Battling invasive species, one bottle of cider at a time
"Wolf in the Woods" from Sea Cider's Canadian Invasion series (Photo by Sea Cider)
Living on Vancouver Island it is easy to see the serious spread of invasive species in natural areas. It can be almost overwhelming to see forests overrun with ivy and sandspits buried under a carpet of gorse. But cidermaster Kristen Needham was not about to let aggressive, rogue plants get away with invading her orchard — or our understanding of native biodiversity.
Instead, the founder of Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse decided to tackle the issue of invasives doing what she does best: making cider. The Canadian Invasion series incorporates edible invasive plants, such as Scotch broom, Himalayan blackberry and rugosa rose, into a very special set of ciders. Sea Cider's website includes information about the destructive spread of invasive plants into natural systems, and proceeds from the Canadian Invasion ciders are donated to the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) to help fund invasive species work.
Every day is Earth Day
Kristen Needham, owner and cidermaker, Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse
Kristen lives by the motto, every day is Earth Day. Still, with the actual Earth Day coming up on April 22, she is stepping up her support for NCC by donating $1 of every bottle of cider sold in Sea Cider's tasting room throughout the month of April. Anyone on Vancouver Island might consider visiting the delightful Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse, located in Saanichton, Vancouver Island.
An organic, island, artisanal cidery
Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse is located on the Saanich Peninsula just minutes from Victoria. The ten-acre farm is home to over 1,300 apple trees, made up of over 50 varieties of heritage apples.
Kristen's vision of creating an organic orchard and artisanal ciderhouse came to fruition in 2007 when Sea Cider opened its farm gate for business. Since then, Sea Cider has expanded to an annual cider production of more than 7,000 cases and growing. Their home-gown product is crafted following a traditional fermenting process using organically grown apples, and their award-winning cider is now available throughout British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Washington State, Illinois and Oregon.
Partners in conservation
Sea Cider staff with a bounty of invasive crow garlic from James Island, BC (Photo by NCC)
Sea Cider has been an amazing conservation partner to NCC since 2015. Kristen and her dedicated management team have hosted fundraising events and accompanied NCC staff into the field to work on eradicating invasive species on James Island, a Gulf Island with sensitive sandspit ecosystems, which NCC protects through a conservation agreement. James Island can be seen out in Haro Strait across from Sea Cider’s orchard and Ciderhouse.
For more information on Sea Cider, visit seacider.ca.