We were pleased to be able to tour the cider apple research facility at Washington State University in Mount Vernon, Washington. The pictures above are of some French cider apple varieties growing in their test orchard. Willow Oaks has 4 French apple varieties in the ground. Now we just wait for the fruit! http://cider.wsu.edu
Eric and Lori are on a bit of a busman's holiday, visiting with wine and cider makers in British Columbia and Washington State. The photo above is from our visit to Sea Cider in Saanichton, BC. They maintain a certified organic orchard with sweeping views of Haro Straight. We also visited Silverside and Cherry Point on the east coast of Vancouver Island where they make delicious port-style fruit wines. Today we'll head out to Alpenfire, another organic orchard and cidery.
We have had dogs and cats over the years. Losing them is always devastating to our little farm household. Their spirits are so woven into the rhythm of our days. Our Emma Rose was entwined into every inch of this place and every person who set foot here.
From the time Emma came home with us 10 years ago she had a keen sense of place. She found her spot, she recognized she was home. And she recognized that from the looks of us we sure needed her help. Emma went everywhere with us no matter the weather. She surveyed her land, supervised the work and tried to keep track of everyone. She took her responsibility to heart.
She greeted everyone with her big goofy smile which she employed so vigorously that the curl of her lip made her whiskers tickle her nose....and then the sneezing began. Smiling, sneezing, wagging and whimpering with excitement is how our extended farm family was welcomed. Once you were hers you were hers and she remembered you and she loved you and she looked after you. She took you to heart.
Our hearts are sorely broken as we lost our dear Emma this week. She had such spunk we were certain she would be with us longer. She developed an autoimmune anemia and passed in our arms on the day we were to begin treatment for her. A very short, sudden illness, she did not seem to be in pain. Eric and I both held her in her spot at the top of the stairs.
Come celebrate with Willow Oaks. 30 years of planning, planting and tending deserves a little love! Craft cider, traditional music and a reunion of the artists from Fine Arts in the Valley.
Saturday 7/1- 11am-5pm
Sunday 7/2- 11am-5pm
Mark your calendars! More details to follow
Eric and I have always loved our view. We never tire of it, not matter the season, weather, time of day or how busy we are. Below the barn we carved out garden spaces, planted trees, lilacs and peonies. We planted that garden before the foundation of Willow Oaks’ barn was even poured. Now that the interior spaces in the barn are taking shape you can come and enjoy the view, no matter the weather or season. There are cozy spots on the loft, tables by the windows, games, Legos, crayons and paper. Bring your friends, your kids, and a picnic and tuck yourself in. We are so happy to be able to share our sense of place. Saturdays and Sundays 11-5 and by special arrangement. Cheers ~Lori
Quercus prelos, Willow Oak
We planted Willow Oaks all around our barn. We love the graceful branches of these native oaks. So when it came time to name our winery those branches just reached out and tapped us on the shoulder and said 'me'.
Apple blossoms=apples=Willow Oaks ciders! You can now come out and see where the magic happens. We had a great preview opening weekend and will now be open for tastings every Saturday and Sunday 11-5. We are still building out our farm stand space but we will have jams and beef and plants available for sale. Asparagus is right around the corner too!
Willow Oaks and Millstone cider makers are heading out this weekend to begin replanting the historic Piper Orchard at Antietam Battlefield. The budding partnership with the National Park Service at Antietam looks forward to bloom! Conversations and planning move on to planting the American heritage apple trees that will again grace the slopes of Piper Orchard. Restoring living history, beautiful and delicious!