News letter faa 22022022
Short hi, Introduction
It has been a third year in a row when I've shared with you what I've been up to summarizing the happenings into my yearly personal news letter (the summary about Cidrerie Jara project can be found here). First of all apologies to many of you, with whom I'm in touch but somehow I did not contact you by email when the letter went life last two times. I've tried to write everyone personally but it doesn't work as I hoped for, I don't reach out to even half of the people I would like to. Therefore I've decided for change of approach and I'll send the announcement as a mass email. I don't like it but in this manner nearly everyone gets at least a "little hi" from me. Depending on how the time allows, I'll write to you personally later. Please one way or other, if you have the moment and you feel like, just send me a note back, I will be very happy and do my best to answer. After all it is about staying in touch.
Last Year developments
Now what I've been up to last year around this time? Well as it has been a standard for past several years around February I've been getting ready for bottling of my cider. In the same time I've been working for cidrerie Vergers de Ducy helping them with their season and putting some of my knowledge and experience into practice and learning how bigger installation like this operates. It has been my fifth year in France. Well in certain way non of that is true anymore. Because of the warm winter, I'm going to distill all my cider this year rather than to bottle it, it fermented too quickly. That would be the biggest difference compared to the previous seasons. By the way the cider bottled last year developed really nicely! My working contract has ended in April last year and I decided to dedicate time to my cider activities and to work on our family house in Czech Republic a bit during the summer. However before quitting France I've done few weeks of work on the roof of my new cider atelier changing the wood and tails and redoing the whole roof ridge and edges of the roof. It is not 100% success as it is not my work but it is done and much better than before. When this was done I've cleared and cleaned the whole hangar and moved in so in other words I've a new cider atelier (just next to the two previous ones moving from the smallest one to this one) of size around 7 on 11 m. It should do season or two. As for living in France, well I'm still present there, I'm for sure keeping there my legal credentials, cider production and place to stay, my caravans. However since December 2021 I'm in Switzerland where I'm now working, actually I've finished first job in restaurant as waiter and I'm looking now for second contract somewhere else, preferably in the kitchen. For me, importantly, after several years I've met someone very special, so I'm very happy to share my days again in a close relationship. My original plan was to stay in Switzerland till this autumn, leaving for two months and half for France for cider season and spend here next winter, to earn money to continue supporting my cider project, all of this is still valid. However it is very likely that I'll be staying till summer next year but we will see about it, it has to be discussed.
Bit about cider
Now I'll slightly touch my professional project Cidrerie Jara, as I said at the beginning of the news letter for more up to date and more detailed info check the project directly, however just few words on the topic because it is my main professional endeavor. The 2021 season, which means 2021 autumn harvesting season, fermentation during 2021/2022 winter and bottling and distillation in the spring 2022, is our sixth cider season and third professional one. Compared to the 2021 season, we have increased the transformation from around 18 tonnes, resulting in 110 hl = 11 000 l of moût/juice, to 30 tonnes, resulting in 210 hl = 21 000 l. This size is being in cider circles considered a minimal one for full time professional occupation. That is one of the main reasons why even when having very limited finances I've decided to go for it. Several of friends helped during the autumn part of the season, it helped a lot, including some of my country-ladies and country-men. I could therefore physically relax a bit. It was the way how we would like to do it in the future, together as a community activity with me taking care about the organization, planning and putting my energy in it with others helping out when they can/feel like. Because of the warm winter we will not bottle this year, the cider fermented too quickly and there is no need for more extra-bruts and total-bruts because there is enough from previous two seasons, still having well over 4 000x of 75 cl bottles of bruts, the total stock of cider actually being more than 10 000 bottles some of them 37.5 cl. We are well stocked for this year 2022 and most of the 2023. The season costed so far around 9 000€ in apples, materials and service and it will most likely need another 2 000 to 3 000€ of investments to finish it properly. Previous estimations were investments of around 12 000€ into processing of 30 tonnes, so it was an underestimation because with bottling it would be around 16 000€.
Plans for Summer&Autumn 2022
I love to plan, in the same time I definitely like to have some space for changes and it seems like that the development of the world in the last few years is giving me a plenty of opportunities to sharpen my "flexibility skills". As mentioned above my main professional focus is on promotion of Cidrerie Jara products, especially cider, starting to sell them in bigger quantities especially through professionals, that is the number one. On personal level, I would like to dedicate adequate time to my family and my close ones, share some quality time together. In the past four years my parents died and it made me realize more profoundly, that we are not here forever and thou I feel it is important to do in our lives what we feel we should, having time for the closest ones is the life it it's essence. Because I have to pay back money I've invested into my project, now around 27 000€ in total (including this season which I'm finishing to pay off), I need to work in some job, income from sale of cider is not sufficient yet. It seems to me reasonable to aim for 80% contract somewhere because full-time would be limiting me too much in promoting the products. I hope to find something reasonable within March latest beginning of April, if I could put aside from the wages around 1 500€ per month that would be nice. By mid of September I need to finish in the job and dedicate next two and half months to cider season in Normandie. I've now two caravans there, it would be good to put up 5x10m tent (the Food Hacking Base (fhb) classic) and fill it with a field kitchen, build up simple toilets and shower and hope that people who are into the cider and would like to spend some time in Normandie by doing something meaningful will find their way to join the project. If you read it as an invitation, you are right, if interested talk to me, we really need help and I think we can figure out something nice for both sides ranging from few to several days stay till longer. Still keep in mind, it is the most important part of the cider season, really busy time, not a holiday and it is important to keep the atmosphere of "diligence" in the air. But of course having time off is very important.
Winter 2022/2023 and further
Now based on the development of the world in the past few to several years I've made some prognoses and plans both for personal goals and the company. For years I wanted to take at least week or two after the cider season, beginning or mid of December, as a holiday and go somewhere for thermals. If I could do that, I would be very happy, my body asks for that. It seems like I'll need to do one more winter season as an employee and work also during spring to earn money in Switzerland. I need it both to support myself and the business. After that it is quite an open question which path to choose to get closer to our goals. It depends a lot on how well the cider sells. If things go well, than organizing a small "intercontinental cider tour" lasting for few months, traveling and promoting our products, that sounds good. Autumn is quite clear, every year, cider season again.
As you have read several times ago over the past fifteen years or so, I would like to buy a land in the countryside somewhere aside and live there starting a community which would be quite independent. Lets be honest with the prices of land and properties, even the ones which are for demolition going up a lot, this is more and more difficult. In the same time when I see what is happening around us, I think it is still the best thing to do, at least in our case, even when it will be quite challenging. Anyone interested in investing talk to me.
Many thanks and talk to you soon
Here we come to the end of my newsletter 22/2/2022. I would like to thank you for reading it, I tried to be brief but well, one year is quite some time in a human life and many things happened. As I've asked above, if you like to stay in touch, send me an email or message, call me if you like, just ping me or share what you have been up too, I would be happy and do my best to respond.