NCC and the sea
Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse joins forces with the Nature Conservancy of Canada
Staff of Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse volunteer on James Island, BC (Photo by NCC)
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and Sea Cider Farm and Ciderhouse were meant for each other. This became obvious to Sea Cider's owner, Kristen Jordan, when she read a news story about NCC's work to manage invasive plants on its conservation lands, including on lands near Sea Cider's 10-acre (four-hectare) orchard on the Saanich Peninsula, Vancouver Island.
Sea Cider had just released their Canadian Invasion series of ciders, created to raise awareness about the destructive impact of invasive species on our native ecosystems. Loving the alignment between Sea Cider and NCC's missions, Jordan reached out to NCC to see if there would be potential in working together.
Just like Sea Cider's effervescent brew, a partnership between NCC and the farm-based cider makers quickly bubbled up. Sea Cider first sponsored the hot apple cider at a Nature Talk on a rainy evening in Victoria in the fall on 2104, then they hosted NCC's 2015 Earth Day fundraising dinner in their charming on-site catering venue, adjacent to their ciderhouse.
A day on James Island
In early June, Jordan and eight of her employees joined NCC staff for a field day restoring the sand spits on James Island, a small Gulf Island just a 15-minute boat ride from Sidney, BC. James Island has special significance to the Sea Cider family as they see the island everyday from their hillside orchard that overlooks the ocean and the Southern Gulf Islands.
The day's work was lead by NCC's west coast program director, Tim Ennis, and stewardship coordinator, Katy Fulton, who provided the context for why NCC is working to remove invasive plants and restore native species on the sensitive sand spits of James Island. In 2008, NCC worked with the owner of James Island to place a conservation covenant on the most ecologically significant portions of the island, giving NCC the ability to restore and manage about 100 acres (40 hectares) of rare habitat, including ecologically sensitive salt flats, sand spits, brackish marsh and forested slopes. These areas provide important habitat for many types of birds, and, most critically, a number of provincially and nationally rare and endangered species such as the sand verbena moth and Edward's beach moth.
Sea Cider staff with a bounty of invasive crow garlic from James Island, BC (Photo by NCC)
For their day on James Island, Sea Cider staff contributed mightily to the ongoing eradication of Scotch broom, gorse and crow garlic and other non-native plants that, if left unchecked, will destroy the native ecology of the sand spits. At the end of the day, Sea Cider staff left with a bounty of crow garlic to use for cooking and possibly even to make an experimental batch of infused cider.
About Sea Cider Farm and Ciderhouse
Sea Cider is a farm-based cidery located on the Saanich Peninsula just minutes from Victoria, on Vancouver Island. Their ten acre farm is home to over 1,300 apple trees, made up of over 50 varieties of heritage apples. Sea Cider opened its farm gate for business in 2007 when Kristen Jordan purchased the property with a vision of creating an organic farm and orchard and producing traditional fermented artisan ciders. Since then, Sea Cider has grown to an annual cider production of over 7,000 cases and growing. They take pride in crafting traditionally fermented ciders from organically grown apples, and their award-winning cider is now available throughout BC, Alberta, Manitoba, Washington State, Illinois, Colorado and Oregon.