This story begins with a local apple orchard owned and operated by the Campbell Family for over 35 years in Prince Edward County.
Children and adults alike, if you live in (or have visited) the region, you have probably taken part in their apple picking, wagon rides, corn maze and local farm market. Supervised by the farm mascot, Sophie, the aptly-named Campbell’s Orchards grows over 25 varieties of apples and pears and offers these and other fresh produce & prepared products at their farm market, in addition to fun experiences on the property. One of those products happens to be our newest obsession: apple cider.
In the case of Amelia Campbell, this tasty cider is in her blood, so to speak.
When her and her partner, Matt Oskamp, visited Amelia’s family in London, England, they discovered the popularity of hard cider and were hooked. Back in the County, they began to experiment with different varieties of apples grown at the orchard. And so, the story of Apple Falls Craft Cider began.
With both families being from Prince Edward County, it was important for Amelia and Matt to base the cider company in the area. The connection with Campbell’s Orchard and their history of growing and selling apples was an obvious reason.
“We love Prince Edward County and we’re excited to grow with the community.”
The name Apple Falls has a few origins. The expression “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” is one of Colin Campbell’s — Amelia’s father — favourites. Since the cider and the orchard go hand in hand, this was the perfect fit.
Colin has also discovered what he likes to call “The Lost Falls of Rednersville” — waterfalls that are accessible through the Campbell’s property via a super-secret path that only Colin knows. These falls have become a magical, gathering spot where Colin will bring close friends, neighbours (and his dogs) twice a year.
Finally, to prepare the apples for pressing, they come crashing down into the washer, like a waterfall of apples.
All of the apples they use in the cider-making process come from Campbell’s Orchards – the same apples people have enjoyed for decades.
Their first cider, ‘Premiere’, is a combination of Empire, Northern Spy, Red Delicious, Russet, and Flemish Beauty Pears. The idea of using a variety of apples is to impart a balance of sweet, bitter and sharp flavours. This traditional cider will be light and dry with a small amount of natural carbonation. It is golden in colour and unfiltered, so expect some cloudiness in the bottom of the bottle.
Of course, the making of hard apple cider is not a new process. Matt and Amelia have had the opportunity to work with local cideries to learn their methods and traditions. The method to making their hard cider is fundamentally simple – they allow yeast to convert the natural sugars of the apple into alcohol. However, a cider’s taste can be influenced by many factors. Factors like the type of apples, temperature, time, bacteria, and even the weather the apples experience during their growing season all add to the complex ‘terroir’ of a cider.
These two aren’t afraid of a little experimentation! They have many different styles of cider in mind.
For Maple in The County, they have created a cider, ‘Heritage’, that is naturally sweetened with maple syrup from Nyman Farms and blended with sour cherries during the fermentation process. Amelia and Matt are also experimenting with different flavours by infusing their cider with various herbs, spices and fruits. Think ginger, cinnamon, hemp, mint, berries, and other locally sourced ingredients.
Starting a business like Apple Falls has been an exciting learning experience for these two.
“You will never know exactly how to start or run a business until you just go ahead and do it (*insert NIKE swoosh). We have had a lot of help from our family, friends, and the community. In particular, the County itself has been helpful and easy to work with. We have had a lot of support and help from the team at Hinterland Wine Company and County Road Beer, it would be fun to do something with them and somehow return the favour! The fact that so many people from the community are willing to help us to make sure we succeed, is a testament to the strength and forward-thinking nature of Prince Edward County.”
Currently, Apple Falls is a small operation that will produce a small number of craft batches per year. Find this delightful craft cider by the bottle and glass at Campbell’s Orchards in Prince Edward County (The secret is out! Tastings are now available on weekends) and eventually at a local bar or restaurant near you.
Amelia and Matt are looking forward to being involved in collaborative events across the region with the Bay of Quinte Craft Association such as the craft beer and cider festival in Belleville, Trenton and Prince Edward County.