We’ve come a long way since our last update, and you can now find our farmhouse ciders in a number of pubs and bottle shops throughout Portland and the surrounding areas. The orchard continues to grow, and plans for the a tasting room continue to progress. Here’s a bit of detail on some of our bigger projects and a look of what’s to come!
We planted another 500 saplings over the winter, bringing our total to over 1,500 English and French variety cider apple trees now growing on the farm. Our lineup now includes Yarlington Mill, Dabinette,Kingston Black, Porters Perfection, Harrisons, Muscat De Bernay, Michelin, TremlettsBitter, Stoke Red, Nehou, Macheron, and Ellis Bitter. The trees have remained mostly healthy, although we have noticed some damage from voles. Fortunately,we recently welcomed two new members to the Stone Circle Team and put them on the job. Kingston and Scrumpy are our two new barn cats and are on the case!
In addition to the trees that we put into the ground, we were fortunate to be able to get some incredible scion wood for new tree starts. A friend invited us to take cuttings from his outstanding selection of cider apple trees in Yakima. We took cuttings from over 50 varieties of trees, many of which have great stories behind them or are very rare. We intend to plant at least 1-2 of each variety in order to establish a tree collection that we can use to educate and share with visitors to our farm.
Our plans for our much anticipated tasting room on the farm have evolved over the last year or so. We are no longer planning to re-purpose the old barn on our property. Instead, we have elected to take advantage of a room in our production facility. The new location will feature an indoor/outdoor experience, with picnic grounds and fire pit located right next to our pond. We are in the process of working out exactly what we want, but we have a lot of big ideas and are aiming for a spring 2019 opening!
Even getting to this point of the project has been a journey. As we were doing our business planning for the tasting room, we came across a state law allowing vineyards land use approval to produce and sell wine on the property. Much to our chagrin, we learned that the law did not extend to cider makers. Sensing the injustice, we protested to our state senator and worked with his office to draft a bill extending the law to cideries. After a couple of months of lobbying and testifying, we were able to get the law passed through the Oregon State Legislature unanimously! A big thanks to Senator Alan Olsen’s office and the Northwest Cider Association for helping to make our dream possible!
We are very lucky to have found a local supplier of cider apples from Washougal, Washington. The partnership is ideal as they are growing most of the same varieties that we have planted on the farm currently, and are very difficult to come by. We bring the apples back to Estacada to be hand pressed here on the farm.
We’ve been very pleased with our product in our first year and believe we have produced an authentic example of English farmhouse cider. We will continue to offer our Farmhouse Dry, Semi-Dry, Sweet, and Sour Cherry ciders year round. In addition, we will be announcing other seasonals throughout the year. Our Lavender-Tarragon cider was incredibly popular, and will make another appearance later in the year. In addition, we will also have a limited release Perry coming out in the spring. Connect with us on social media to learn about all of our releases!
We’ve spent many a days out and about town spreading the good word about what we do. We’re very pleased to have our products available at many locations throughout Portland, the Southeast suburbs, and beyond. We have our accounts updated on our website for everyone trying to snag a bottle. In addition,we now ship our product to most states through Vino Shipper!
In addition, we’re going to be doing a lot of farmers markets and festivals throughout the year. Thanks to everyone who is enjoying the cider and being a part of our passion!