BelleWood Acres, an apple farm, café, and distillery located off the Guide in Lynden, normally uses their state-of-the-art equipment to turn out spirits like apple cider, vodka, and gin. All that changed last week, when the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office approached BelleWood’s owner, Eric Abel, asking if he could produce a sanitizer for the local jail. Abel didn’t hesitate.
“We put some stuff together, we gave [the jail] a bunch of gallons of [sanitizer],” Abel says. That’s when he thought, “Hey, we should make this available to the entire community.”
So far, BelleWood has provided hand sanitizer to senior citizens, young families, and even the local fire department. They also recently sold six gallons of sanitizer to the local border patrol, and are supplying gallon and half-gallon bottles to medical facilities at wholesale.
As an apple farm, all of BelleWood’s spirits are made from apples, so the hand sanitizer is distilled from apples, too. To make the sanitizer, BelleWood puts their hard cider into their still, increasing the alcohol content to 190 proof, or 80% alcohol. The farm then adds sterile water to create a sanitizer with 74% alcohol. (According to the CDC, sanitizers should be at least 60% alcohol.) A touch of lemon peel essential oil infuses the sanitizer with a subtle citrus scent.
The sanitizer, called Farm Hands, is now available to the public in a 2.7oz. bottle for just $3.95. Customers can purchase the sanitizer from BelleWood’s Farm Store, open 10am-5pm, Wednesday through Sunday.
Through Sunday, March 29, visitors can also refill their own sanitizer bottles (up to 16oz.) from a bulk container for free. The process is touch-free — the doors remain open, and visitors simply place their container under a valve while an attendant turns the handle.
While you’re there, you can also stock up on BelleWood’s gin, brandy, and vodka, along with plenty of other items perfect for hunkering down. The Farm Store sells locally made ciders, wines, and foodstuffs, not to mention eight different kinds of frozen pie, making a trip to BelleWood Acres well worth the journey.
The giving spirit is a direct reflection of BelleWood’s everyday ethos. “Our mission as an organization is to bring delight to everyone…it’s our little saying…so this is just one of the ways we do that,” Abel says.