You’d be hard-pressed to find better cider than that made by the Lattin family. Lattin’s Country Cider Mill and Farm has racked up national awards for its classic apple cider, as well as berry apple ciders.
For more than 40 years, Lattin’s Country Cider Mill and Farm has been an Olympia-area destination for families looking to pick pumpkins, squeeze apples, sample pies, shop for produce, and feed animals.
It’s also the place that supplies cider around town, and you can try it right at the source. The farm is open daily and includes a store that sells produce, baked goodies, and, of course, the famous cider.
The farm opened in 1956 as a small family business. The cider came later, in the 1970s.
The farm is a family affair run by Carolyn Lattin and her daughters, Sherrie and Debbie. The cider started in the 1970s, when Carolyn’s husband, the late Vic Lattin, noticed apples on the farm going to waste. He got the idea for a cider press. Debbie remembers the tough days of the old hand-crank press.
The Lattins invited people to bring their own apples to the press to make cider. It caught the attention of locals, and before long, the Lattins started pressing and bottling their own cider.
It’s been a long career that Carolyn still enjoys to this day.
“I’m still excited to come to work in the morning — even after 40 years,” she said.
There are apple trees around the farm, but the majority of apples the Lattins use come in bulk from Yakima. The Lattin family has had agreements with Eastern Washington growers for years.
The cider is a blend of apples, which makes it “not too sweet, not too sour,” said Carolyn.
The ingredient list for the cider is simple: apples.
“(There’s) no sugar, no preservatives, nothing else to it,” said Debbie.
On Monday mornings, the cider press is abuzz with workers sorting, pressing, pasteurizing, and bottling the cider. Each apple that comes through the assembly line has bruises and stem holes removed. That’s just one of the things that sets Lattin’s cider apart, Carolyn said.
But Lattin’s is about more than cider. The sweet smell of fresh fried apple cider donuts dusted with cinnamon and sugar and sticky apple fritters wafts through the country store.
Sherrie mans the donut fryer (among many other jobs on the farm). She estimates they sell about 2,000 fritters on a weekend. Sometimes they sell 100 dozen donuts — in one day.
And their pies! They make them from scratch in every flavor from apple to peach and marionberry. Debbie is in charge of the pies. The peach pie is made with fresh peaches and peaches they freeze to use year-round.
Lattin’s is a draw for children. Families can feed the goats, visit the sheep, and meet the baby chicks and turkeys. It makes the farm an everyday fun stop.
One of the most exciting times to visit the farm is in October, when the fields are dotted with orange pumpkins ripe for the picking. Wagon rides are available on weekends in October. In November, visitors can meet Tom Turkey and warm up with hot, fresh apple cider.
The farm has a festival atmosphere during the weekends in the fall. There’s often bluegrass, food vendors, and pony rides.
Carolyn invests everything she earns back into the business — she’s never taken home a paycheck. But she talks about the people she’s met, the families she’s gotten to know, and the joy the farm brings to everyone year-round.
“That’s pay,” she said.
Lattin’s Country Cider Mill and Farm
9402 Rich Rd. S.E., Olympia
9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.