For years, fans who wanted to sample Finnriver's cider traipsed out to its Chimacum farm, a little off the beaten path, and crowded into a narrow tasting room. During the summer, the traffic along the one-lane farm road and in the tasting room was getting to be a bit tight. That all changes tomorrow, when the cidery moves its tasting operations closer to the more centrally-located Chimacum Corner, where the company will run Finnriver Orchard & Cider Garden.
Finnriver owners Crystie and Keith Kisler have taken over a historic former dairy farm at 124 Center Road, renovating it into an organic farm and apple orchard with some 5,000 trees — a first for the company, which had not previously grown the apples it used in its ciders.
The site is also a working farm collaborative, community gathering place, and, of course, tasting room, with much more space than before. There's a large pavilion with a 60-foot feeding trough that's been repurposed into a communal table, a bocce court, a kids' play area, and self-guided walking tours of the orchard. The site will eventually be home to Finnriver's cidery production, too.
In its new digs, Finnriver is partnering with local farmers and organizations to establish the Chimacum FARM Collaborative, which will allow them to share ground, equipment, resources, and knowledge. The old farmhouse has been transformed into the Farmhouse CoLab, a co-working and meeting space.
On Fridays and weekends during the busy summer months, Dented Buoy Pizza will make use of the wood-fired oven. Saturday nights will bring bands from 6 to 9 p.m. with a suggested donation of $5. Hama Hama farm will shuck oysters on Sundays, when there's also free live music. On other days, there will be "bar snacks" on offer. Finnriver will host an opening celebration on Saturday, May 28 from noon to 9 p.m. with food, live music, and plenty of hard cider. More information on all the goings-on can be found at the Chimacum Corner website.