JACKSON, WY — A pair of local conservationists-turned-cider-makers just released their first vintage and became Wyoming’s first commercial cidery in over 100 years

Jackson-born Orion Bellorado and Ian McGregor founded Farmstead Cider in 2017. Its newest release is a vintage of locally-grown and produced hard cider using a blend of apples from ancient orchards around Wyoming.

The “Wyoming Original” features tart and tannic Teton County crab apples blended with apples from the Red Canyon Ranch orchard in Lander, Wyoming. This orchard was planted by Ed Young in the year 1880 to produce cider for the various surrounding mining towns. Of the supposed 2000 trees planted, only several dozen remain. These resilient trees produce unique hard cider-specific varieties of apples and survived the mass destruction of cider trees during Prohibition in the 1920s.

An aerial drone shot of the untamed cider apple orchard Farmstead discovered in Lander, Wyoming. Photo:Lucas Ayoub

About Farmstead Cider

Farmstead’s story is one of conservation. Bellorado and McGregor got their start by working with the Teton Conservation District to remove apples from trees that were dropping their fruit and attracting bears into neighborhoods around Teton County. In the process, they discovered an entire urban orchard in the backyards and open spaces of the community. The apples they found are diverse and high-quality, and for the cider makers, they were forgotten treasures hidden in plain site. Farmstead Cider became the first commercial cidery in Wyoming in over 100 years.

What makes Farmstead Cider so special is the unique fruit that is available in the Rocky Mountain region. High altitudes and cold temperatures, combined with the unique minerality of the mountain soils, produce apples rich in sugar which in turn creates a high octane cider. Farmstead also takes a small batch approach to cider making. Fermenting slowly and allowing the cider to age in barrels mellows out the high acidity and tannins, especially for the crabapples, to produce a beverage that is full of flavor. The resulting cider seeks to capture the raw grit of the western frontier, and to bottle the same taste the hardiest of Wyoming pioneers enjoyed 150 years ago.

Donate Your Apples

Farmstead Cider got its start by harvesting apples that were planted by homesteaders and ranchers generations ago. Since then, Farmstead’s foragers have discovered apples growing in many nooks and crannies around Wyoming. If you or anyone you know has an apple tree you would like to have harvested, contact Orion and Ian at info@farmsteadwyo.com. Let them know your name and the address or location of the trees to be harvested. By giving them permission, you are helping to reduce the potential for human and wildlife conflict, while supporting a small business and putting those apples to good use.

Farmstead cider can be ordered for private events and is available on tap at the Jackson Hole Peoples’ Market, at Roadhouse Pub and Eatery on the Town Square in Jackson, and at The Bird south of town. To learn more, visit farmsteadwyo.com and help spread the word about the original Wyoming hard cider.

Meet Ian and Orion at the People’s Market every Wednesday, where they’ll be pouring their locally-made cider on draft. Photo: Olaus Linn/Sharp Eye Deer