Heartwood Ciders is locally-based family business, founded by husband-and-wife team David and Rachel Barnard in collaboration with Ed and Cathy Nyberg, Rachel’s parents. In 2021, David and Rachel made the decision “to resign from our corporate executive careers,” move to northern Michigan, buy a piece of land (pictured), and get into the cider business in Leelanau County, where the Nybergs have long resided. Since then, the Barnards have been documenting their journey to on their YouTube channel, called “Cidery from Scratch.” While none of the four owners have prior experience with cider or agriculture, they have spent the past two and a half years learning and preparing the South Lautner acreage for farming. The Barnards even started their own cider tour bus company, NoMi Tours, to dive into the industry while their farm and cidery plans percolated. Now, provided that all goes according to plan, Heartwood Ciders should finally be ready to open sometime next year.
If approved, Heartwood Ciders would join Leelanau’s thriving community of hard cideries. Already, the county is home to three cider-focused producers and tasting rooms – Tandem Ciders, Two K Farms, and Suttons Bay Ciders, all located in Suttons Bay – while several other Leelanau wineries, such as Green Bird Organic Cellars and Bel Lago Vineyard, also dabble in cider production.