While we’d never recommend being a stowaway on a rail car,
that is how the Monson Ranch story begins. Our great grandfather, M.L. Monson, who we affectionately called Monsy, hopped a train leaving North Dakota towards Washington State in the late 1930’s. Chasing opportunity with nothing more than a love for the land and a dream of building a family farming business, Monsy climbed his way up in the Washington Agriculture community. It was his drive and a touch of fearlessness that built the foundation of Monson Ranch.
Monsy purchased his first herd of cattle, feeding them barley, corn, potatoes, peas and apple peelings. With his determined and fearless spirit, Monsy believed in his nutritious feeding practices, and quickly continued to grow his cattle operation. This was how the Monson Ranch operation started to take shape.
By the early 1970s, Monsy’s son Arvid and his wife Suzanne were continuing the family business and opened their own fed yard, Monson Ranches Cattle Company in Sunnyside, Washington. With the help of their three children, Bill, Valerie and Molly, the operation continued to grow. Our family worked with ranchers to custom feed cattle, while also feeding their own livestock. The family feedlot custom feed up to 50,000 head of cattle annually.
Innovation and hard work have always been at the heart of The Monson Family and as the cattle feeding business thrived, an innate entrepreneurial drive pushed our family to look for the next venture. Father and son, Monsy and Arvid, signed a purchase agreement on a cocktail napkin to start Washington Beef, a beef processing plant in late 1970s. Monson Ranch officially took on a new form.
The diversification of the family business continued with the planting of the Monson’s first apple orchard in 1979, spearheaded by Arvid’s children, Bill, Valerie and Molly. While the first orchard was planted to Red Chief Apples, over the years many varieties have been added. The apple and following cherry orchards were our family’s first step outside of the cattle business and an important move in adding more diversification to the business.
In spring of 1998, Bill Monson channeled the family’s fearless entrepreneurial spirit into another new venture on a special piece of land, we now know as Goose Gap. Together, Arvid and Bill planted 2,000 acres of estate vineyards, starting what is well-known today as Goose Ridge Estate Vineyards & Winery. Not only did this property bring the family into the world of viticulture, but Bill also oversaw continued expansion of tree fruit and row crop plantings, along with more land for continuing to feed and run cattle. The Monson Ranch had a new home on Goose Mountain.
Continuing the vision.
Today the tree fruit business includes multiple conventional and organic orchards throughout the state of Washington and our own fruit packing warehouse, where we custom pack all our fruit. The operation is still managed and run by Bill Monson along with his son Blake.
To honor our family’s over 80 years in agriculture and farming, Bill Monson and his two sisters, Valerie and Molly, continued building the business with the introduction of Monson Ranch Distillers. Following years of hard work and success in ranching, farming and winemaking, Monson Ranch Distillers is the newest venture for the family. The distillery offers a full range of premium spirits. Vodka, gin, brandy and whiskey are only the beginning.