Foodie paradise in the San Juans

A bounty of farm-fresh ingredients and a beautiful setting make Orcas Island irresistible

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  • The view of Fowler's pond from Mary Jo Kerr and Linda Wales's Lone Cow Farm

    Fowler's pond

    Thomas J. Story

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We eat out just once that week ― at the very fine Christina's, where Maple Rock Farm's heirloom tomatoes and salad greens make a star appearance. Chef-owner Christina Orchid introduces me to her mother, 87-year-old Emily Reid, who with her husband maintained one of the island's main apple orchards in the 1950s. On our last day, we visit Reid's roadside stand to marvel at the bounty from her garden: golden raspberries, dahlias, tomatillos, peas. She laughs as I take my first taste of ground cherry ― a sweet yellow fruit enclosed in a papery husk.

I can already feel the pull this island has on me, and how much I will miss it when I'm gone. I think of John Steward sailing in for a quick stop at the market and ending up owner of a farm. What would it take to make the leap? I tell Emily Reid how lucky she is to live here, and she gives me an indulgent look. "It's not luck," she says. "You have to earn it."


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