Can you see potential bubbling up in a glass or bottle of hard cider? Crystie Kisler, Keith Kisler, and Eric Jorgensen certainly do! They are the co-founders of Finnriver Farm and Cidery, an organic family farm, orchard, and artisan cidery. Located on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington, Finnriver is passionate about reviving hard cider by using organic ingredients to produce traditional and innovative hard cider while maintaining their farmcrafted operation. Read on to find out more about Crystie, Keith, and Eric and their Chimacum, WA-based B Corp.
About Finnriver’s early days in business: “Our mission at Finnriver is to create a rooted life on the land and to reconnect people to the earth that sustains us. We seek to share the bounty and beauty of this place through exceptionally crafted ciders and we are committed to fermenting a vision of good land, renewed rural community and a vibrant food culture.
Keith, Crystie and Eric were neighbors who shared a feeling that developing a farm-based business in our rural community would help bring vitality back to our historically agricultural area. We saw that hard cider had the potential to draw a diversity of people onto our farm and help us offer an experience that reminded folks of the beauty, bounty and ecological complexity of healthy working lands.
As the company has grown, we have come to see that rural job creation is one of our greatest achievements and along with role-modeling how a farm can do rural economic development, land/resource conservation and organic agriculture all together. These have been historically opposing forces in many rural areas and we are excited to showcase a collaborative model that allows all three to happen!”
How having a common purpose brings Finnriver closer together: “Becoming a B Corp was a serious process for us that required a lot of self-examination. That experience has raised the level of awareness for all of us who work at Finnriver of our impacts on the community and landscape. I love working with people who share that awareness and who share the commitment to make our business have the most positive impacts possible. We have a common purpose and we get to exercise our wits, creativity and energy to make Finnriver thrive and, by extension we hope, help bring benefit to our crew, our community and beyond. ”
The success we’ve had with private financing: “Working with private investors has been one of our greatest successes! We have had the opportunity to be a part of an innovative financing movement that pairs local investors with local businesses and we feel tremendously grateful for the faith in our business and the support of our friends and neighbors. Private financing has allowed us to grow our enterprise, purchase our 50 acre organic farm and orchard, and create over 50 jobs (mix of FT and PT) in our rural community.”
How we are able to “B the Change” by welcoming one and all: “The Finnriver Cider Garden is a community gathering space that is open daily to offer cider tastings, local food, live music and an accessible and joyful place for connecting directly to the farm. We have a sign at our entry posted that says, ‘Finnriver welcomes folks from all walks of life…’ and we feel the profound need to help create common ground for our rural community. Welcoming all to the farm is a simple thing that speaks to the essence of our mission and our hope that by creating a wonderful experience on the land, people will feel inspired to make a longer term commitment to supporting local food systems and preserving working soils, waterways and landscapes.”
If you want to become a B Corp… “Becoming a B Corp is demanding, but well worth it! The B Corp structure offers a map you can use to grow a company that is being as conscientious as possible about its impacts. We hired someone who had done the assessment before for another company to help us with our first applications — and this was very helpful!”
More B Corps, more solutions: “We hope that the concept of a ‘B Corporation’ becomes second nature to the business community and that the public increasingly demands products and services with B Corp or similar certifications to ensure their ecological and social integrity.”
About Crystie Kisler, Keith Kisler, and Eric Jorgensen, Co-Founders of Finnriver
Crystie Kisler, co-founder of Finnriver, is a contemporary farmwife with a passion for reconnecting people to wild and working land. She met her farm-raised husband working in the mountains of Yosemite and they decided to pursue a rooted life together on the land in his home state of Washington. Crystie is Finnriver’s storyteller and loves sharing the tale of why we farm and ferment on this good, green earth. Crystie works with her partners and crew to grow Finnriver into a vibrant enterprise that showcases how rural economic development, ecological restoration and organic agriculture can all converge and thrive. Finnriver has renovated a historic dairy farm into a 50 acre destination orchard, research farm, cider garden and community gathering place — all protected by permanent conservation easements, certified organic and salmon safe. Finnriver is also a Certified B Corporation — joining the global movement to make business a force for good. Crystie’s mission in life and at Finnriver is to help reconnect people to the land that sustains us!
Keith Kisler comes from a family farm in eastern Washington via college in Boulder, Colorado and a few years at the Yosemite Institute in California, where he taught environmental science, climbed mountains, and met his lovely wife and co-conspirator Crystie Kisler. He is a Finnriver co-owner who spends his days doing orchard management, fruit sourcing, farming, fixing, and enjoying the efficient, happy hum of cider production.
Eric Jorgensen, Finnriver Cidery co-founder, is a school teacher turned cider maker who lives in the fantastic Chimacum Valley with wife Abby and two beautiful daughters Claire and Stella. Spends as much time as possible outdoors, playing music, gathering seafood and mushrooms, herding bees, and growing fruit in his garden. In the cidery, Eric is the mathemagician and business manager.
This has been a Fantastic B Corps post, MyCorporation’s salute to the entity that gives back to business and society. Join us biweekly for a glimpse at the entrepreneurs using their small business to “B The Change” in this global movement for good.