Guest Cideries at the Cider House

logopos_GLF.jpg

 

 

 

 

For immediate release

Interlaken, NY, May 9th, 2018

To celebrate its third anniversary, Finger Lakes Cider House on Good Life Farm, home of Kite and String Cider, has expanded its beverage program to bring together cider makers from throughout New York State.  Since opening in May 2015, the farm cidery tasting room on Cayuga Lake has focused its program of dinners, events, and in-store activities on a small group of Finger Lakes cider makers. Beginning in May 2018, the Cider House will host a curated selection of one visiting cidery per month to share the tasting menu with Kite & String. This renewed approach gives the Cider House team the opportunity for creative collaboration with like-minded cider makers in the Finger Lakes, Hudson Valley, Western New York and beyond, and allows its loyal community of cider enthusiasts to experience orchard-based cider of exceptional quality from a wider range of apples, terroir and technique.

Each month the Cider House will welcome a new producer to share their vision, strengths and interests. Each guest producer will be on the tasting menu and shelves alongside Kite & String, exposing customers to the collaborative mix of excellence and experimentation. Early plans include:

In May, the Cider House will feature Redbyrd Orchard Cider from nearby Trumansburg. Redbyrd is featured on the tasting menu all month, and on Saturday, May 19th will launch a special cider with a release party focused on RBO’s orchard and unique approach to cider making. Join Eric Shatt at the Cider House for a walk into the Good Life organic orchards to taste Redbyrd’s 2017 estate grown ‘Cloudsplitter’ while discussing biodynamic orcharding with Eric and Mike Biltonen of Know Your Roots Orchard Consulting.

In June Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider from Breezy Hill Orchard in Staatsburg will take residency at the Cider House. Breezy Hill’s visionary farmer-owner Elizabeth Ryan has more than 30 years experience with land preservation and cider making in the Hudson Valley, and is a keen scholar of regional cider anthropology stretching back to the 17th century apple orchards planted by the Dutch . Elizabeth will make a few appearances in the Ithaca area in June,  leading an exploration of cider’s colonial heritage with Experience the Finger Lakes on 6/6 and exploring the influence of this heritage on today’s food and drink culture on 6/7 at the Cider House.

Future guest producers will be posted on the Finger Lakes Cider House calendar.


Melissa Madden, co-owner of Finger Lakes Cider House said, “We as Kite & String Cider, the cider makers we are including in our program, and our teams in the tasting room and at the farm are energized by the idea of leveraging the Cider House to expand the conversation about good cider, good farming, where we come from and where we can go as a community of New York cider producers.”

Jenn Smith, Executive Director of the New York Cider Association said, “As the venue of NYCA Board meetings and our annual AGM, the Cider House has been integral to fostering collegiality among the cider makers in our state, and it is thrilling to know that in the coming months their cider and food culture offerings will even better reflect their collaborative, cooperative nature by expanding their current excellent cider program to include thoughtful producers from all corners of the state.”  

About Finger Lakes Cider House

Finger Lakes Cider House is evolving its business at the same time that it nurtures the larger farm-based cider industry. It is open seven days a week, serving cider alongside local food, and featuring Friday Night Dinners and weekly lunch menu. Additionally, the Cider House often hosts special events and live music, and it is a central hub for the annual Cider Week FLX Festival (September 28th - October 8th, 2018). To learn more, see the Kite & String cider catalogue, or plan a trip, visit fingerlakesciderhouse.com

 

Contact

To learn more about the Cider House or its new program of residency for New York’s premier cider makers, please reach out to Melissa Madden at melissa@fingerlakesciderhouse.com.

A New Way to Host Guest Cideries, Staring May 1!

RB10-6_13_174 small.jpg

Introducing a new way to highlight on guest cideries at the Cider House... starting with Redbyrd Orchard Cider!

Starting with May, we're shifting our manner of hosting guest cideries to focus on 1 special orchard cidery per month, alongside our own Kite & String.

