Vashon Ciderfest 2016 - October 1

Vashon CiderFest Cider tasting is in 2 days... October 1st. Are you ready? Vashon's Ciderfest is one of the oldest running cider celebrations in the US. We've been attending this event since about 2008, much longer than we've been producing cider commercially. It's an honor to be able to participate in the tradition. We've met and made many friends here over the years.

On the island you'll also find fresh cider pressing, you can visit two island cideries Nashi Orchards and Dragon's Head Cider. At the tasting we'll be in good company with the island cidermakers above and Alpenfire Cider, Vashon Winery, and Seattle Distilling Company. Accompanied by music from Danny Newcomb & the Sugarmakers

Event info here: http://www.vashonchamber.com/pages/VashonCiderFest
Facebook Event info here: Vashon CiderFest Hard Cider Tasting with Danny Newcomb

Introducing Gibb's Farm Cider Blend 2015 Harvest

Introducing Gibbs Farm Blend a brand new, limited release, single farm dry cider blended at the press and fermented entirely from a selection of heritage heirloom apples grown in the homestead orchard of sustainable organic farming pioneer Grant Gibbs in the Fruend Canyon near Leavenworth Washington.

We like to think this has the flavors one might come to expect from a classic New World Northwest made cider made with traditional heirloom varieties none to be good for cider but not grown specifically for cidermaking.

Cider color is bright warm gold, with a brilliant non-filtered clarity. This cider has a citrus-like acidity with flavors of Meyer Lemon, Tangerine, and a touch of caramel to round things out. Very champagne-like, just off-dry having a kiss of sweetness, balanced with a sharp acidity and a refreshing clean finish.

Made entirely from Jonathan, McIntosh, Winesap, Golden Delicious, and Northern Spy planted, raised, grown, and picked by Grant Gibbs and family. 

Mark Musick visited Grant's farm in December, 1980, and took this photo of his recently-planted orchard. In the photo from left to right are Bob Elk, Michael "Skeeter' Pilarski, Warren Taber, and Grant Gibbs (far right).

This is the same orchard the Gibb's Farm apples come from today some 36 years later. Photo stolen from Washington Tilth.

We've been meaning to post this for some time now about our Gibbs Farm Blend made exclusively from the heirloom apple selection from Gibb's Organic Farm in Freund Canyon near Leavenworth WA.

If you do a little research and reading you'll find that Grant Gibbs for many is an icon of the sustainable farming movement. For years he has mentored young farmers and interns teaching them his ways and methods.

I first learned about the mythical man Grant Gibbs when I picked a copy of Broken Limbs a documentary about the apple industry in Wenatchee, Washington. At the time (2004-5), I was getting pretty heavy into cider. My family is from Wenatchee on my Mom's side, and I grew up spending much time there. Wenatchee also owes almost it's entire identity to apples and apple growing. At the time the industry was seeing serious downsizing of orchards inside city limits thanks to development. Outside the towns area farmers began to shift to grapes and wine, or even just give up on apples as imported fruits threatened market prices and sustainable wages for smaller orchard owners. Sustainable farming practices and the ways of Grant Gibbs was presented as a ray of hope and was reinforced by the New American Farmer movement and the wisdom and evangelism of visionary John Ikerd

About a year after first seeing the video my younger brother James ended up working at Sunshine Farm Market on Lake Chelan, which at the time was owned by one of the co-creators of Broken Limbs. There at Sunshine Market is where James met Grant. James and Grant immediately hit it off thanks to a love of sustainable farming and mutual appreciation of Old-Time and Bluegrass music. During our annual Summer pilgrimage to Lake Chelan, James introduced me to Grant at an outdoor market, and as Grant recalls one of the first things I said to him is that "I want to make cider with your apples". Lofty aspirations for a home cidermaker but we already had an idea of where we were headed with Whitewood.

Fast forward a few years and we were buying apples in quantity from Grant to add to our cider blend. This past season however I had changed some blends up and wanted to really celebrate Grant's work and let the Gibbs Organic Farm fruit shine on it's own. So we picked up all we could last year and pressed, fermented, and matured it into this year's Gibb's Farm Blend. I think it might be my favorite cider of 2015's harvest that we've made. We only take what Grant doesn't sell or plan to sell at the market or in the co-ops he deals with. This year as Grant is optimistic of the harvest and should that all work out, we hope to double production (or better) of Gibb's Farm blend.

2015 marked Grant's 40th year farming on his property and we are so pleased we could help celebrate that landmark by turning some of his efforts into a cider we can all enjoy. Whitewood Cider (Heather and Dave) would really like thank Grant for his years of friendship, trust, and mentorship, and are looking forward to making this cider for many many years to come.

Image courtesy of Gibbs Farm

Visit with Grant Gibbs 

If you find yourself in the Leavenworth, Lake Chelan, Manson, areas you can generally find Grant hocking his organic produce at the various farmers markets in the area. I highly recommend trying to find him for a brief visit and to purchase some of his outstanding fresh organic produce, or newly released prepared foods. If you are lucky he'll have his banjo and will pick and sing ya a song.

  • Leavenworth: Find Gibbs Farm of his prepared foods at Leavenworth Farmer's Market.
  • Manson (Lake Chelan area): Catch up with him at the on Saturday mornings starting at 8:30am until sell-out or noonish.
  • Lake Chelan: You can also find Grant Gibbs at Lake Chelan Farmers Market Thursday evenings  4pm – 7pm. May 26th – October 6th.

More About Gibbs Organic Produce

For forty years, Grant Gibbs has used innovative stewardship practices to transform an abandoned dairy farm on the eastern slope of the Cascades to a productive organic farm.

When he acquired the farm, its soil quality was very poor with little organic matter. Today, the 80-acre farm produces high quality, organic produce and meats available on site, at farmers' markets, and through food co-ops.

The farm also includes a 60-acre tree farm and sawmill from which the Gibbs family produces wood products. Crops include hay, cattle, hogs, chickens, market garden, berries, herbs, garlic, cherries, walnuts, pears, apples, pasture, and timber.



The kegs are almost gone other than a couple that might show up for Washington Cider Week 2016.