Whatever you do and whatever you make, according to Ragged and Right’s head cider maker Jacob Mitchell, it’s all about “finding the perfect balance”.
Starting in 2017 as an offshoot of Farmstrong Brewing, Ragged and Right Cider project (RRCP) started as a passion project. Eventually, the increased demands of beer expansion reduced the brand to limited flavors exclusively available inside the Mount Vernon taproom. Three months ago Farmstrong Brewing hired on Jacob Mitchell to not only assist in the brewery but to also take over, reimagine, and revitalize the Ragged and Right Cider Project.
Jacob’s passion for hard cider started at home, crafting small batches and sharing his varietals with family and friends. He later honed his skill at the Peter Mitchell Cider School at OSU and continued refining over his time at Eaglemount Cidery in Port Townsend. He then transitioned to Elemental in Woodinville as their head cider maker before finding his new home in the Skagit Valley to continue his nearly decade-long career in the industry.
“I love this area”, Jacob beams, “watching all the fertile farmland transition from nothing to a massive bounty every year is incredible.” When he and his girlfriend aren’t renovating their Airstream you can find them hiking their favorite ranges or fishing for Steelhead in the Skagit. His love of the valley went hand in hand with Farmstrong and Ragged and Right Cider Project’s dedication to sourcing locally whenever possible. Jacob was especially pleased to find that RRCP’s juice was not only from WA apples but was also fresh-pressed at Cedardale Orchards down the road.
“I love avoiding concentrate if I can. Fresh pressing retains so much more of the color, flavor, and tannins”. Jacob is also adamant about not adding sugar and back sweetening with only the highest quality flavors. His first creation for Ragged and Right was a mix of sweet tango apples and blackberry, cleverly named Blackberry Tango, that is already a smash hit at Farmstrong and select taprooms in the region.
Jacob is very excited to continue experimenting and already has plans for an apricot, bow hill blueberry, bourbon peach, and countless others. The thing he looks forward to the most is securing and experimenting with new and interesting apple varietal combinations, looking for the perfect blend that’s perfectly tangy, sweet, and acidic.
As Jacob continues his quest, we know that his addition to Ragged and Right was the perfect balance the project needed.