As we get ready to open the doors for our third season, this is still a question I get asked all the time when I tell people what I do for a living.
I can’t really complain, we’ve been rushed off our feet with customers tasting and enjoying the cider most weekends and we’ve sold everything we’ve made each season. However there are still many folks out there who don’t even know we exist. To be quite honest – we’re OK with that. We quite like being Langley’s hidden secret. For those of you who don’t know what we’re about though, here’s an idea of what we do and what keeps us getting out of bed on those cold winter mornings to press apples and rack cider!
I started the Fraser Valley Cider company back in 2014. My goal was to work at something meaningful, that got me outside, working in the fresh air and brought happiness to myself and others. We are the only farm based cidery in the Lower Mainland although we are connected to many other cideries on the Island and in the Interior through the BC Farmcrafted Cider association. We all share the same principles – traditional production methods, a full juice cider and most of us grow our own apples. If you’ve never had a craft cider before, you owe it to yourself to try one.
All of our cider is made on-site and although we have a “recipe” every batch turns out a little bit differently. Maybe the juice was pressed faster or slower, the temperature during fermentation was cooler or warmer or the apples had some different wild yeasts that give a certain aroma to the batch. I’m really pleased with the way the 2017 batches are turning out. I think that beneficial natural yeasts are accumulating on our press and in the cidery and we’re starting to develop our own “terroir”.
While we appreciate people visit for the cider, we hope they find so much more to celebrate while they are here. We’ve developed a network of local farmers that supply the delicious meats and cheeses for our charcuterie plates (even the chips are made in Surrey!). Our long table dinners celebrate local produce prepared by local chefs. We have talented community musicians performing through the summer who bring their music to an appreciative crowd. Locally based food trucks come for the odd Friday night visit and share their passion for food and this year we have our own food-truck-in-residence as Chef Adrian Beatty opens his Chef Shack at the cidery. Adrian is a guy who personifies, fresh, local and seasonal and we can’t wait to see what he serves up!
I couldn’t close without saying something about the people who make the cidery so special. Our staff are without exception the friendliest, warmest people I know and I love working with these guys! They are all passionate about cider and everyone works in the production as well as the serving so they all know their stuff. Our farmer and chef partnerships are collaborative and fulfilling. Everyone works together to make sure we all benefit from the relationships we put in place. The wider community of Langley wineries, breweries, distilleries and meaderies is mutually supportive and positive. They are all genuinely nice people and we know that by working together we are a stronger and more vibrant industry. But most of all it’s our customers make it all worthwhile. Many have become friends, dropping down for a regular Friday night picnic and cider and we have received so much enthusiastic support its quite overwhelming. We always say – “everyone walks through our door ready and happy to have a good time” and its hard not to respond to that kind of positive energy. Thanks to you all for making our work so easy.
So yes, Langley really does have a cidery and if you haven’t checked us out yet, maybe its about time, but keep it to yourself – after all we don’t want everyone to know!