Deep in the forest, something delicious is brewing.

Deep in the forest, something delicious is brewing.

Early morning mists float above thickets of fern, so still one can hardly dare to breathe. Quizzical birds, nervous deer, and flighty squirrels hover watchfully — posed for takeoff should our human form dare to meander in their direction. Baldhip rose, wild blackberry, and Indian plum rise up from the soft, fragrant loam beneath your feet, inviting you to breathe deeply and often, as they permeate the air with their heady perfume.

The mixed broadleaf and Douglas fir forests encircling Black Walnut Inn are nothing short of magical. As children, we withered away countless summer hours crafting fairy houses from velvety clumps of moss, ruffled alder leaves, and the odd stick or two. As adults, the peace and sheer beauty of the forest stirs in us an unrivaled awe, almost from the moment we step through its ancient wooden portal.  

The ecosystem of the woodlands here offers more than just magnificent, rejuvenating stillness. Towering Douglas fir and plentiful streams create a shade-rich biome awash in edible plants and fungi, many of which make an appearance on our seasonal menus. Our shady, neighborhood retreat provides another curious byproduct — that of a predictably temperate climate, one in which our chefs can play like only adult children will do.

Buried deep in these woods, insulated by a thick layer of wildly scented humus, a science experiment is brewing. Chefs Chase and Zack are fermenting a mash of wild Oregon ginger and mustard root with Fresno chiles grown by our friends at Pollinate Flowers.

After a long nap in the woods, the juice from this concoction, preserved with a healthy dose of quality sea salt, will bring floral, gingery spice to the fall and winter vegetables that grace our menu. This healthy pop of flavor, grace of our consistent woodland temperatures, will allow guests of the Black Walnut to wander in the woods this winter, without ever leaving the comfort of our dining room.

Photography: Aubrie LeGault
Schedule a winter getaway to sample the chefs' creations.