Hands down, my favorite cider is made right here in the Met-Low, at Booth Canyon Orchard. This nectar of the Methow gods is slightly dry, not too sweet, and has a complex layered flavor that blossoms on the palette. Stina Booth and John Richardson are the orchardists beneath the trees and behind the bottles of the delicious Booth Canyon Orchard cider.
Nestled between the base of McClure Mountain and the crystal-clear waters of the Methow River, Stina has tended her home and orchard for 30 years. In the beginning, she operated the orchard while still working for the U.S. Forest Service. In time, Stina and John grew the orchard tree by tree and graft by graft to nurture apple and pear varietals with distinctive flavor. Within a few years, Stina left her job with the USFS to be a full-time orchardist.
The first time I saw the Booth Canyon Orchard fruit stand was at the Ballard Farmers Market in Seattle. I had just moved to Carlton and was pleasantly surprised to find another Carltonian in the neighborhood. Stina and John sold Booth Canyon Orchard fruit through several farmers markets on the west side. Their first pressed ciders were sold on tap at the Twisp River Pub. While working the markets, Stina and John lived on their sailboat in Seattle.
2019 was a pivotal year for Stina. She and her brother George completed the 750-mile physical endurance no-motor, no support boat race from Port Townsend to Ketchikan. The Race to Alaska along the inside passage is North America’s longest human and wind powered race. Marcy Stamper wrote about Stina and George’s race for the Methow Valley News and the article can be accessed through the online archives here: https://methowvalleynews.com/2019/07/24/rowed-warriors.
Also in 2019, Stina and John shifted away from marketing fresh fruit at the markets and began crafting dry aged cider. “The farmers markets were super intense, it was invigorating to talk to all the people,” Stina said, but transporting volume, prepping fruit, and manning a booth on your feet all day is exhausting. The couple invested in brewing equipment and constructing a new building to craft and bottle cider. Booth Canyon Orchard cider is sold exclusively in the Methow Valley at local stores and restaurants.
On their website, https://boothcanyonorchard.com/, the orchards are described as having deep soil, clean water, and dramatic mountain weather, all which contribute to the crisp taste of the ciders. Stina and John work to cultivate soil vitality and plant diversity, “Our ciders start and finish with what we grow, so it tastes like our orchard: unique, dry, complex layered flavors, with natural sparkle.”
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Booth Canyon Orchard is rolling out a pretty new label on 500ml bottles of cider. The cider will be on display at Glover Street Market.
Booth Canyon Orchard ciders can be found at the Mazama Store, Glover Street Market, Methow Valley Thriftway, Hank’s Harvest Foods, and Valley Goods on the TwispWorks campus. Look for Booth Canyon Orchard ciders at local restaurants. For parties, Meza restaurant in Winthrop provides kegs of this delicious cider grown and crafted right here in the Methow Valley.