The Gleaner
Agriculture

Cider maker forages for flavours

The Valley’s biodiversity can allow for a rich variety of taste sensations and La Capsule Temporelle, a new cider producer in Franklin, has the goal of incorporating the natural gifts of the fields to create different, exciting cider flavours.

Matthiew Quinn took over the farm in 2020 when he moved from Laval. Quinn’s first goal was to start a vineyard; however, after tasting some cider that a friend had made, he was swayed into starting a small apple orchard instead. La Capsule Temporelle recently acquired a permit to sell alcohol, and the plan is to start selling products somewhere between next April and June.

It was a difficult year to start an orchard, for many reasons; Quinn explains that there were “two frosts, the gypsy moths and the drought.” He says he may well have lost 90 per cent of the overall crop to the first frost, though this wasn’t an immediate cause for panic: “With apple trees that’s not the end of the world, in the sense that you only need about 10 per cent of your flowers to have a decent crop. But then we had another [frost] when we had actual fruits in the trees.” That was more serious. Then came the bugs, and the drought. There was definitely some loss because of Mother Nature’s tricks.

Accessing add-ins

One of the great things about the location of La Capsule Temporelle is the availability of diverse natural products nearby. Quinn is committed to keeping everything as “local” as possible and appreciates that sometimes it may not even be necessary to leave the lot to find add-ins for cider. He likes to introduce different flavours to the beverage, such as berries, honey, or hops, and to source these extras as close to home as possible. “The hops [come from] our actual neighbour; the wild apples will come from my brother in Godmanchester, which isn’t too far – it’s about a 25 minute drive from here – and the fruits [come] from here,” explains Quinn.

 

Though Matthiew Quinn originally had his heart set on a vineyard, playing with apple cider formulae has been a great way for him to experience lots of the gems of the Valley. Quebec produces so many apples that he thinks it’s time we really lean into the world of local ciders.  PHOTO provided

 

However, he says he’d love to become completely self-sufficient, by eventually using only wild produce foraged from the land which would allow him to create different flavours at different times of the year. “Foraging is super easy, and it doesn’t cost anything except time.” So far, Quinn has plans for a berry/small fruit cider and eventually something with sumac; both cider varieties would be derived from plants that grow in abundance on the farm.

It’s about time

The name “La Capsule Temporelle” is a conversation starter. Quinn jokes that a lot of people think the name is a reference to UFOs, but it is actually a reference to the foraging process, which he likens to assembling a time capsule. “What the vines or the apple trees give us is different year to year, for a bunch of different reasons. So, when you’re taking this liquid and putting it into a bottle, you’re basically making a time capsule.” He emphasizes that creating a cider is also like creating a moment in time that you can open later and share with someone.

Quinn is an enthusiastic promoter of local products. He highlights that producing things locally instead of importing is “a lot closer to home so the environmental impact is much smaller.” Using local resources allows you to encourage friends, family and neighbours; this is important in situations where the global economy is faltering. “Keeping your food source close to you may not seem important because we have this global economy, but the second that’ll start flinching I think it’s good to have expertise locally.” This is something that became clear throughout the pandemic, when products were running out and many people had to turn to local sources.

Quinn has a lot of big plans and hopes to expand the farm to “eventually go into maple syrup, wine, mushrooms, a garden, maybe animals…But the top three are cider, maple syrup, and wine.”

La Capsule Temporelle is becoming a Valley hotspot and seems to have more to offer every day. There is always room in the market for great cider, and Quinn is excited to find his niche.

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