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News / Life / Clark County Life

Marvelous market: Mountain Timber Market now open in Kalama serves up sweets, wine and more

By Rachel Pinsky, Columbian freelance food writer
Published: February 9, 2024, 6:05am
9 Photos
Mountain Timber Market opened in the Port of Kalama in late 2023.
Mountain Timber Market opened in the Port of Kalama in late 2023. (Photos by Rachel Pinsky) Photo Gallery

Mountain Timber Market at the Port of Kalama recently opened. It features a bakery, coffee shop, culinary goods store, chocolate shop, wine tasting room and two stellar food trucks. The market sits on the Columbia River with a trail that leads to McMenamins Kalama Harbor Lodge and Ahles Point Cabin, a small riverside bar. Clusters of covered picnic tables dot the paved walkway, an ideal setting for a day trip or weekend getaway.

The market at 254 Hendrickson Drive is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. I arrived around noon on an overcast Tuesday. A group gathered at Luckman Coffee and a few people wandered the market, but mostly I was alone to wander and talk to business owners. The market’s interior has high ceilings and loads of natural light (even on an overcast day), creating an elegant Pacific Northwest vibe.

Don Swett opened his culinary goods store called DK Hewn several months ago. He stocks loaves of bread from Kalama Sourdough bakery, such kitchen items as metal skewers and poultry shears, as well regional artisan culinary goods, including Silagy Sauce, nonalcoholic Wilderton Botanicals Spirits and spice mixes and bitters from his own brand, Five Star Flavor. The shop also has a case of meats and cheeses, as well as a gelato bar. Swett rented the space outside his shop so customers can eat outdoors when the weather beckons.

I walked through the marketplace to peek in other shops. The glass case at Bloom Cake studio displayed cupcakes ($4.95 each) swirled with pale pink and various shades of chocolate brown. Handmade chocolates wrapped in a rainbow of foil sat under the bright lights of the wraparound bar at Whimsy Chocolates. Parker Family Wine’s tasting room manager Ty Parker gushed about the food trucks outside. On Fridays, the intoxicating smell of ribs from the smoker at the Flavors of ChaChee Food Truck are hard to resist.

If you go

What: Mountain Timber Market

Where: 254 Hendrickson Drive, Kalama

Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

Information:mountaintimber.org

The two food trucks parked outside of the building are both worth trying. On the day I visited, a barbecue chicken panini with a side of coleslaw ($14.99) was the sole menu item at Flavors of ChaChee.

At first I wasn’t sure if the nearby Birreria La Vaquita truck was open because it was tented, but that’s just temporary. Here Leslye Martinez serves food made with recipes passed down from her father, who grew up in Guanajuato, Mexico. The slow-cooked beef is the only protein on the menu; it comes tucked into tortillas reddened by an aromatic consomme. When her food truck is completed, she will add more dishes like burritos and birria ramen. For summer, her beverages can be topped with fresh fruit. She’ll also be serving a lemon cucumber chia agua fresca. When I visited, large containers of creamy horchata and pineapple agua fresca ($5.75-$6.75) sat by the register, along with bottles of Mexican Coke and an array of flavors of Jarritos ($3.75).

I lunched on the covered picnic benches by the food trucks. Afterward, I wandered over to McMenamins Kalama Harbor, visited the Cloud Bar, and found one of the secret rooms (on floors 3 and 4, look for the blue light) where opera music played and a dim light shone on whimsical, McMenaminesque paintings of Luciano Pavarotti and Jerry Garcia. The lodge seemed like a nice place to spend a night or two for a weekend of hanging out on the river and visiting the nearby public market.

If you prefer clouds more than crowds, I recommend visiting the public market in February and March while it’s still relatively quiet. When the sun comes out and the ships from American Cruise Line’s Columbia and Snake River cruise dock here in early April, it will be busy.

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Columbian freelance food writer