Of the 355 acres that make up Craig and Sharon Campbell’s Harmony Orchards in the Yakima Valley, which have been in Craig’s family since the 1920s when his grandfather planted the first trees in Tieton, Washington, 55 are dedicated to growing cider-specific fruit. That’s enough to make the Campbell’s the largest producer of cider fruit in Washington State.
That’s no accident. Craig, who has a degree in horticulture from WSU and has been growing and marketing produce for over three decades, is uniquely qualified to make lots of cider. When he initially planted cider fruit in 2008, he started with twenty-five varieties on two acres to study growing patterns and flavor profiles. From that, he has narrowed it down to the ten varieties most suitable for Tieton Cider Works production, while leaving the door open to continuously experiment.
This attention to detail and passion for experimentation, not to mention hiring Marcus Robert, a fourth generation Yakima orchardist, as Tieton manager and cidermaker in 2010, has yielded a line of ten superb ciders and Perry’s. Utilizing bittersharps and bittersweets—Kingston Black, Yarlington Mill, and Harry Masters Jersey among then—and blending with organic dessert apples captures the best of what each variety brings to the bottle and results in ciders with body and a depth of finish. And there’s likely more to come: in just the last four years, Tieton’s production has increased from 200 cases to 13,000, and a new production facility and tasting room will be open starting November 1st.
Tieton’s new facility will allow visitors an opportunity to perch up at the cider bar and sample six different core and seasonal ciders on tap. Three of those, Wild Washington, Dry Hopped, and Apricot, will be poured at City Fruit’s 4th Annual Hard Cider Taste on November 6th. Get your tickets now to experience the taste of Tieton ciders!