Kristen Needham, Founder & Cidermaster
I am a sixth generation farmer, having inherited the family orchard in 1986. At the time, I wanted nothing to do with farming. Instead, as a teenager, I went off to boarding school in Wales. I drank my first cider but never dreamed that one day I would become a cidermaker. Rather, I focused on my studies and began a career in environmental management and international development. I worked mainly on food security projects and spent several years working in rural Ethiopia with farmers. I never thought that one day I would return to farming myself.
That changed in 2002 when Sea Cider was conceived. I replanted the family orchard in traditional English bittersweets and bittersharps, planted a second orchard on my mother's farm, then bought a third orchard where our ciderhouse now stands. I went back to school, but this time it was cider school. In between cider courses I made cider, planted apple trees and built a Ciderhouse. Finally, in 2007, after five years of preparation, I sold cider to my first customer.
Nowadays I spend much of my time working on future plans for Sea Cider. We have grown a lot, learned a lot and made more than a few mistakes. Through it all, our aim has always been to build a family-owned, community-minded business rooted in farming. We think that cider is for celebrating, and cider is WORTH celebrating. These words still ring true today:
For mariners and farmers all
The ciderhouse stands sentry tall
From here the sea casts blue or grey
Reflecting back the island day
Sea breezes set fruit trees in motion
Scents of apple mix with ocean
Breathe deep and let your senses fill
Take in the sights from on our hill
Come raise a glass of cider here
Enjoy our farm, our view, our cheer