SR 109 at Bowerman Basin. Parking and registration begins at 9 a.m. at Hoquiam High School, 505 Emerson Ave., Hoquiam WA 98550.  For more information contact:  Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival, (360) 289-5048. (


26        Run for the Birds – Hoquiam. Featuring 2-mile, 5k, and 10k run for enthusiasts of all ages. Coincides with the Shorebird Festival.  Registration is at 8 a.m. and entry fee is $15 with a race shirt and goodie bag/$5 without. For more information contact:  City of Hoquiam (360) 637-6040.


26-27   Rock and Gem Show – Grays Harbor County Fairgrounds, Elma – Browse through thousands of stunning natural stones and gems presented by the Grays Harbor Gem & Geology Society. From 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free. For more information contact: Grays Harbor County Fairgrounds (360) 482-2651.  32 Elma-McCleary Road, Elma WA.  (


26      Annual Loyalty Day Parade – Westport. Sponsored by the local VFW, this expression of patriotism winds through downtown Westport and the marina. For more information contact: Westport/Grayland Chamber of Commerce 800-345-6223.

Rediviva Chef Forages for Dinner at Seabrook

Have you ever tried to create a meal created entirely from local ingredients? No, shopping at the local grocery store doesn’t necessarily count. Few of us have experienced a full meal created completely from locally grown and foraged foods.

During the 100 mile dinner, all food will be sourced within 100 miles of Seabrook.

This Earth Day weekend, Andy Bickar is up for the challenge of giving a small group of guests the opportunity to see and taste the local potential.

The 100 mile dinner is the first in a series of wine dinners that will be hosted at the Seabrook Town Hall, a quaint venue north of Ocean Shores in the resort town of Seabrook. Guests are invited to enjoy a casual dining experience with a six course menu and wine pairings, created by  Andy Bickar’s team from his restaurant, Rediviva.

Many of the items on the menu will be locally foraged by Damion Barnes, a foraging and outdoors enthusiast. Due to the nature of the event, the chef and his team will have to face the challenge of creating a meal based on what they are able to acquire.

“There will be a lot of seafood and mostly greens, roots and mushrooms, which is what was historically consumed in the area,” explained Andy. Locally raised beef from Gleason Ranch in Satsop will also be a part of the meal plus a variety of wine from local wine makers, some of whom will also be attending the event.

Not only will the meal be full of foraged plants and seafood, but the team will be creating their own oil, spices and even sea salt from the ocean.

“We wanted to do the first event with Rediviva because we knew that Andy would provide a unique and extraordinary experience for Seabrook homeowners, guests and local foodies,” said Jaclyn Stevenson, who is part of the Seabrook team putting together the event.

Chef and owner of Rediviva, Andy Bickar, will be creating the menu for the April 18 event.

All of the food, beverages and wine for this meal will be from within 100 miles of Seabrook and the hosts are especially excited to provide the space for such a unique event.

Jaclyn continued, “We love the idea of providing a completely locally sourced meal to show that our region has so to much offer and we are excited to showcase local farms and winemakers as well as educate people about where their food comes from.”

Tickets are available online and are selling quickly for the event on Friday, April 18 at 6pm in Seabrook, Washington

Rebuilding the Dream at Ocean Crest Resort

On June 20, 2011 a fire devastated the community that supported the Ocean Crest Resort in Moclips, Washington. A memorable event for many, the fire burned on for three days, as recommended by the fire department in order to preserve the hillside. Preservation of the area was key, because even in the midst of a disaster, the crew of the Ocean Crest had plans to rebuild.

Jess Owens is now the Assistant General Manager, just one of the family management team that now owns and operates the business. The building that once was the Ocean Crest Resort Restaurant had begun as the home of Jess’ grandparents. They assumed ownership of the resort in 1953 and lived on site. In 1963 they turned part of their home into a restaurant and expanded with a building addition in 1964. Over the years, the resort expanded and now includes 45 rooms, a pool, gym and spa.

Seventeen years ago, Jess moved back in order to work at the Ocean Crest Resort among his family. At some point, he began focusing more on the restaurant and eventually took over as the executive chef during a particularly important dinner when they were suddenly left without a chef to prepare the meal. He called it the “great chef shuffle of the North Beach,” as he explained the inconsistency of personnel in the area. He stepped up in order to fill a need, and things clicked. He enjoys taking risks in the kitchen and challenging others to do the things that they didn’t believe could be done.

After three years of rebuilding, the restaurant is nearing completion. The design will be reflective of the natural surroundings and reminiscent of the original building the restaurant resided within. The view is better than ever in the dining room, plus they have added a lounge with a section of outdoor dining on a deck overlooking the 150 stairs down to the beach. The entire space will be filled with fine art pieces and a collection of wines with a particular bent toward Pacific Northwest wines. The building is built high up in the trees, but is extremely safe on the 32 steel pilings running deep into the ground.

