Last year a new, Hampshire County, West Virginia, farm owner and his crew were out generally clearing some land when this one particular oak tree was felled. As it came crashing down, a large family of flying squirrels bailed out and scattered.After a bit of a crazy adventure (running late, a low tire pressure light, rain, and no cell phone service), I made it for my appointment to check out Flying Squirrel Ranch & Farm and RADA Brand Appalachian Spirits.
So in honor of those squirrels, the Flying Squirrel Ranch & Farm was born. And soon, some attractive farm-based ventures will follow.“I was mortified,” said farm owner Stephen Settimi. “I said right then and there that I would never cut down another dead tree again because there are things living in them.”
Settimi’s current passions are his farm and starting a farm distillery. He moved to rural Hamshire County from Washington, DC, with exactly that thought in mind. His Rada Craft Distillery (the venture’s official name) is now fully licensed (Brilliant Stream).
- GIN: Hampshire style Gin made from 100% twice distilled spirits with flavor of juniper, coriander, bergamot, and wild carrot
- BRANDY: True brandy made from 100% grapes grown in the Potomac Highlands of West Virginia
- APPLE BRANDY: Distilled, then barreled from hand-crushed apples pressed and allowed to ferment. The subtle flavor of apple is enhanced with pure apple juice.
- SPIRIT WHISKY: Our flagship batch whiskies each have their own unique quality. Distinctive flavors of traditional American Whiskey. Compare our premium batches to Bourbon.
- SPICED RUM: Made from 100% pure cane sugar and molasses, select spices and stored in slightly toasted oak barrels.
- HOWLIN SHINE: A premium moonshine, Howlin Shine, is made from selected whiskies and flavored with apple, pear, and a dash of cinnamon, (sweet)
The farm is a larger overall piece of land, and the distillery is just one piece. He was so kind to let us sample everything he had - generous samples, too - late on a Saturday evening. We stood sipping spirits out of beakers in a dark barn. And, it couldn't have been more lovely.
Flying Squirrel Ranch & Farm is located in the Potomac Highlands of Appalachia. We’re about equal distance from Washington DC, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh. We employ a full green- cycle farm-to-table and grain-to-glass operation. We grow and harvest corn, grapes, nut, and fruit trees for eating and craft distillery operations. A small garden and fish pond provides food and sustenance for us human residents while marauding wildlife eat what we can’t harvest quick enough. Distillery byproducts and water recovery is used for feed, fertilizer, and irrigation. Most of the 30 acres is left wild for the native flora and fauna. The 5 acres of pasture land carries a small creek and fishing pond. The meadow has many medicinal herbs and wildflowers. A frighteningly fast 500’ zip line runs from the barn facility at the top of the hill to the meadow below. Aside from overnight camping, fishing, and hiking, our mini craft distillery offers free tasting of a variety of artisan-made spirits such as whiskies, gin, rum, liquors and of course, "moonshine”. When not in production cycle, the large 3200 square foot barn with lofts serves as an events and gathering facility. Nearby Rada is the Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad offering a train tour along the Southern Branch of the Potomac River running from Romney to Petersburg where travelers often catch glimpses of Bald Eagles or bears. Other nearby attractions are Civil War battlefields and historic towns of Moorefield, Romney, and Keyser (Flying Squirrel Ranch).Have you been? What's your favorite?