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(I started this blog pre-harvest; it is now mid-harvest and time sure changes everything.)
We were both fans of potato and corn vodka in comparison to the typical grain vodkas readily available. So, on our hunt to find the best potato vodka we came up with the distillery idea instead … why not make our own we thought… we have the property here in Langley, we have the buildings to house it, we have the know-how to farm (well, Rob does), we have fresh spring water on the property, and of course we both have hardworking stubborn work ethics to make it happen while still working full time at other jobs.
So the potato happened … this more often than not odd shaped giver of your favorite foods that are bad for your waist line, such as: French fries, Scallop potatoes covered in cheese, poutine, and of course potato chips. There are of course other odd uses for potatoes such as rubber stamp replacements, shoe polisher, stain remover, and they can reduce the appearance of puffy eyes.
But… there is the ultimate gift that potatoes can provide and that is starch that converts to sugar when manipulated which you can than ferment and turn into vodka. So, hence, potatoes are vodka berries or vodka veggies or just plain wonderful little packages of potential that can make you laugh a little louder, cry a little harder, dance a little wilder, and stay a little longer.
With all that being said we are currently harvesting our potatoes - 6 acres of them by hand … it is quite the task. The harvester digs them up, then we pick them up and transfer them to the loader which then takes them to storage. We truly have a hand in the entire process which we love but after hours bending over or on your knees picking up spuds there is not a lot of things I love … luckily Rob is one of them as he keeps spirits high by making jokes or reminding me that the harvest is only 6 weeks out of 52.
So that, in a nutshell, is why you can enjoy craft distilled potato Vodka from the Fraser Valley.
So where does our name, Roots and Wings Distillery, come from? The answer lies in various different places for me personally, and also for Rob.
I like the saying - the best thing you can give your children are Roots and Wings. Roots to know where they are from and Wings to allow their dreams to soar. The Roots are for the security of knowing where you are from and the principals that were instilled in you early on. Then the Wings is the confidence to go after your dreams and take risks to make them happen.
The same is true when building a business; you need to know where you started and where you want to go. Rob’s family has been on this Langley farm for generations and he knows this place better than anyone, but also has dreams of trying something he hasn’t done before on this farm.
Our Langley distillery name - Roots and Wings Distillery - comes from having both the security of the place we live at and the options that are readily available; as well as the confidence of two hardworking adventurous souls to take a leap of faith.
So, when you are sipping or savouring our craft spirits, remember where you are from and who you want to become….embrace your Roots and Wings!
I have to admit that I did not inherit my mother’s green thumb; Thankfully Rob did inherit that gene from his family. But I’m hoping with enough practice, patience, and pleading; my plants will grow.
Now I don’t want to give you the wrong impression that I’m great at growing weeds; they love me, and dandelions easy-peasy! But I don’t think you would enjoy dandelion or crabgrass infused vodka… so I’m going to do my best in the coming months to learn how to germinate seeds, plant seedlings early in the greenhouse (I still need to build one of these) that eventfully bear the fruit, leaves, petals, and roots to create pleasing infusions for your future cocktails.
So any green thumbs out there if you have advice for a novice like myself I would love to hear from you.
I have been dehydrated for years metaphorically speaking; I have worked in the technology sector for 8 years. I have flown and driven all over North America several times over, which is pretty standard for most of us in these B2B roles, we fly to client meetings, or conferences, drive endless hours chasing potential leads. In that time, we don’t eat, sleep, or drink properly; our fight and flight mode is maxed out … it’s a truly glamourous lifestyle because not only the physical exhaustion and exposure to who’s knows what and whom when we are sharing common space with everyone; we also miss out on time with our families, with our friends and down time with ourselves.
This was glaringly obvious on a recent trip to Denver. After a 4-day conference I was in the airport going from lunch to my gate when a young attractive girl stopped me in the concourse and asked me if I wanted to try this miracle eye cream … I declined…. she persisted … she won. Once it was applied to one eye she showed me the difference … it was truly amazing! I had one 35-year-old eye and one 21-year-old eye (in hindsight I should’ve insisted on both eyes). After some haggling, I purchased the overpriced cream and caught my flight home.
But on the way home I had to appreciate the genius marketing of that opportunity. Of course that cream was a miracle worker to the dehydrated masses of business travelers headed home, Dehydrated from life on the road… I don’t need a new cream to look 21 again, I need to drink in the good life and stop flying all over hells half acre and enjoy my 30+ acres of heaven.
After 8 years with a great company; I’m ready to start writing a new chapter. This one will be of waking up every morning beside the man I love, breathing the fresh air deep into my lungs, and enjoying a leisurely morning coffee before I begin creating, growing, and nurturing our distillery into a life hydrating venture that I can share with world.
If you have ever lived on a farm you know there is no such thing as idle hands and even less so when you are running multiple businesses off of the farm. What I would give for 6 straight hours of idle hands. I would use them to turn the pages on a good book or have a spa manicure. But in truth living on a farm is so deeply engraved into the way of the life I love I would find meaningful work around any corner I turn.
Rob my dear sweet pseudo-husband loves this about me and when I say loves I mean love-hate because its’ such a fine line between the two. As inevitably he becomes part and parcel of my plans to create, build, clean, organize, expand, and grow.
I don’t believe the two of us will experience idle hands for years to come between the farm, the business ventures and the two boys… but one day if I do find the time you will find me at the spa.