Redbyrd will be our focus for May with Workman Dry on tap and an estate cider release party on Saturday, May 19 for Cloudsplitter!

More info on Redbyrd Orchard, our 5/19 Release Party and the next guests on the calendar!

Breaking News: April 2017

Eve's Cidery now offers on-farm, by appointment tastings in Van Etten

Eve's pic sm.jpg

Three and a half years ago, the Finger Lakes Cider House opened its door with a unique idea: provide a retail space for cider friends and colleagues who didn't have one and simultaneously become a destination for tasting cider from multiple producers in one spot. We've been proud and honored to be part of Melissa and Garrett's ambitious project. Since 2015, the cider industry as a whole has evolved, the Cider House has evolved, Eve's has evolved, and at this point in time, we are ready to tell the story of our land and our cider in our particular voice. We believe that the future of cider in our region lies in it's ability to tell the story of the land, a story about the way in which a specific place can be translated into cider, a story that connects people intimately to a place through what's in their glass. We believe people will be most interested in the region when they can get to know individual producers and their specific sites and we'd like to get better at helping folks do that. We love and admire Melissa and Garrett and are excited to continue to work closely with them as me move into our next chapter.

Autumn's Gold, D Creek, Rustica sideways.jpg

For more information and to visit Eve's at home: evescidery.com

Making Cider for the trees

Why cider, why here, what for

Growing an orchard for cider, and hard years

by Melissa Madden, owner Finger Lakes Cider House, Kite & String Cider, Good Life Farm

The Cider House started as a love letter in physical (in exceptionally encompassing form) to the orchards that do and will cover the landscape of New York and the greater Northeast.  From a terroir perspective, the abundance of wild and state-bred apples alone recommends NYS as the hard cider capital of the country.  When thinking in terms of biologically-appropriate planning, trees as part of a northeastern farm come front and center.

Over the past few years of intense Cider House start-up, we've allowed the  visible role of Good Life Farm to fade to the back ground.  Kite & String is now the name of our house cider, and we still strive towards using only our own apples. This goal is years away but in focus as the clearest way for us to express the power of a biodiverse organic farming system. Like those we collaborate with most closely- Redbyrd Orchard Cider, Eve's Cidery and Black Diamond Cider- we value the life that exists within the orchard and recognize its potential for ecological healing.

Without further ado, here is the case for you, as our friends and customers- to try out orchard cider built on the verticality that is Good Life Farm- Kite & String- Finger Lakes Cider House... A love letter to the trying year in agriculture that was 2016 and an invitation to our Cider Club...

 

cultivation.jpg

ORCHARD CIDER, IN THE GOOD LIFE ORCHARD

The 2016 organic Goldrush crop on our Good Life Farm was the sole harvest for that year, and quite minimal it was. We shared the loss of harvest potential with many Finger Lakes farmers starting right off at Valentine’s Day. In mid-February 2016 we saw temperatures swing from the non-winter we’d been having at 50F to 5F in one night. At that moment, it was adieu to the peach crop in one great Valentine’s Day massacre. As we proceeded through that capricious winter we watched temperatures soar to record heights January thru March only to drop randomly (in February) and significantly in April and May during blossom and pollination. We lost 95% of our crop between those 2 extremes, and then followed a drawn-out drought which started with the extreme dry winter and lasted all the way to October.  The resulting water stress on the trees was lessened by the absolute lack of a fruit crop, but we watched our potential for a ’16 vintage estate cider and fresh fruit sales trickle away into a dry creek of farm desperation.

