Shortly before I returned to Seattle I spoke with Jeff and Janet (pictured in the upper right), who are partners and manage the day-to-day operation of the farm, about what makes Finnriver so unique. “It takes a lot of people with different backgrounds to make a farm a business and a community,” Janet explained. “It’s fun and challenging to be a part of that.” And, reflecting on her early decision to stay at the farm, she succinctly stated, “It felt more real and more right here than anything I could imagine doing.” Both gave a lot of credit to working with Crystie and Keith Kisler. As Jeff said, “The Kislers are dreamers and doers. The potential here seems infinite; it’s unfathomable to envision what we have done. The dream isn’t 20 years away, it’s ‘What can we do next year that would be awesome that involves the community in enjoying the beauty of the land?'”
I learned a lot from Crystie, Keith, Janet, and Jeff. Great food and drink doesn’t happen by accident; it takes a community of dedicated people–“dreamers and doers” both on and off the farm–to create something special that ends up on your plate or in your glass. Running an organic family farm and small-scale cidery is admittedly a hard job, and there are no days off. But the rewards not only come from the land, but from spending time with the people who work on it every day. Though my month on the farm is now in the past, my experience there was so inspirational that Finnriver will always be a part of my present thoughts and future hopes.
Looking back, here are some images and memories:
I’m already missing the Thoreau-esque charms of my cabin. Snowy nights and warming meals. Reading, writing, and sips of Spirited Apple Wine.
The breathtaking beauty of the farm after a winter storm, snow clinging to the blueberry bushes. And a dramatic patch of sun after the snow subsided.
All the animals. Pippin and Clarkie, farm dog and cat, respectively. The noisy ducks. The charming, fascinating chickens.
Some farm work gathered an audience, other tasks were more contemplative.
The bridge over Chimacum Creek was my favorite place to stop and think, and watch the calming creek flow; the sound of moving water soothing and hypnotic. I’ll be thinking about this spot whenever I open a bottle of Finnriver cider.