This city boy spent the month of January 2012 living and volunteering at Finnriver Farm and Cidery on Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula. So many wonderful memories of my time there, you can catch up on all my adventures during that month in this blog post. (Including a link to my Edible Seattle article recalling my winter tenure.)
[Sidebar: It’s Washington Cider Week from today to September 15th. Yeah, that’s right: 7 days are not enough to contain this week full of super cool events. Go forth and celebrate cider!]
But the most wonderful part is that I still feel like a member of the farm family. It’s a relationship that I treasure, and enjoy being a tireless advocate for this organic family farm. I also happen to love their cider. Which is why I was overjoyed to be hired by Finnriver to add tasting notes on their website for each cider (and fruit wine).
I spent an afternoon at the farm sampling everything they made and putting my (very non-technical) thoughts into words. You can head to Finnriver’s product page, click on anything you wish to learn more about, and scroll to the bottom for my thoughts. I don’t want to give away too much, but let’s talk about the pictured Dry Hopped Cider. While the adults of the Finnriver family enjoy it with popcorn tossed with nutritional yeast, I trumpet pairing the Dry Hopped Cider with dry roasted peanuts from CB’s Nuts in nearby Kingston. (Note: While this cider is kind of like apples meeting an IPA, it doesn’t have any of that hoppy bitterness. More of the floral, herbaceous side of the hop.)
The Dry Hopped Cider hints at the spirit of experimentation at Finnriver. Habenero? Fir tips? Rosehips? Check, check, check. (Though not all in the same cider.) And I’d like to give special mention to the Artisan Sparkling Cider. It’s made using the same method as Champagne and hand-riddled in riddling racks hand-made by Finnriver’s “boat-building neighbor Pete.” (Damn, wish my neighbors were that crafty.) The Artisan Sparkling Cider is extremely elegant, light in alcohol, and perfect for adjusting the mood of any day into one with a significant amount of celebratory charm.
This afternoon at the farm inspired a trip down memory lane. I have a whole set of photos on Flickr documenting my month at Finnriver that you can peruse at your convenience. They’re full of people, chickens, ducks, blueberry bushes, eggs, cats, vegetables, and dogs. Oh, and SNOW! We had quite a bit of a storm (for these parts) that really transformed the farm. And when the sun came out, the contrast between the blue sky and white snow was remarkable. Here are some of my favorite images:
My cabin at dusk:
In the morning:
Sun emerging after the storm:
And Clarkie, staying warm inside:
If you’ve had any of Finnriver’s ciders, share your impressions in the comments. Just don’t wake Clarkie.