BelleWood Acres Opens New Store–and Distillery!

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Category : About Food Sources, Farm Stands, On the Farm, U-Pick Farms

BelleWood Acres Apple on TreeFor years BelleWood Acres has had their farm store in the heart of their apple orchards. As the farm developed, the store began to feel cramped, and owners Dorie and John Belisle wanted to move their retail sales away from their wholesale operation, with its busy trucks, forklifts–you get the picture. on the other side of their farm at 6140 Guide Meridian near Lynden. I visited recently to see what they’ve been doing, and was blown away. Once again John and Dorie have outdone themselves with creative and delightful ways to enjoy fine farm products and have a fun farm experience.

Space problems have gone away. The new storefront is huge–a large 14,000 sq. ft. steel building with ceilings high enough to accommodate the shiny new distillery equipment at one end. The rest of the building contains counters for baked goods, taste testing, and their new Bistro restaurant where guests can enjoy soups, sandwiches, salads, and other goodies freshly prepared on site. A big corner area is devoted to related products–apple cider vinegar, apple butter, jams and jellies, jars of sauces, country-style cards and gifts, and other seasonal treasures too numerous to list. You’ll just have to take time to explore on your own. When the orchard apples are ripe, they’ll be offered for sale in a center area right in the heart of it all.

At the entrance were lifesize hand carved wooden rocking horses–and rocking pig, chicken, and goat, too! These are sure to delight children of all ages.

Inside the place was bustling. To the right I found the taste testing counter. There you can try free samples of BelleWood’s different apple varieties, their custom made honey-roasted peanut butter (perfect for dipping apple slices), sparkling cider, syrup and vinegar, and other flavorful treats produced at the farm.

Across the way was the bakery counter, stocked with wonderful breads, cookies, scones, pies, and more. Threee women keep the new on-site bakery kitchen humming with activity as they create new recipes (such as Honey-roasted Peanut Butter Pie–OMG, as my Internet friends would say!) and continue to produce old favorites, such as their classic Apple Pie.

Around the corner was the exciting new Bistro. Incredible fresh breads from the bakery and other farm fresh ingredients are the main attraction in the Bistro. Light breakfast, lunch and dinner menus include homemade soups, salads, sandwiches, seasonal entrees, fruit/cheese plates, along with espresso and ciders on tap. Diners have the option to eat inside, outside in a covered area, or out on the lawn in the sun when the weather is nice. I was delighted with the fresh food, the reasonable prices, and the enthusiastic and friendly service. I think you will be, too. It’s a good place to bring the entire family.

Highlight of the facility is the new distillery. BelleWood purchased two stills, handmade by Vendome Copper and Brass Works in Kentucky. They’ll be using wonderful local ingredients to distill, including fruit from their own orchards, berries from their farm neighbors, and grains from eastern Washington.

Vodka was the first libation to begin production on August 10. The distilled product line will eventually include vodka, gin, eau de vie, liqueurs, brandy, whiskey, pommeau, and hard ciders.

Grand Opening for the new BelleWood facilities is a festive three week long celebration, which kicked off on Friday, August 31st, with a free concert by the “The Shadies” from 6-9pm. “The Shadies” play rollicking old time fiddle tunes, banjo breakdowns and string band country music–perfect for setting the tone for the fun-filled Labor Day weekend at the farm.

Other activities for the Sept. 1-3 weekend included tours of the distillery each day. Tours included sampling in the distillery’s tasting room. Free apple donuts from the bakery were available all weekend, as well as rides on the Apple Bin Express for u-pick apples, pickling cucumbers, and pumpkins. Three varieties of apple were ripe and ready to take home: Gravenstein, Zestar, and Sansa.

Special events planned during the following three weeks include:
September 7th Farm Tunes concert with “PennyStinkers” 6-9pm

September 8th Farm Tour – Visit BelleWood Acres as a part of the 5th annual Whatcom County Farm Tour, sponsored by Sustainable Connections. This self guided tour is FREE.

September 14th Farm Tunes concert with “Gallus Brothers” 6-9pm

September 15th Whatcom Water Week celebration – Creek activities and Stream Science Walk (1:00pm), and kids activities: horse rides, Apple Bin Express train rides, face painting and a visit from “Wayne” the raindrop, the Whatcom Water Week mascot.

September 22nd U Pickle class – Sign up to learn and practice how to make pickles. Class happens in our Community Room from 2-4. Advanced Registration required. See the events page on BelleWood’s websitefor more details: www.bellewoodfarms.com  or call (360) 318-7720.

September 23rd Whatcom Harvest Dinner – BelleWood Acres is the host for this year’s Harvest Dinner, which supports learning about our food, starting with where and how it was grown and prepared through enjoyment of a community meal featuring produce from school and community gardens, grown just for the occasion. Click here for tickets.

Hope to see you there (6140 Guide Meridian near Lynden)! They’ve planned something for everyone!

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