Huckleberries

The evergreen huckleberry is a one of many evergreen shrubs native to Pacific coastal forests. First noted by Captain Lewis at Oregon’s Fort Clatsop in 1806, this shrub, which can grow to 12 feet or more in the shade, likes acidic soil and can tolerate salt spray and strong winds.

In the spring, the branches are covered with clusters of small, pinkish-white bell-shaped flowers which yield tiny blue-black fruit in late summer. These flowers attract bees, birds, and butterflies and the berries are eaten by songbirds, mammals, and humans. Like its most well-known relative, the common blueberry, huckleberries contain high concentrations of antioxidants and were favored by native populations. Today, they are frequently used to make pies, jams and jellies, and syrups.

Red Alder (Alnus rubra)

The red alder (Alnus rubra) is a deciduous tree native to the U.S. Pacific Northwest that has proven important to both Native Americans and wildlife in the region. Its range extends from southeastern Alaska to southern California, generally within 125 miles of the ocean. This tree is a pioneer species that establishes rapidly in openings created by forest disturbance, including landslides, logging or fire.

Red alder is one of many trees in the U.S. Pacific Northwest used by Native Americans. The bark was used for dyeing basket material, wood, wool, feathers, human hair, and skin. The wood is low in pitch, which makes it a good wood for smoking meat. Native Americans also used the bark to treat many health problems from insect bites to lymphatic disorders.

For wildlife, red alder provides an important deciduous component in the predominantly coniferous forests found in the region. Most of the seeds remain on the tree well into the fall and winter months, providing valuable resources for birds, insects, and mammals when other foods are scarce. Beavers eat the bark and build dams and lodges with the stems. Red alder trees also provide valuable nesting for birds and thermal cover for black-tailed deer and other wildlife.

Oregon estuaries are rich with many species of clams, although only a few of these species are commonly harvested. Gaper, butter, cockle, littleneck, and softshell clams are primarily harvested due to their abundance, size, and taste. A wide variety of other bivalve species are found in Oregon estuaries, but are not commonly harvested due either to their scarcity or lack of palatability.

Clamming is a great family activity and you can get started with tools you already have in the garden.  Successful clamming does require some knowledge and preparation. Before clamming, harvesters should be aware of weather, regulations, closures, responsible harvest, and techniques. This video produced by Travel Oregon provides important information about how to clam in Oregon.