Island Orchard CiderTM began on our farm on Washington Island, just across Death’s Door passage from mainland Door County. Located on a hill overlooking Lake Michigan, the property had a few craggy apple trees remaining in the fields.
During family trips to visit Yannique’s French father in Brittany, we always enjoyed going to Creperie restaurants to eat savory galettes and sweet crepes, accompanied by a bottle of cidre brut. Over time, as Bob became more interested in cider, we started traveling to the Pays D’Auge region of Normandy, where we tasted many varieties of this traditional beverage that is typically served with meals, and is the perfect complement to the wonderful cuisine of the area.
As we experienced the cider culture of northern France, we realized that nothing like these dry, complex ciders existed in the U.S., and we became excited about the prospect of introducing a French-style cider to the American palate. Back at our orchard, we began planting cider cultivars from France, England and America, while testing the types that would work best with the Island’s climate and rocky limestone soil. Our Washington Island orchard has expanded with our passion for cider, and we now produce several varieties of gluten-free cider in our Cider House in the small town of Ellison Bay, WI, located at the tip of the Door Peninsula.