By Catherine Dunwoody
Owner Rachel Bolongaro was a chemical engineer for 20 years in Switzerland at a pharmaceutical company, which she claims was “quite useful,” when it comes to running her Fraser Valley Cider business. “I figured that if I could do that I could probably whip up a batch of cider,” she laughs, “I’ve always been a home brewer/winemaker and I decided to take this idea further and start my own cidery.”
“There are cideries in the Okanagan and on the Island but nothing here on the Lower Mainland. My engineering training has been invaluable when it came to project managing the construction of the cidery and navigating the regulations and permitting requirements,” she says. “We’ve also been able to engineer most of our own equipment which has saved us considerable amounts in our set up costs. And of course when something goes wrong its super-fun to roll up my sleeves and figure out how to solve the problem or just streamline our whole production process.”
Bolongaro sells her ciders, made in small batches using traditional techniques and freshly pressed BC apples, from their tasting room, and at the White Rock and Langley farmers markets. “With it being our first year we didn’t really have a good feel for how much cider to produce. We thought we had slightly overdone things but now that we’re into it we’re feeling it might not be quite enough. Sales are brisk at the tasting room so we’re not planning on doing much in the way of off-site sales. We are however supplying to the Orchard and the Sea which is a new cider bar located in Gastown.”
You can see the orchard of 1800 trees with over 25 different varieties of English and French cider apples that were planted by Bolongaro with the help of her friends – swing by Fraser Valley Cider while on the Circle Farm Tour, and make sure to try pick up the new raspberry cider – perfect for summer sipping.
Fraser Valley Cider Co.
22128 16 Ave, Langley, BC V2Z 1L3