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Finnriver Orchard

WE'RE MOVING UP THE ROAD!

JOIN US MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND 2016 AT THE NEW OUTDOOR CIDER GARDEN AT THE FINNRIVER ORCHARD. SEASON OPENING CELEBRATION ON SATURDAY, MAY 28TH.

(Soft opening Friday 5/27!)

124 Center Road, Chimacum, WA.  Just south of the Chimacum Crossroads. Note: Google MAPS may not be updated!

Finnriver is excited to announce the relocation of our tasting room and event facilities to the new Finnriver Orchard & Cider Garden, just south of the Chimacum Crossroads 4-way stop  (2.5 miles north of our current location).  The Finnriver Orchard is a historic former dairy farm that has been renovated to establish our organic farm and apple orchard, a working farm collaborative, our public tasting room, and a farm-based community gathering place for people of all ages.  In relocating to this historic farm and vibrant rural intersection, we have a wonderful opportunity to act upon our mission to reconnect people to the land that sustains us.

Opening celebrations will take place at the new Cider Garden on May 28th with a family-friendly evening of great food, live music and, of course, cider!  The Finnriver tasting room is open 7 days a week throughout the year and after our relocation to the Finnriver Orchard, we will be open for extended summer hours: 12-9pm on Fridays & Saturdays and 12-6pm Sunday-Thursday.

Dented Buoy Pizza will be served from the woodfired oven all weekend through the summer months and Hama Hama Oysters will be joining us on summer Sundays. We’re also creating a new rural music venue for regional and national bands who will be featured Saturday nights as part of our Live Music on the Land concert series.  A $5 suggested cover will help us bring great music to the farm and put the 'culture' into agriculture.  We will also offer free live music on Sunday afternoons. Folks can relax, eat and listen at the 60 ft. long repurposed 'Feeding Trough' Table (yes, formerly an actual cow feeding trough), and appreciate views of the rural Chimacum Valley.  Families can also enjoy our new bocce ball court, kids play area, and self-guided walking tours of the organic orchard.

Finnriver's 5,000+ organic trees include over 20 varieties of heritage and traditional cider and perry varieties.  As the orchard continues to mature, we look forward to crafting ciders that share the beauty and bounty of this land, and offer a taste of the complexity and character of the fruit.

Visitors who want to learn more about Finnriver and about the history, biology and lore of the marvelous apple, can join Johnny Appleseed on an entertaining and educational tour of our organic orchard.  Actor Kenn Mann takes on the role of this charming and historic figure to offer one-hour walking tour performances on the land on summer Saturdays:

Cost for the tours: Adults $8, Couples $15, Children by donation. Tickets may be purchased at the farm on the day of the tour. Tours may also be booked by private groups on other days: contact appleseedtours@gmail.com

Finnriver has also partnered with local and regional farmers and organizations at the Orchard to establish the Chimacum FARM Collaborative and share ground, equipment, resources and values. The group is working together to grow a vibrant agricultural community though research, restoration and education.  Partners include the Organic Seed Alliance, North Olympic Salmon Coalition, Essential Blooms, WSU Jefferson County, the Bread Lab and WSU Sustainable Seed Systems. Finnriver also partnered with the Port Townsend CoLab to convert the classic farm house on the site into a rural co-working center called the Farmhouse CoLab, providing a rural office location and meeting space. Individuals and groups can rent the library meeting room or learn about memberships at: http://farmhouse.colabnw.com

Over the next few years, Finnriver will begin to relocate our cidery production operations to the new location.  Worked as a dairy for over 100 years, this land has deep-rooted family history and abundant stories, as well as layers of rich loam soils. Finnriver and our partners are now honored to add layers to the story of this land. We are excited to share this new place with you all!

The Finnriver season opening at the Cider Garden coincides with the after-party for the Port Townsend Artisan Food Festival (a day of food festivities hosted by the Jefferson County Farmers Market) and will include farm fresh, woodfired pizza from Dented Buoy, authentic Spanish cuisine from Paella House, and a selection of special release Finnriver cider on tap.  Live music from 6-9pm by beloved Port Angeles band, Joy in Mudville, combining old-time bluegrass, folk, country, rock, blues and funk.  A $5 suggested donation will go towards supporting the Jefferson County Farmers Market Gimme5 food assistance matching program.

