Nestled up on a hill overlooking the peninsula, Sea Cider in Saanichton is an orchard oasis.
Producing almost a dozen varieties of cider this 3-acre orchard, and 7-acre forest, creates delicious and refreshing organic spirits year-round. For Kristen Jordan, who founded Sea Cider with her husband five years ago it was a natural move when they took over the farm, both of them having a connection to cider-making and orchards in their past.
Sea Cider grows various varieties of apples on their 1,000 trees, while also using their wooded acreage to grow complimentary products such as stinging nettles for tea, lavender, honey, and mint. It seems that every bit of land is used to grow and cultivate the fruit and the Sea Cider products, even the spent apples are composted and Kristen mentioned some local chefs are interested in working them into some menu items.
The operation is modest but they have a great group of helpers including volunteers that come to them from the WWOOF program. World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms connects people who would like to work the land or learn how to run organic operations with those currently in business.
The cider house is perched at the top of the land with a fabulous patio that looks out over the land and water. Once inside, surrounded by lovely woodwork, towering ceilings, and local artwork, you’re able to enjoy tasting flights and local pairings prepared on-site.
During our visit we sampled the following ciders that were poured by Kristen while she provided history and background for each of the drinks:
From the ‘sweet tooth’ series:
The alcohol in the ciders ranges from 8% to 16.2% in the Pomona.
Our samplers were paired with Saltspring Cheese Company cheese, smoked bison, North Island tuna, two kinds of chutney, sea asparagus, and sponge toffee.
The ciders are crisp and refreshing, crossing the spectrum from very light apple tastes and nuances to deep, dark, and lusciously sweet. The entire experience at Sea Cider is an education in eating local and discovering just how many foods are created by Island farmers and artisans. “It’s a humble drink,” said Kristen. “There’s a cider tradition that’s been lost and we want to help bring it back.”
Flanked by lush forests, farms and orchards, Sea Cider’s location is tranquil and picturesque. Whether you’re heading to Victoria, up Island, or to catch a ferry back to the mainland, Sea Cider is definitely on my list of recommended stops.
You can visit their website to find out more about where you can purchase their ciders outside of the cider house including Uva Wine Bar on Seymour St in downtown Vancouver, the Alibi Room, and Liberty Wine Merchants.