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Stories From the Farm

Building Hope with Cider and Hops

Monday, May 11, 2020
Empty chairs at empty tables. Lively spaces typically rich with community and delicious food, drink, and music, sit silent and bare. BC’s tourism and hospitality businesses have been hit hard by COVID 19 and we felt like we had to find ways to help our fellow businesses and local hospitality workers in critical need of short-term financial assistance. This week, Merridale’s Hops for Hope cider will hit liquor store shelves on Vancouver Island and throughout the Lower Mainland. Proceeds from this special cider release will be donated to the Vancouver Food + Beverage Community Relief Fund.

Like most of BC’s pubs, restaurants, and bars, our Eatery has been closed for everything except take-out since mid-March. We know how hard COVID-19 has been on our own hospitality workers. We have an...

It takes a village, or two, to make hand sanitizer

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Over the last few weeks, a call went out to the craft distillers to make hand sanitizers for first responders and others.  Merridale and many from the BC Craft Distillers Guild have jumped into action to figure out how to do this. Most of us have never made a product like this before, but Guild Members worked together closely sharing information and recipes, which has been incredibly inspiring.   At Merridale Distillery, our first call for help came from one of our growers, Dr. Robert Anderson. Hand sanitizer was desperately needed for Home Care Workers to take with them on their home visits. These workers are out on the front lines of the pandemic and needed something portable.   Because we pick our fruit in the fall, ferment it into cider, and then distill the cider into spirits in...

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...

An Update on Dockside: A Message from Rick

Friday, August 9, 2019

The height of summer is one of the busiest times at the farm – tours, tastings, live entertainment, food, drink…the list goes on. This year, it has also been a busy planning period for our new location in Victoria. Some of you have seen the drawings for our next new venture up at our farm in Cobble Hill. Others have seen the fence banners at the Victoria location site itself, which is across from Point Hope Shipyard. And, many of you have asked, “when is the opening date?”  

Well, we have certainly hit some bumps, but Dockside is still coming. We are taking the following approach: Good things take time, great things take more time, and truly exceptional things take even more. Or, patience is a virtue that is often rewarded, or a stitch in time…. There are so many sayings to...

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...