A bright spot shone through the doom and gloom of scary climate and unhinged nature with a very tiny yield of Goldrush persisting on our adolescent trees. Between the drought and loss of buds at bloom time, we were astounded to greet these nuggets of survival. And the resulting fruit! We recorded the highest brix (sugar content of fruit, indicating ripeness, alluding to growing practices and giving a sense of what final ABV can be after fermentation) we’ve ever seen in fruit coming into Kite & String- either from our own organic fruit or from fruit purchased at more established FLX orchards. This juice was a miracle of complex, largely tropical flavors at the outset- think pineapple explosion- and through primary fermentation only became more astoundingly celebratory.

goldrush apples.jpg

 

IN THE KITE & STRING CELLAR

Garrett and Jimmy made the lovely decision to keep our 50 gallons of 2016 estate harvest (all our own fruit) separate, and to dive into the opportunity presented by this beloved and exquisite pressing in late October 2016. Goldrush 2016 made its way through a primary fermentation designed to maximize fruit quality, to experiment with a new yeast to maximize the single varietal character and to allow time for the choose-your-own-adventure of post-primary fermentation decision making. In March 2017, Goldrush went into secondary fermentation to become a methode champenoise (traditional method or champagne-style) with loose yeast through  secondary fermentation to bring fine, mousse-like bubbles to final cider. And Goldrush ‘16 fermented slowly away to a final and delightful 11% ABV. We disgorged with our fine team of 5 staff in October 2017 after 7 months of second fermentation and lees aging. At the moment, we’ve got a tiny 22 cases (50 gallons) to share and savor. And thus, we release it here to you. Because of the absolute precious-ness of this cider, K&S Goldrush 2016 will only be available to you and our Valentine’s Dinner folks for ordering and tasting.

 

goldrush cider in glas.jpg

IN THE BOTTLE, ON YOUR TABLE

This cider, like the Baldwin ’16 you all received in November 2017, is very much a wine-like cider in its alcohol content, fruit expression, production method. Goldrush will pair well with the gentlest of Emmentaler or Alpine-style cheeses (think nutty flavors and subtle acid like a good Swiss). You’ll see how we serve it… first, with little to overshadow it but enough of a pairing to further tantalize your palate. It’s a celebration, the champagne of cider to get a little fancy with! We’re so pleased to have this come out of 2016 and all its challenges and even more pleased to share it with you- our closest friends in cider.

Interested in our 2016 estate cider 'Goldrush'?

Join our Cider Club!

double rainbow.jpg

A Pin In Time: 5 Vintages of Cazenovia

Staff Training 2.28.2018, Caz vertical.jpg

Staff Training February 28, 2018

Marking time in our own little tree ring…

On the verge of finalizing the 2017 blend, we spent an hour walking through a vertical tasting of Good Life Farm-Kite & String Cide Cazenovia, starting with our first vintage in 2013 and through the blending trials and proposed final blend for 2017. Reminiscing fueled by cider as each vintage reminded us of something unique to our orchard cider community- Eve's Cidery's generosity in 2013 when they let us start production at their place while still building ours; my own learning curve in selling cider alongside vegetables, fruit and meat; the support of Cornell Orchards, Black Diamond Cider, Redbyrd Orchard Cider and Farnum Hill Cider in getting bittersweet cider varieties into our country.

Staff Training 2.28.2018, toast.jpg

Cheers to the uniqueness that emerges as we produce or more of our own bittersweets here at Good Life Farm to make Cazenovia- one of my personal favorite ciders for its tannic dryness and  the windows it opens into past support that is the Finger Lakes and northeastern cider communities. This tasting marked the slow, one-chance-annually evolution of us a cider makers in the fine methode champenoise tradition 🥂

Sweet 2017 Send Off from Finger Lakes Cider House, Kite&String and Good Life Farm

The year draws to a close... 

We say thank you.

It’s a bit early for us to be drawing conclusions about 2017, but we have the honor of working with incredible people whose reflections are powerful insight.  Jeff Katris created this video comprising the lush seasons at the Cider House and the farm, and we offer it to you as our sweet goodbye to the year.

I recently heard a song in which the lyrics speak to the ever evolving farmer soul- “tell me how trees are planted and all the things I never studied, let me learn them now.”

My rewrite... “remind me to plant trees each year and to ask for help when I don’t know the way.”