The improvements to the restaurant are very exciting. Jess explained how nice it has been to build from the ground up and design a more functional space, but he is still sentimental for what once was. “We’ll never get grandma’s house back,” he added.  “ But, we’ll be able to serve our guests much better now.”

The journey has been a challenge, but Jess’s positive attitude has kept the project moving through this tough time. The community also rose up to support those affected by the loss, including the staff of the restaurant. Many businesses in the area provided jobs as they could with the understanding that many of the staff will return to the Ocean Crest upon its reopening. The feelings of gratitude showed on Jess’s face as he spoke about the community support.

The new restaurant will offer meals that can be defined as Northwest cuisine with world flair and, of course, grandma’s famous clam chowder. Jess is excited to see old friends return to a place where many hold such fond memories. The restaurant will likely be open in late spring, bigger and better than ever. “Never limit yourself,” Jess said to encourage all of those, including himself, to do what seems impossible.

Ocean Crest Resort, 4651 Washington 109, Moclips, WA 98562

Phone:  360-276-4465

Grays Harbor Spring Razor Clam Dig Approved on Morning Tides


It is a boom year for razor clams in Grays Harbor!

 State fishery managers have approved the second of two razor clam digs on morning tides at various ocean beaches in Grays Harbor County. The digs are set for April 17-20.

  • April 17, Thursday, 8:43 a.m.; -0.8 feet; Twin Harbors, Long Beach
  • April 18, Friday, 9:26 a.m.; -0.8 feet; Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Mocrocks
  • April 19, Saturday, 10:14 a.m.; -0.7 feet; Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis, Mocrocks
  • April 20, Sunday, 11:06 a.m.; -0.4 feet; Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis, Mocrocks

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has approved the harvest schedule pending future marine toxin tests showing the clams on those beaches will be safe to eat. Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager, said this event could be one of the season’s best razor clam digs.

“We’ve seen three good waves of successful spawning events this winter,” said Ayers. “Clamming is strong now and should remain strong.”

Ayres reminded diggers that best results typically occur one to two hours before low tide.

Under state law, diggers can harvest 15 razor clams per day and are required to keep the first 15 they dig. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container. All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2013-14 fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available on the Washington DFW’s website at and from license vendors in Grays Harbor County.

Comprehensive information about razor clams – from updates on tentative digs to how-to advice on digging and cooking – is available at:



Growing Heritage of the Cranberry Coast Passed Down through Generations

The Washington coastline is especially colorful when you make your way through Grayland. Driving south, you can see sparkling sandy beaches and ocean waves on your right and to the left, a sea of bright red berries reaching toward the green hillsides. It has been nicknamed the Cranberry Coast Highway for good reason with nearly 70 farmers tending cranberry bogs, most of which supply the Ocean Spray company. One of these farmers is Carl Waara, a fourth generation farmer.

Carl lives in the home passed down to him from his father along with the perennial vine growing in the fields. Most of the time, he takes care of his 30 acres by himself which he enjoys because he is able to be outside and set his own hours. When he graduated from Ocosta High School and went away to college, he already knew he would return. When he met his wife while away at school, he told her right up front that she had to be content with moving back to Grayland to live on a cranberry farm.

Cranberries are not native to the Washington coast, rather settlers from the East Coast brought them along, finding the moist and highly acidic soil of the ancient Grayland swamp perfect conditions for cranberry growing. Early farmers also found new ways to pick berries. Instead of flooding the bogs, as you’ve likely seen on Ocean Spray commercials, the majority of farmers in this area use the Furford Picking Machine. This machine was invented and is still manufactured locally. It has not been improved upon in many years and many farmers even still use Furford Machines from the 1930s.

For the most part, the cranberries grown in Grayland are sent off to Ocean Spray to become products like cranberry juice and craisins you find in the supermarket. Despite the seemingly high numbers of cranberries produced in Grayland (10,000 pounds per acre), this constitutes just 1% of Ocean Spray’s overall production. Ocean Spray operates as a co-op, made up of 700 members who not only provide the cranberry production but also make company decisions.

Recently, Carl contributed to the Ocean Spray marketing campaign when he was asked to send a piece of his bog to Hollywood so they could set up an authentic cranberry bog on the street.

Cranberry growing is a big business. “Grayland was built on the cranberry bogs,” said Carl. Though most farmers work on their own, they hire pickers in the fall to harvest the cranberries by hand. The farmers are among many independent business owners in the area. “It’s a largely self-employed community,” said Carl, mentioning that nearly all people living in the area also worked independently in a variety of industries.

A small percentage of cranberries from each farmer’s land is also available to be sold in ways other than through Ocean Spray. For example, the Cranberry Road Winery got off the ground through farmers providing cranberries for their wines. The community members enjoy supporting each other and celebrating their love for cranberries including providing a museum to teach about the history of cranberry growing and a yearly harvest festival held in October.