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Stories From the Farm

3 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Harvest Season at a Craft Cidery

Friday, August 30, 2019

Harvest season is just around the corner, and the trees in our orchard are growing heavy with ripening cider apples. We’re grateful to be situated in Cobble Hill, Cowichan, where the long, slow growing season allows our fruit to ripen over time and develop wonderful flavours. We’ll wait as long as possible to harvest, but it’ll all start happening in about 3 or 4 weeks.

Here are a few things you might not know about harvest season at our craft cidery.

1. The bees are the real MVPs

At the beginning of every spring, we bring in several large beehives which house more than a million bees. The bees are an important part of our orchard ecosystem, ensuring that our spring apple blossoms are well fertilized. A good blossom results in a good fruit set, and we’re seeing the result...

Top 5 Hidden Gems of Summer at Merridale

Thursday, July 4, 2019

The summer season at Merridale is always a special time. The orchard is lush and green as our apple trees soak up rays of sunshine each day, and fruit begins to take shape. Our Farmhouse Eatery and Tasting Bar are bustling with guests, and our team is hard at work looking after the daily operations of our craft cidery and distillery. We invite you to visit us this summer for a tour, a cider tasting, and a leisurely afternoon or Sunday evening on our back patio overlooking the orchard. Here are 5 Hidden Gems of Summer at Merridale that you can take advantage of.

1 - Sunday Pizza Nights with Live Music

Back by popular demand, our Sunday Pizza Nights kicked off in June and take place every week through the summer. On Sunday evenings at Merridale, you can enjoy live music, brick-...

Introducing: Merridale Apple Blossom Sparkling Rose

Sunday, June 9, 2019

June has arrived, and with it comes our latest seasonal release. Crisp, cold and fruity, Rosé has been a summer favourite for some time now, and we loved the idea of creating a rosé craft cider with these same delightful qualities. Blending natural rosehip and hibiscus with a touch of elderberry, our Apple Blossom Sparkling Rosé is a refreshing seasonal cider that can be enjoyed all summer long.

We started with a concept of making something reminiscent of the finest Rosés from Provence, France. We knew what the colour should be, but not yet what we would use to create it. We also hadn’t quite decided on the flavour profile, but knew that it needed to be at least semi-dry. So, starting with our Cowichan Dry craft cider, we started experimenting with recipes.

When spring...

A very special thank you from Merridale

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

If you have visited Merridale, we may have met! I’m Janet, and you can usually find me in the Farmhouse greeting our guests, meeting with my team, and helping out in the Eatery whenever possible. My partner, Rick and I purchased the Merridale property some twenty years ago and have been working, living, and raising our family here ever since.

My own family is something I am super proud of – and grateful for. I am a proud mother and daughter. I have three amazing children, one incredibly smart and beautiful grandchild, and I am blessed to have not one – but two mothers. To me, being a mom is the most important job that I will ever do, so I suppose it’s not surprising that Merridale is family-run and that my eldest works here. Jason joined the family business when barely out of...

Where It All Begins: Exploring the Merridale Orchard

Wednesday, April 10, 2019
Do you have a favourite Merridale product? Chances are, its key ingredients were grown or cultivated right here at the farm, where almost everything we produce starts in the orchard. We invite you to come for a self-guided stroll, where you can fully relax while enjoying the serene, natural setting. Start by picking up an orchard walk map from the Farmhouse tasting bar, which will help you to identify points of interest along the way. APPLES & HONEY

Our heritage cider apple trees produce robust, tannic fruits that transform beautifully into crisp apple ciders, cider-based spirits like our apple cider brandy, chutneys and vinaigrettes. Our honey bees arrive each spring, and the apple blossom honey they produce is used in our Farmhouse Eatery, as well as our Cyser cider. During the...

An Update from Rick: Cowichan Rhumb

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Hi all, Rick here. I don’t normally do the blog thing, but we just released our first ever Merridale Rhumb and I wanted to take the opportunity to share some behind-the-scenes on what this release is all about.

First, we know you want to know about the name. It's unconventional. But so are we. In navigation, a Rhumb Line, Rhumb, or Loxodrome is an arc that crosses all meridians of longitude at the same angle. That is, a path with constant bearing as measured relative to true or magnetic north. It's a nautical term, and as we all know, the drink of choice at sea is rum... so it felt like a fitting choice. We also love the idea of Rhumb as a metaphor for embracing adventure and finding solace in points of reference along the way. 

So…why make rum? Because we like it. And we...