This move brings us closer to our organic orchard, closer to the Chimacum crossroads, and closer to our vision of rural renewal!

Over the next few years, Finnriver will begin to relocate our cidery production operations to this new location too.

We are excited to share this new place with you all!  

WHY ARE WE MOVING?

A few years ago, Finnriver began leasing acreage at the old Brown Dairy just 3 miles up the road from our current location in the Chimacum Valley.

We started planting organic apple trees, sowing grains and growing vegetables and fell in farmlove with the lush, loam soils, the open expanse of fields, the view down the Valley to neighboring farms, the cradle of forest on either side, and the Olympic Mountains rising above the ridge on clear days.  At the same time, we noticed that things were getting pretty darn lively at our current tasting room, especially on summer weekends.  Our neighbors on Country Meadow Road wondered just how many visitors we planned to welcome on that narrow, one-laned road. When we found out that the local Jefferson Land Trust was working with the Brown family to come up with a long term plan to protect and revive the farm with the help of our friends at Mt. Townsend Creamery, we were excited to see what would happen. It turns out the Mt. Townsend Creamery found a great new location in town to make their cheese instead so Finnriver Cidery stepped in to make a plan to renovate and repurpose the historic dairy.  With thanks to local investment and community support, we are are well on our way!

In relocating to this vibrant rural intersection, we have a wonderful opportunity to act upon our mission to ‘serve the land with cider.'  We will reduce disruptive traffic impacts on our current neighbors while reclaiming prime farmland, restoring historic structures, growing rural community, and developing vital agricultural infrastructure for ourselves and other local food producers.  

HISTORY OF THIS FARM

This farm sits at the north end of the Chimacum Valley along the Chimacum Creek, both of which are named after the Chimakum, a Native American people who lived in this region through the mid-19th century. According to Quileute tradition, the Chimakum were a remnant of a Quileute band who had been carried away in their canoes by a great flood through a passageway in the Olympic Mountains and deposited on the other side of the Peninsula.

From the early days of European settlement, in the early 1800s, much of the land in this area was operated for forestry and for agriculture, primarily dairy. William Bishop, Sr. was an early pioneer in the Chimacum Valley. He married, by Indian custom, a Snohomish Indian woman named Klastatute. They had three children and their son William Bishop, Jr. purchased this land in 1898, and went on to become a leading political figure and dairyman, with prize-winning Holstein cattle. Along with distinction in the Purebred Dairy Cattle Association "Hall of Fame", Bishop was the first elected Native American to serve as a senator in the State of Washington and served multiple terms in the state House and Senate until his death in 1934. Senator Bishop married Madeline Ammeter in 1900 and they had three children. With the Senator’s passing, Mrs. Bishop managed the farm with her two sons until her own death in 1956, when the Bishop Dairy Farm was sold to B.G. and Gloria Brown.

B.G. Brown was a young Marine from Kansas City who came to the Northwest during the Korean War when he was assigned to the Bangor and Indian Island bases. Gloria was raised in Port Orchard and Poulsbo. Her father worked in the shipyard in Bremerton but always kept milking cows. Gloria and Brownie dreamed of having their own dairy someday and purchased this farm in 1956. In addition to his career as a dairyman, Brownie served as County Commission for 20 years, where he advocated for the agricultural interests of Jefferson County with vision and true civic spirit. The Brown family raised several generations of family here and ran the dairy operation for almost 50 years. Due to the unexpected deaths of B.G. and his son Brad Brown within a short period, the family had to sell the herd. In 2009 the Jefferson Land Trust launched a 'working lands' initiative to preserve farmland in this region and made an agreement with Gloria Brown to place a conservation easement on these 50 acres, ensuring that the farm, prime soils and salmon- bearing creek would be protected forever.

Worked as a dairy for over 100 years, this land has deep-rooted family history and abundant stories, as well as layers of rich loam soils. Finnriver and our partners are now honored to add layers to the story of this land...