My husband and I met in college in Philadelphia in 2009. I studied and completed my Photography degree at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art. My husband studied and completed his Mechanical Engineering degree at Drexel University. Growing up in the Philadelphia suburbs during the 1990s and 2000s, we witnessed the transformation and growth of the craft beer industry in the Greater Philadelphia Area, which is one of the most advanced craft beer marketplaces in the nation. Upon graduation, we settled into our respective careers, but in 2012 sought a common hobby for weekend leisure and decided to experiment with making wine and ciders. After enjoying our first batches of homemade cider, we spent three years molding our business idea. We worked with our local Blackstone Launchpad and SBDC while taking extensive coursework through Penn State Extension.
With research and coursework under our belt, we began to search for a home for our business. After looking for commercial space, I suggested identifying a residential property that could support a home-based occupation. We spent several months researching zoning codes for Greater Philadelphia region municipalities. Initially, we hoped to find a property with acreage where we could plant trees for the cidery. Quickly we found the restrictions on acreage minimums for agriculturally supported businesses would be tough to meet within our budget. Our search narrowed to include a property with an outbuilding leaving the land for an orchard as a future goal. In late 2015, we purchased our home and began the licensing process in early 2016 after creating our LLC. Our first cider went into the bottle on May 22, 2017. We had also established relationships with local bar and brewery owners. By the end of 2017, our ciders were in about ten retail locations, a few farmers’ markets, and we had released our second product.
In 2018, a friendly couple told us of a local doctor and his wife during an early spring market day. They had planted an orchard of cider-specific apples very near us. A partnership blossomed after meeting them, seeing their orchard, and giving them a tour of the early cidery. They have been incredibly welcoming and have become an integral part of our growth as both our teams learn the ins and outs of orcharding together, plus its impact on cider making. This partnership has allowed us to apply the knowledge of fruit tree management we’ve gained over the years to a working site and brought our dream of orcharding back into the present. The orchard site is located less than 10 minutes from our current production space. The property owners manage the spray program and maintain the orchard’s infrastructure. We manage the strategy and implementation of pruning. Harvesting and storage is a team effort with much room to grow as the orchard has just begun to hit its stride in the 2021 harvest year.
Our goal is to incorporate our own orchard into our lineup of products that represent the many PA orchards we work with. We’d like to have an orchard site where we will be responsible for all aspects from variety selection to daily maintenance. Our preference would be to stay in Chester County but for the right situation, would consider Delaware, Berks, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, and York counties. Looking for 1-10 acres.
Looking For Arrangement Type:
Lease To Own
Farmer's Intended Methods:
Winery Tasting Room, Popup Events, Farmer's Markets
Looking For Farms With Acreage:
Desired Farming Type:
Formulated Business Plan: Yes
Marketing Plan: Yes
Will use land for crop production: Yes
Years of Experience: 5
Agricultural Class & Degree Info:
Beginning Commercial Tree Fruit Course, Penn State Extension 2015