My first day at Finnriver Farm was full of hard work (well, for a soft-handed city boy) but very rewarding. I’m already fond of the chickens and their unbridled enthusiasm for being fed. And during morning egg collection (some of them still warm), I was surprised at how many I gathered even though winter production is less vigorous.
And along with eating these incredibly fresh eggs, there was a host of winter produce to enjoy. Potatoes, garlic, onions, Brussels sprouts, kale, and the aforementioned eggs all made for a delicious skillet lunch.
I must admit to being surprised at so much food being available on a farm in January. I couldn’t help but think of an article written by my friend Amy Pennington about how to eat seasonally in the winter in the Pacific Northwest; the timing of its publication, days before I left for Finnriver, couldn’t have been more appropriate. When we think of farm-fresh produce, we’re probably dreaming of picking berries in the summer sun, not snipping kale in the gray and cold rain.
So how do you combat the dampness and chill of a winter on the Olympic Peninsula? Fortunately, Finnriver is also a cidery, and they make a wider range of ciders and fruit wines, from dry to sweet, sparkling to still. The one I am particularly fond of this time of year is the Spirited Apple Wine. It’s apple wine with apple brandy and, while it has port-like strength (18.5% alcohol), it has a certain lightness to it that I find unique. To quote the back label, it brings you “warmth and good cheer.”
So does the entire farm.