Finnriver Farm & Cidery

Photo May 08, 4 24 42 PMPhoto May 08, 4 25 00 PM

The Finnriver Farm & Cidery is an 80 acre family farm & orchard in Chimacum, WA.  They are located in a rural farm community about an hour and a half from the Alderbrook Community.  The drive is beautiful and scenic, mostly along Hood Canal on Rt 101.  Be sure to get directions from their website.  The final turn on to Barn Swallow Rd is easy to miss if you’re not ready.  There is a long, windy, bumpy road that will lead you to the farm.  Be aware, the road travels through and past other private farmlands & neighbors.  Be respectful, drive slowly and enjoy all of the cautionary rhyming signs traveling through.  The farm landscape is beautiful, but private.  One can only assume from the number of clever signs, the neighbors often find people trespassing on their properties, hopefully by mistake.  At the end of the road, park and follow the path around to the right which is where the entrance is to the tasting room.

 

The tasting room is open daily from noon-5pm.  Inside the building, the room is small or shallow with a long counter.  The room is deliciously fragrant.  There are not just ciders and fruit wines, but also soaps, lotions and other odds & ends.  The tasting is a $5 fee which is a bargain for the service, education and history you’ll receive.  We were treated to 6 ciders and 2 fruit wine samples including how each was made, where the different ingredients came from and some of the science behind production.  As she poured our samples, our server told us farm anecdotes, personal thoughts & favorites and some great history of the Finnriver Farm.  And if that was not fantastic enough, we were also permitted to taste other ciders that had not been a part of the tasting in order to finalize our selections for purchase.  It was tough to decide, there were so many amazing flavors including a seasonal selection.  After selecting 5 different bottles within my group, we added some other items as well including a Finnriver Farm & Cidery sticker for the bargain deal of 50 cents!  They accept cash & credit, wrap your purchases in tissue paper and put them in handled paper bags decorated with a stamp of apples.  They then invite you to wander around and check out the rest of the farm, there are even some trails to walk.  Our visit to Finnriver was perfect, 5 stars.

P1040095

Festivals & Festivities

Pretty much year round there is bound to be some sort of annual celebration or festival from the Olympic Peninsula area to the Kitsap Peninsula area.  And this list doesn’t even include the heavy hitters in Pierce, King and surrounding counties like the Washington State Fair or Bumbershoot!  So here is a month by month list of the different festivities happening in our “neck of the woods” January through December.  Be sure to check websites for dates, admission fees, etc.  If you see one we’ve missed, be sure to let us know and we’ll add it on the list!

January:

February:

March:

April:

May:

June:

July:

August:

September:

October:

November:

December:

Beer, Breweries & Brewpubs

Are you a beer lover? Interested in brewpubs & brewery tours? Did you know that Washington is the largest exporter of hops in the nation? We grow 70% of the nation’s hops used to make countless numbers of beers. And 2/3’s of the hops grown in Yakima Valley are exported to countries all over the world! There are 146 active breweries in Washington, now that’s a lot of beer. And there are even entire books written on beer in the Pacific Northwest. Wikipedia will provide a complete list of the breweries in our state, but here are some main attractions: Elysian Brewing Company, Pike Brewing Company, Pyramid Breweries, Redhook Ale Brewery, Rogue Ales and Scuttlebutt Brewing Company. And May through October, there are more than 30 beer festivals state wide, throw Oregon in the mix and there are over 40. If you love to celebrate beer, there’s no place better to celebrate than Washington State. Interested in a complete list of Washington’s breweries and brewpubs? Check out these guys: The Washington Beer Blog

And if you’re interested in staying local, here are some places to check out!

 

Brinnon’s Geoduck Tavern, located on US 101, and was one of Esquire magazine’s 2012 best bars in America due in part to its local beer selection. There is also the 101 Brewery at Twana Roadhouse which is known for its woman-made beers! The Geoduck is about 50 minutes from Union and the 101 Brewery is just over an hour.

And while we know this is supposed to be about beer, we need to also give mention to the Heritage Distilling Company which is located in Gig Harbor, about an hour from Union. They distill their own spirits and teach guests how to produce their own.  And much closer to home, the Hardware Distillery.

