With our sixth full growing season behind us, our orchard fully planted and no shortage of exciting ideas bubbling away in our minds, we're thrilled that Salt Spring Apple Company is moving into the next stage of our development.
The photo may give you an idea of where we're headed. We spent a good part of 2017 preparing for - and then implementing - plans for a new cidermaking, commercial kitchen and sales facility on our property. This involved the transformation of our old B&B and workshop building into a lean, mean cidery machine. That's what you see in the picture.
First up is a proper sales area. Ultimately, most of the upper level will be a cider tasting room and shop, opening onto a deck with a panoramic view of the orchard, ocean, islands and mountains beyond. In the short term, it's where we will welcome visitors and sell apple items such as apple butter, apple jelly, apple chips and more.
Behind the scenes on the same level is a tiny but super-functional commercial kitchen, where we have begun producing those same apple items. It's a huge relief to no longer be using our home kitchen for this stuff. When we move back into regular apple fritter production, the benefits will be even greater.
Third, we now have improved facilities for our farm workers, both volunteer and paid. With their very own bathroom and separate shower room, the pressure will be much reduced on the facilities in our house (think of sharing one shower among eight or nine people and you'll understand). These spaces may not be high profile, but they're sure important to us.
Last - and most exciting of all - is our new cidermaking facility. As with everything else in this project, it's modest in scale, but it's going to allow us to become the only 100 per cent estate grown and certified organic cidery on B.C.'s west coast. We expect to get final approval for this facility in spring of 2018 and will make our first (small) batch of cider for the commercial market starting in the fall, with its release expected in spring 2019.
We've got a lot going on. And we hope you'll come and check it all out!