Well, we like it and we have apples. It is really that simple. Ok, maybe not with all the government rules but the idea is simple. Nothing can be simple when you involve the governments. Yes, I said governments, as in plural. Both the federal and provincial governments love to get involved whenever alcohol is mentioned, but I am getting away from the start of why I started a cidery.
The condensed version is, I initially started making cider in our basement (also my parent’s basement) a number of years ago to see if I could. I mean, how hard can it be and we had lots of apples to experiment with. And what do you know? It was successful and better yet, it was drinkable!
So the next year, I made more. I tried using different types of apples, gala, macintosh, golden delicious, empires and a few others to see what they are like as single varietals. Some did not make the cut. The best apples for cider need to have a good balanced between acidic and sweet. Not enough acid, tastes terrible, not enough sugar, tastes terrible. Every year was a new and different variety and combination. I was hooked. I loved seeing what what came from the different combinations and blends, even if I had to wait a few months. Trust me, patience is not my thing, so I really don’t know how I can stand to wait for cider to mature which can take months.
Once I got the hang of making a ‘normal’ cider, I started experimenting by adding different ingredients like cranberries and hops. Turns out, those were good too. I think I was on to something or people were just being really nice and saying they enjoyed them.
At this point, my parent’s cellar was more cider than preserves because experimenting is part of cider making that I love and am continually fascinated with. Honestly, if I could make 20 different kinds just to try them out I would. It’s always fascinating to see how each year can bring a slightly different taste to the cider. Unfortunately I can’t possibly drink that much and my parents refuse to store it in their basement. So what’s a girl to do? Cidery.
Starting a cidery isn’t easy, fast or cheap. It literally took me about 6 months to get all the government papers, SO much government. I’ll leave that there because that could become a rant VERY quickly. Back to the cidery. Because we are a working farm, I was told I couldn’t disrupt the normal operations, not sure if that was a direct quote or not, so I had to get creative. My store is a modified storage container and my fermentation equipment, gets moved when the barn is in use with asparagus, melons, peaches and whatever else happens to be going on. Not an ideal situation, but I’m not made of money so no new fancy building for me, for now. But the best part is, that cider is typically made over the winter, when the barn is empty. No sharing for me.
This is year one…. I have plans for more, so many plans. I will certainly disrupt the normal farming operations and I wouldn’t have it any other way.