The Gowan Family — Gowan Orchards
“Cider is a new chapter for an old family book...”

This year marks the 140th anniversary of the Gowan family business: an apple orchard featuring rare California native apples in the tiny town of Philo, California, where the population hovers around 350. Through droughts, wars, economic depressions, a rush for gold, and fast-evolving technology, it seems Northern California has always had an appetite for apples. For fourteen decades and counting, the Gowan family has worked hard to keep their land and fruit healthy so they could keep up with the pace of the changing times — and they've managed to do just that.

The latest innovation from Gowan Orchards is their hard cider. Philo is located just next door to the world's most famous wineries and craft breweries, so their inspiration comes from a mix of long-time fermented beverage artisans and from the "rich history and palette of flavors," as Sharon Gowan tells us, delivered by the Gowan's old growth apple trees.

This episode — our 40th — features Sharon and Don Gowan, the elder Josephine Gowan, and Sharon and Don's son, Jacob, all of whom share a vital role at the farm. Listen to the episode to hear the full story. Be sure to subscribe to Menu Stories to get more episodes like this one delivered to your inbox.

Gowan's Cider is a new addition to the family business A foggy, rainy day in Mendocino County
Apples, fallen from a tree Golden apples by the bushel at Gowans' farms
The Gowan family relaxes, covered from the rain Don and Sharon Gowan oversee the Gowan family orchards and cider operation Bright red apples covered in fresh rain
The Gowan's dogs are an important part of the team. One of the dogs is fed an apple slice by Jacob Gowan
The Beagle of Gowan Orchards
Don Gowan operates a Yale forklift Sharon Gowan fills a crate with apples
The Gowan's family apples and cider have won a number of awards in Mendocino
Golden apples in the rain in Philo, California A perfect red apple, dripping with raindrops
Autumn leaves and ripe autumn apples
A muddy road on the Gowan Orchards A truck on the orchard road at the Gowan property
Jacob Gowan and a colleague are aided by an old pup Remnants of fall - pumpkins on the hillside near Gowan's family orchards
Jacob Gowan and his grandmother, Josephine (wearing an apple-embroidered sweatshirt) trade laughs, while snacking on apples Jacob points something out in the sky to his grandmother
Don Gowan enjoys an apple, picked fresh from a tree Sharon Gowan pours a glass of hard cider
Gowan's Heirloom Cider Jacob Gowan sips cider from a glass
A bushel of apples? Or a bushel of hard cider? We'll take it! Jacob Gowan and his grandmother, Josephine Gowan's Cider, hard and sparkling, is a new branch for the Gowan family The Gowan family ' The Gowan family cider has already won awards in Mendocino county

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