Finnriver is excited to announce the relocation of our tasting room and event facilities to the 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.
Finnriver's 6,000+ 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.
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, and the WSU Bread Lab. 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!
HISTORY OF THE CHIMACUM DAIRY 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...