Squeezing the most out of their apples

Sea Cider Farm turned a family hobby into a successful business in Central Saanich

Sea Cider Farm and Ciderhouse owner Kristen Jordan speaks to Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce members about her business in Central Saanich.

The next few editions of the Peninsula News Review will highlight businesses on the recent Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce Tour of Industry. Read about what they do, their challenges and success stories.

“This has been a work in progress for years,” Kristen Jordan told a gathering of Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce members about the Sea Cider Farm and Ciderhouse, a business she and husband Bruce created out of her family’s love of making — and drinking — apple cider. Sea Cider was the chamber’s lunch stop on its Oct. 30 Tour of Industry event.

“We’ve been asked many times, why cider?” she explained. “The simple answer is, I had apples.”

For years, she and her family made cider out of their own apples at home. When she was a teenager, she inherited an apple orchard on Shuswap Lake in the interior. This history in her family led her to buy a piece of property in Central Saanich 15 years ago. It just happened to have apple trees and was near other farms in the district.

“So, we bought the farm and I thought we could do something with it,” Jordan said. “So, I read the district’s official community plan and felt the community and the government had an appetite for this.”

After buying the farm, Jordan embarked on creating a cidery, collecting apples from a variety of sources and turning them into quality ciders, some of which have won them awards. Apples come to Sea Cider Farm from Vancouver Island and the west coast of the mainland. They also support Lifecycles, a Victoria non-profit food awareness group that harvests apples from heritage or abandoned orchards in the area. Sea Cider gets apples from the group and donates proceeds from their final product back to the program.

Sea Cider currently employs 17 people and Jordan calls it a small business — but one that is growing.

When they first started making cider, Jordan said they were producing 4,000 litres in their first year. Today, that has grown to 60,000 litres each year. It is sold mostly to wholesalers in B.C. who get it on the shelves in liquor stores. As they have grown, they have also started selling cider in Alberta and in the northwestern United States.

“We started making cider for friends and family and now we’ve turned it into a business,” Jordan said. “We’ve really had to step up our game.”

To do that, she said she attended ‘cider school’ at Washington State University, learning the latest tricks of the trade and cider-making methods. She essentially turned the family hobby into a local profession.

In 2006, she said they built the Cider Room, an indoor dining area, laced with wood which was sourced right from their own farm. It gives the room a rustic look that’s appealing to their guests, she said. Sea Cider Farm has also branched out to offer catering and event service.

“That has become a very important part of our business,” Jordan said.

That additional revenue stream enables the farm to weather the high and low seasons and to plan ahead for their cider-making process. It also helps them meet the challenge of making more cider with existing equipment. Jordan said they do have plans to expand as their own trees on the farm mature. She said that is anywhere from five to eight years away.

From day-to-day, Jordan said she has an excellent team of employees — from cider-makers to sales staff. And that is translating into success.

“Business is great.”

To learn more, visit www.seacider.com.

Tour Mini Series

In Friday’s News Review: The products and expertise of Central Saanich-based Quester Tangent can be found on trains around the world.

There are two more installments in this Tour of Industry series.

 

Just Posted

Saanich councillor slams McKenzie Interchange Project

Coun. Judy Brownoff said the project will only create more greenhouses gases and traffic

Ravens Crossing breaks ground on happy Hygge cohousing project

Speeches, music and a blessing as 80 people attend start of Danish-style development

40 BC authors collaborate on new book celebrating the islands of the Salish Sea

Ivan Watson Special to the News Marion Cumming’s hilltop property near McNeil… Continue reading

Fairfield plan ‘counterintuitive’ to affordability aims, says working group member

Plan for Victoria neighbourhood heads to public hearing Sept. 12

VIDEO: Come along for the ride on Tour de Victoria

Reporter captures video footage of his Tour de Victoria ride

POLL: Should there be a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers?

We’ve all heard them, and most likely cursed them under our breath.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Aug. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Vancouver Island rainbow crosswalk covered in mysterious black substance

Black substance spilled intentionally near Qualicum Beach school and difficult to remove

RCMP originally planned to arrest Meng Wanzhou on plane, defence lawyers say

The allegations have not been proven in court. Meng was arrested Dec. 1 at Vancouver airport at the behest of the U.S.

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Ethics commissioner ready to testify on Trudeau, SNC-Lavalin: NDP critic

A new poll suggests the report hasn’t so far hurt the Liberals’ chances of re-election this fall

Inflation hits Bank of Canada 2% target for second straight month

Prices showed strength in other areas, including an 18.9 per cent increase in the cost of fresh vegetables

Vancouver Island RCMP hunt for man after pair of indecent exposure incidents

Elderly Qualicum Beach woman grabbed by man who had been masturbating in the woods

Most Read