And we can’t wrap it up without a nod to our beverage cousin, cider. Home of the apple, we have more than a few to offer, but we’ll stay as local as we can. Finnriver Farm & Cidery in Chimacum or Eaglemount Wine & Cider in Port Angeles.  (both about 1.5 hours from Union)

Washington Is For (Wine) Lovers <3

If you love wine, wineries, wine tastings, all things wine, there are more than a half a dozen spots nearby and if you don’t mind a short drive, the options just continue to multiply. Washington State is the second largest wine producer in the nation, home to over 750 wineries. Our state’s vineyards lie at the same latitude as the classic wine growing regions of France. Washington wine touring information is broken down into 8 regions and the industry welcomes 2.4 million visitors annually. The South Sound/Olympic Peninsula area has more than 20 wineries alone! There are several annual events throughout our region including Olympic Peninsula Wineries Red Wine & Chocolate in February, Northwest Wine and Cheese Tour in April, Lavender Celebration in July, Dungeness Crab and Seafood Festival in October and the Harvest Wine Tour in November.  And check here for more wine information and a free Washington State Wine Official Tour Guide.

Hoodsport Winery was established in 1978. They are located in the Olympic Peninsula with a stunning view of Hood Canal and just 12 miles from Union, WA. Hoodsport features smaller productions of unique varieties like, Island Belle and Lemberger-Cabernet. In addition, they specialize in Raspberry, Rhubarb and Loganberry wines. The gift shop and wine tasting are open daily 10am-6pm. They also do tons of events year round.

Mosquito Fleet Winery LLC is located in Belfair, about 15 miles from Union, WA. Two couples that met in 2000 had no idea that eventually the path of their friendship would lead them to open the Mosquito Fleet Winery in 2009. They chose the name as due to its historical significance that paid tribute to the maritime history of the Puget Sound and paid homage to the state’s first winery, which still stands just miles away. Visit their website to find out how to check out their hand crafted wines.

Walter Dacon Wines is located about 20 miles from Union, WA in Shelton. They specialize in Rhone and Mediterranean style wines and source grapes from select vineyard sites in the Yakima and Columbia Valleys of Washington State. The winery was established in 2003 when they barreled their first crush. By 2005 their tasting room was open and they debuted their first wines. The wines were well received and highly rated. With their unique and fascinating décor, they are destination winery. The tasting room is open Wed-Sun noon-6pm.

Stottle Winery and its main tasting room is located in Lacey which is just under an hour from Union, WA, but they also have a tasting room in Hoodsport, which is just 20 minutes away. Stottle Winery has been receiving press and many accolades since 2008 and has many award winning wines. Each tasting room location has its own hours and days of operation, so be sure to check their website before heading out.

The Nanstad Winery is located in nearby Grapeview, but is not open to the public. They specialize in red wines and their site explains where to buy their products.

Top of the Cork does not have a website, but their information is 18351 E State Route 3, Allyn, WA | (360) 275-5657. They are located about 30 minutes from Union, WA. Their tasting room features great Northwest wines from Washington & Oregon.

And for wine tasting the closest to home, head down to the Cameo which is about 3 minutes away. The Cameo Boutique Wine Shop offers wines from all around the world. Complimentary wine tastings are offered every Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5pm. Special “after hours” wine tastings are offered by invitation.

If you’re a food lover interested in discovering some new and unusual local dining experiences, read on!

If you ever thought doughnuts were getting boring, never fear!  I’ve recently discovered Legendary Doughnuts in Tacoma.  “We have taken doughnuts to the next LEVEL”.  They are not kidding!  Legendary Doughnuts boasts a menu that would rival a full scale restaurant.  They have Amateur, Famous, Legendary, Specialty Legendaries and the Extraordinary.  When you offer this many  choices, you not only have to be creative in your preparation, you also need to be creative with names.   The Albert Einstein, the Bill Gates and even the Bill Cosby are just a few of the options. To find out more about these crazy doughnuts, you’ll just have to go and check them out.  Be sure to bring a sweet tooth and several friends to share with.  Their hours vary by day, but they open every day at 5am.  Get some!

McMenamin’s is also another great dining experience unique to the Pacific Northwest.  Each of their locations showcase completely different and  fascinating interiors and exteriors that will having you feeling like you’ve traveled back in time.  Take a ride to Olympia, Tacoma or Centralia to experience their nearest locations.  There’s really no way to summarize what these guys are all about, check out their website and see for yourself.

