Toloja Orchards was the brainchild of Nikki & Kevin Sweet, it started from a remark about one of the fields on their smallholding looking nice planted with apples trees…… and of course with apples, comes cider!
Coming from Kent Nikki and Kevin had careers in the construction industry, after a string of bad luck which included 7 redundancies between them, they decided to move to Dartmoor in Devon to strive for a bit of the good life, after 10 years they got part way there but not completely, so they decided to up sticks. They sold up, bought a caravan and with 2 children and a baby travelled around Wales in search of their dream home and future business. Six months later they found a rundown smallholding overlooking Cardigan Bay.
They embarked on setting up their business buying equipment off Ebay. Sadly bad luck followed with Kevin suffering several heart attacks and needing surgery at just 35, his misfortune down to a hereditary condition.
Undeterred they continued with the plan, after two seasons expansion was needed investing profits into progressing the company and buying a new press and pasteuriser. But even this proved not to cope with the demand for our products, after many business plans, soul searching and maxing every credit card in Nikki’s purse they bought some much needed equipment with the help of a 40% grant from the Welsh Assembly Government.
Fast forward to today and Toloja Orchards, named after their 3 children, Tom, Lottie & James is thriving, not only producing cider, cider brandy and apple juice, the range has grown to incorporate a wide range of orchard preserves and award winning mustards made from their own cider vinegar, supplying outlets from the furthest reaches of North Wales all the way down to Cardiff.
Additionally, the entrepreneurial spirit has rubbed off on the children, Tom set up his company at just age 12, Spice Thyme, selling dried herbs, spices and now curry kits. Lottie, established her business in 2010 at age 11, Sweet Deer, hiring reindeer! and as for James, he has set up 'Salt & Sweet' creating a range in exciting and really different flavoured sea and rock salts.
Click on the Spices & Reindeer tab for more information.