When traveling with an RV there are many benefits to be had. Take for example the fact that you have all the comforts of home with you including a fully equipped kitchen. Sure it’s probably smaller than your kitchen at home, but with a little organization and planning, you can easily whip up the same healthy meals you do for your family at home, but on the road.
What’s better is that you’re actually on the road. Traveling. Exploring. Seeking out new adventures. Can you imagine a better way to experience the “here and now,” than visiting a local market where you just happen to be seeking out the freshest, in season goodies to cook a meal with? Take it to the next level and talk to some locals shopping in the market. Ask them how they like to cook those “in season” ingredients. More often than not, you’ll make a new friend and come back to your RV inspired, ready to cook.
This is how my road to culinary enlightenment the RVing way started back in 2010. We just brought home our new travel trailer and the following weekend we were heading out on our first trip. I wanted it to be perfect. I wanted it to be like our cozy home, “away” from home. I had big plans to sit down and figure out our daily menus. However, it seemed the week prior to our trip, corporate America had bigger plans for me . I’m pretty sure I haven’t worked that much overtime in my life as I did the week before our big trip. Needless to say, when the weekend came — no menu plans had been made. No grocery shopping had been done. So at that point I just decided to shop once we got to our destination.
Our destination was the San Juan Islands — an archipelago situated in the mountainous Pacific Northwest and compromised of 175 islands, it is a place of rich, deep history and jaw dropping landscapes. Of those 175 islands, Orcas Island would be our home for the weekend and we could hardly wait. It takes a 45 minute ferry ride to get there and I can honestly say, that the ferry ride is a vacation in and of itself.
When we got to our camp and set up we decided to head out and explore the island. Since dinnertime was still in the distant future, we decided to go to the grocery store later on and get to know this island up close and personal in the meantime.
We hopped into our truck and our first stop was to visit Turtleback Mountain. There is an incredible hike here that delivers stellar views. Switchback after switchback we were greeted with peekaboo views of the islands that reach beyond Orcas. At around 1,000 feet up is when the world opened up before our eyes and it seemed as if we could see forever . . .
After that exhilarating hike, we continued exploring the island. Soon we approached a bend in the road where I spied a quaint little farm stand.
“Oh honey, can you stop at that farm stand please?” I asked hubby as I pointed excitedly.
He pulled over, turned off the truck and I hopped out. No one was around but there was a sign and it read, “Welcome to our self-serve farm stand.”
As I opened the gate, and walked inside, there was a table with baskets that were full of beautiful fresh goodies from baby lettuces to red onions, kale and peas! Then there were heaps of bright orange, yellow and even purple carrots next to some of the most colorful eggs I have ever seen. The baby heirloom tomatoes ranged in color from deep red to green and there was fresh butter in the vintage silver cooler. Hanging from the ceiling of this darling little farm stand? Garlic!
I helped myself to the farm fresh goodies and put money in the metal payment container while walking away all smiles. My mind was buzzing with ideas already on how I would prepare these beautiful, organic ingredients back at camp.
As we continued our exploratory drive around the island we came upon Buck Bay, home of the Buck Bay Shellfish Farm and Shucking Shack. We learned Buck Bay offers up some of the freshest oysters and clams you can get your hands on as they come straight from the bay across the road.
We gathered around a sunny picnic table, shucked some oysters and enjoyed their cool, crisp briny goodness right there with a view of the bay from where they were pulled.
It was hubby’s idea to bring back some Buck Bay clams with us to camp for dinner. I was nervous about that since the first time I ever cooked clams I treated them like they were raw meat and steamed them for 1.5 hours. What started off as beautiful open clams eventually turned into hard little “pearl like” clam balls that at the time, I thought turned out perfectly. After an 1.5 of cooking, of course that’s how they should look I thought. Poor hubby, ate every single one — smiling through the entire dinner telling me how delicious they were (!!). That’s a sign of a man who loves you.
So I was determined this time, since hubby wanted clams again (it took him a long time to come around), that I would cook them correctly. Luckily, when Toni, the sweet lady who helps run Buck Bay Shellfish Farm came by, I asked how she would cook them. After she explained such a simple method of butter, garlic, a splash of wine while cooking the clams until they just opened, I was inspired and I realized at the moment that a trip to the grocery store at the end of the day was not necessary. On island for only a few hours I already had an arsenal of organic, fresh goodies just waiting to be prepared in my travel trailer’s kitchen. And now, I had Toni’s clam recipe to try. I could hardly wait.
When we arrived back at camp, I cooked those clams as an appetizer — Toni’s way — right there on the beach, over a fire. They came out how they were supposed to. Sweet, succulent and tender. Delicious! While I was cooking, our son made some new friends and those boys ran hard, all over the beach exploring. I couldn’t help but watch them and smile. This was the life. The RVing life. Making new friends. Exploring new places. Finding local, in season ingredients and coming back to camp to cook them up to enjoy, with the ones we love — outdoors. We were one with nature and we couldn’t have been happier.
After our appetizer of clams, we spent some time on the beach until sunset at which time we returned back to camp where we settled in for the evening. While hubby taught B how to properly chop wood for our evening campfire, I began to cook our dinner inside in my tiny, cozy kitchen.
I took the rest of Buck Bay’s clams and cooked them in a smooth carrot, coconut and ginger soup. While cooking with these ingredients, I couldn’t help but reflect back on our most amazing day and where all these delicious components of our meal originated from ♥ Not to mention the wonderful people we met who run Buck Bay Shellfish Farm.
And then, dinner was served . . .
Let your RV take you on a culinary journey just as we did on Orcas Island. Visit markets in any town you may be in or choose to visit local farms and meet the farmers behind the growing operation. You will learn so much and walk away with a renewed sense of how hard these people work to bring good, quality food and ingredients to your table.
A culinary journey is just one of the many, many ways to enjoy the RVing lifestyle and to help you find your “Away.” If you’ve ever considered RVing here’s a helpful link for you to discover even more about the RVing lifestyle and the ever so friendly community: Go Rving !!
Hope to see you on the road!