 The Robin Hood Restaurant and Pub is located right here in Union, WA.  It is a great place to go for food, cozy and inviting atmosphere, lovely people and quirky decor.  The Robin Hood has been around since 1934!  They offer a menu of local and organic Northwest cuisine.  I recommend the lemon drop prawns, wow they are delectable!  They have a great happy hour, Fireball Fridays, Acoustic Saturdays and an open mic on Wednesdays.  Check this place out, you’ll really feel like your dining in Sherwood Forest.

I could quite literally spend days talking about the amazing foods and restaurants that fill the highways and byways of Western Washington.  And as many different  cities or locales often have their own famous food specialties, we too excel at one thing in particular.  Chicago may have pizza.  NYC may have bagels.  Philly may have cheese steaks.  But we have seafood and lots of it!  Salmon, cod, oysters, mussels, clams, geoducks, shrimp and the list goes on.  We’ve have highly rated standards with multiple locations like Anthony’s, Ivar’s, Duke’s for starters.  And for well loved, fairly local seafood sensations, head to the Fish Tale Brew Pub in Olympia.  The Fish Tale is Olympia’s oldest brewpub and revered by the locals.  But if you’re more interested in enjoying these delicacies in the comfort of your own home, we can do that too!  The Hama Hama Oyster Company is located in Lilliwaup, less than 30 min from Union.  While oysters are their specialty, they also offer clams, crab cakes and a few other assorted goodies.  We are also proud the be the home location of Taylor Shellfish.  They are located in Shelton, also less than 30 min from Union.  You can visit the Taylor Shellfish retail location to pick up fresh oysters, Manila clams, geoducks & mussels or an assortment of  frozen quality fish and shellfish.

Happy dining fellow food lovers!

 

And hello again!  I’m back here on my mission:  Why live anywhere else?  Let’s talk coffee, beer and wine!

As every coffee lover knows, Washington is pretty much the coffee capital of the United States.  Starbucks, the biggest coffee chain in the world, was founded in Seattle.  The original Starbucks can be found at 1912 Pike Place.  We have more coffee bean roasters per capita than anywhere else in the US.  And if you’re in to small, independent coffee shops and cafes, there is no shortage of them here.  State routes, highways and even the small back roads are often filled with small, drive through coffee stops, reminiscent of old photo huts.  And because there are so many coffee entrepreneurs out there, these places are constantly working to push the envelope of creativity.  So whether you like your coffee “black as midnight on a moonless night” -Agent Dale Cooper via Twin Peaks, a crazy caffeinated concoction or a fancy frozen frappe, you’re bound to find something new and unique to broaden your cuppa joe horizons.

And for the beer lovers, Washington State is the nation’s #1 hops grower.  We grow 70% of the nation’s hops used to make countless numbers of beers.  And 2/3’s of the hops grown in Yakima Valley are exported to countries all over the world!  There are 146 active breweries in Washington, now that’s a lot of beer.  And there are even entire books written on beer in the Pacific Northwest.  Wikipedia will provide a complete list of the breweries in our state, but here are some main attractions:  Elysian Brewing Company, Pike Brewing Company, Pyramid Breweries, Redhook Ale Brewery, Rogue Ales and Scuttlebutt Brewing Company.  And May through October, there are more than 30 beer festivals state wide, throw Oregon in the mix and there are over 40.  If you love to celebrate beer, there’s no place better to celebrate than Washington State.    Interested in a complete list of Washington’s breweries and brewpubs?  Check out these guys:  The Washington Beer Blog

Finally, for the oenophiles out there, Washington State is the second largest wine producer in the nation, home to over 750 wineries.  Our state’s vineyards lie at the same latitude as the classic wine growing regions of France.   Washington wine touring information is broken down into 8 regions and the industry welcomes 2.4 million visitors annually.   The South Sound/Olympic Peninsula area has more than 20 wineries alone!  There are several annual events throughout our region including Olympic Peninsula Wineries Red Wine & Chocolate in February, Northwest Wine and Cheese Tour in April, Lavender Celebration in July, Dungeness Crab and Seafood Festival in October and the Harvest Wine Tour in November.  Check out http://olympicpeninsulawineries.org for for information on those.  And be sure to visit http://washingtonwine.org for more wine information and a free Washington State Wine Official Tour Guide.

Perhaps next time we’ll move on to everyone’s favorite:  FOOD!