Thank you to all of those who have worked to make the Cider House, Good Life Farm and Kite & String Cider what we are, and for all the help on the way.  

 

Harvest Report 2017: Black Diamond Farm and Cider

Written by Ian Merwin

BD orchardist, cider-maker and flx pomme expert

2017 was a year of surprises for Finger Lakes cider growers, as Nature kept us all in suspense about the changing climate.  Balmy weather in February pushed apple bud development way too fast, and then near-zero cold came back in early March.  According to reference texts for apple bud survival of lethal temperatures, the orchards should have lost 90% of their flower buds the night of March 7th.  Imagine our surprise to see millions of flowers in the orchards when Spring arrived in May.  Only compulsive optimists and gamblers should grow fruit for a living!

sunset 2017.png

Then Nature dealt her next card: It was so rainy and cold during bloom time that our honeybees couldn’t get out of the hives.  It was up to the local native bumblebees to get the job done.  Cornell entomologists have done extensive research on our farm in recent years, trying to figure out why we have such large and diverse populations of native bees.  It’s likely because our three orchards are small (2, 5 and 7 acres) and each is surrounded by meadows, woods and hedgerows.  That landscape diversity provides ideal habitat for a dozen native bee species on the farm, and they did a great job pollinating our trees in 2017, while our honeybees shivered in their hives.  There was enough bloom and fruit set in the orchards for us to harvest our biggest crop ever this year!  The resilience of apple trees never ceases to amaze, and the old-time varieties that we grow seem to be especially hardy and adaptable.

crew 2017.png

The next surprise came in April, when we had 1200 baby trees to plant in a new cider orchard.  It started raining in late March, and when the farm finally dried out in August we had received twice the “normal” rainfall.  Muck boots and good friends came to the rescue…we managed to get those trees in the ground during a few brief dry spells.  This new orchard includes a dozen cider varieties that we imported from Spain way back in 2002.  After 15 years in virus quarantine at the USDA, these Asturian apples are now available to US cider-makers (check with Wafler and Cummins nurseries for details).  Some have great names like Piel de Sapo (Toad Skin), Perezosa (Lazy Girl) and Limon Montes (Mountain Lemon); it will be fun naming those ciders! In a few years the Spanish trees will begin to bear, and we can make some Finger Lakes versions of the exquisite Asturian ciders we tasted back in 1997, on our first cider visits to Spain and France.  As our production of American and European heritage cider varieties triples over the next few years, we will be making more small-batch varietal ciders, and can once again provide fruit for other local cider makers.

tanks and kiddo 2017.png

Continuing this climate roulette theme—there was a serious drought across the Finger Lakes region during 2016, and we ran out of water to irrigate our young trees.  So this year I rented a D7H Caterpillar to dig some more ponds.  The Honeoye soils on our farm are deep and fertile. But if you dig down enough there is a densely packed layer of clay deposited by receding glaciers 12,000 years ago, which provides a perfect basin for catchment ponds.  The ponds we dug this year should provide enough water for irrigation during future droughts.  My grandson Callum rode shotgun with me in the dozer, and I hope he will remember this when he is my age, just as I vividly recall riding in a bulldozer with my father in 1957, as we dug ponds on our Hudson Valley farm.

bulldozer 2017.png

As Black Diamond’s cider-makers, the greatest challenge for Chris Negronida and me is to take the fruit that Nature gives us each year—always different from other years in this part of the country—and work with each vintage to make the best possible ciders.  We hope that people will recognize Finger Lakes terroir in each year’s cider blends, and also appreciate the lineage with our previous years of orchard-based ciders.  This year we had enough fruit to make some new varietal ciders with Ashmead’s Kernal, Geneva Tremlett’s Bitter, and Reinette Musquee (a.k.a. Margil in the UK).  We look forward to sharing some new ciders and enjoying the serendipitous fruits of 2017 with cider lovers at the Finger Lakes Cider House during the coming year.

fly over 2017.png