614 Sandford Rd., Uxbridge
Videography by Barry Best
In the picturesque hills of Uxbridge is farm-based cidery Banjo Cider. Here, owners Tony Brown and Patty Ewaschuk are passionate about reviving the lost art of traditional cider making, which nearly disappeared during the Prohibition Era when true cider apple trees were cut down. While most modern ciders in Canada are made with table apples, a true cider apple has a more robust flavour profile. This is the unique taste you will find at Banjo Cider.
Patty and Tony’s hand-crafted cider is made slowly in small batches by traditional cider-making methods—characterized by a long fermentation and aging process for improved flavour and smoothness. With five premium varieties available (all of which are unfiltered and gluten free) you are sure to fall in love with cider… if you haven’t already.
In 2018, Tony and Patty began planting Banjo’s “Revival” orchard, bringing back varieties like Kingston Black, Yarlington Mill and Dabinett. To nurture these heritage varieties so that they produce the best-tasting fruit possible, Banjo uses compost as fertilizer, as well as natural growing methods like mulch and organic mats for weed suppression.
A visit to Banjo Cider will transport you back to a simpler time. You will be charmed by the historic farm property, with buildings that date to the mid 1850s. Purchase bottles of your favourite variety from the farm’s walk-up store. Or enjoy a sip on the patio, which is outfitted with fire pits and heaters to keep things cozy on those chilly afternoons. If you come at the right time, you may even catch some live music.
Supporting local is always important, but this is true now more than ever. If the passion of these local growers isn’t enough to bring you out to Uxbridge, then wait until you hear about Banjo’s Citizen’s Cider Project. Local residents are called on to collect neglected apples from backyards, roadsides, fencerows and abandoned fields and bring them to the cidery. What was once forgotten and unwanted is turned into a truly local hard cider. Taste the fruits of Uxbridge’s collective labour with the 2019 Citizen’s Cider batch, now available at Banjo Cider.
Story by Katherine Ryalen