An evening at Redbyrd Orchard kicks off the Cider Wheel!

Discussing cider with Eric, Round 2

You can too at the Redbyrd Afternoon- June 17, 2 - 5 PM

A recap on our June 7 Staff Training at Redbyrd

This past Wednesday (6/7/2017), our dedicated and excitable staff visited Eric, Deva, Cyrus, Leo and Felix at their home and the younger of the two Redbyrd Orchard sites (Trumansburg). Apropos of our coming public event on June 17 with Eric, we got to taste and chat in the orchard, and came away with our standard feeling of love, respect, awe and inspiration for our partner cideries. June is unique because it is the fever pitch of spring orchard work and sets the stage for the harvest to come. We started our walk with beautiful abundance on 5 yr dwarf Kingston Black and quickly encountering buzz concepts we were forced to dissect... biodynamics. Why, explain. To irrigate for larger and greater future harvests, or to push developing trees to withstand all weather opportunities. Sharing an evening with this family, amidst their unending agricultural journey, expressed so well in dry (and only dry) cider... well, it's just sweet. We recognize and salute the slow flame that burns in Eric and Deva's farmer hearts and keeps Redbyrd making these unique ciders in the smallest batches.

And now the news... updates on the RBO Cider Wheel Project

Reposted from Redbyrd's blog, 6/6/2017

At Redbyrd Orchard we are currently working on a new project, developing a cider wheel to highlight and focus on the unique specific flavors and textures of cider.  We created our first template for the cider wheel and tested it out alongside a cider release event at the Finger Lakes Cider House in March.  This was a super fun event for us as the interest and curiosity of the cider wheel became obviously clear and worth our while.  At that time we tasted 14’ Celeste Sur Lie, 15’ Wild Pippin, and the 16’ Workman Dry, three very different ciders.  We gave the tasters a copy of the first draft of our cider wheel and the flight of ciders to taste and comment.  We got tons of cool feedback, confirming our descriptors for the ciders but more importantly adding more and cultivating and encouraging new descriptors. Now we are working on adding these to the wheel and continuing to hone in on the multitude of flavor expressions in cider.  Below is some boiled down data from this tasting event.   Descriptors are listed in order of the most commonly used for each cider as well as a list of our favorite new descriptors for each cider.


14’ Celeste Sur Lie

Our Tasting Notes: elegant aromas of caraway, clementine, and pine. Full bodied mid-palate revealing lemon curd and raspberry. Soft lingering tannins

From Event:  Bittersweet Apple, Grapefruit, sour, astringent, mouth watering, lime, tart cherry, tangerine,  yeast, birch      

New Descriptors : Toast, biscuit, Raw Bread Dough, Arugula, White Grape


15’ Wild Pippin

Our Tasting Notes : A delicate nose of white pepper, lemongrass, and lime. Herbaceous notes of freshly dug wild carrot root, finishing with mouth watering tannins

From Event :  Earthy, sour, soft tannins, yeast, mushroom, tart cherry, tangerine, velvety

New Descriptors : Rose, Cherry Blossom, Fennel


16’ Workman Dry

Our Tasting Notes : Tropical fruit, orange peel, and birch on the nose. Fruit forward but with a round supple mouthfeel transitioning to a finish of mouthwatering acidity and plentiful tannins. Bright and juicy tart.

From Event :   Lime, Lemongrass, bright, grapefruit, bittersweet apple, orange pith, waxy, cherry, clean, silky, mouth watering, lingering finish,

New Descriptors : Riesling Schorle, Melon, Nectarine


On Saturday June 17th at the Finger Lakes Cider House we will be releasing another cider,  the 2015 Andromeda Crab.  With this complex unique blend of Wickson, Dolgo and Manchurian crab, and classic European bittersweet apples we will again be looking to develop and increase the length of our list of descriptors for cider.  Please join us and be part of this pioneering discovery and the continued evolution of American cider.

Dan Berger International Wine and Cider Competition: Eve's and Good Life win!

Eve's Cidery's 2015 'Darling Creek' takes Best in Class

Good Life's 2015 'Cazenovia' takes silver

View all the results here

We're not surprised! Eve's Cidery has been racking up accolades over the past few years- notably many in Cider Journal which participated in judging the Dan Berger Cider categories.  'Darling Creek' is one of our favorites too, and we're pleased to be serving it this weekend as part of the Eve's Cidery Cider-Maker Afternoon on Saturday, June 10 from 2-5pm.  Drop on in and ask Autumn more about Darling Creek!

Spring Training Part 2: Black Diamond Farm and Cider

Yesterday we hopped over the few miles to Black Diamond Farm and Cider (T'burg) for a sunset among blossoms of every type. Ian and Jackie of Black Diamond Cider took us on a walk through 30 years of building a farm from scratch, and still planting.

Visual and aromatic beauty aside, for those of us with younger orchards a walk through time like this is pure balm, and we love that planning for the Nth generation never ceases in this family.

Black Diamond is our 'estate' cidery here at FLCH, using 100% their own fruit in their ciders. And next Saturday, 5/13 (2-5pm), you can drop in here and have your own conversation with Ian!

Chronicling Spring at high speed

Loving and trying to keep up with life at Good Life Farm

Spring 2017

It happens so fast!  Throughout March we watch spring plod towards us, hoping it won't come too fast and expose us all to late, killing frosts. Simultaneously, we are HUNGRY for it!  The warmth! The absolute burst of life that is late April and May. One day you are sitting, covered in bees and thinking "oh, this is unique".  And then you are covered in everything, and possibly underwater with your task list.

And then it comes, very suddenly.  And absolute all at once. Bloom begins in the peaches, spreads to the crabs and continues in perfect succession through the orchard.  We are blessed at this point in the 2017 orchard season to see fruit in our future, as a deep balm to the huge losses of 2016. And we are challenged to keep up!

This past week we got through orchard set up and started planting our 1500+ dwarf orchard alongside and in between the past 8 years of long-lived, slow growing semi-dwarfs. 

We also chased cows around, and got them onto pasture!  Huzzah- calving season can begin!

Asparagus popped up, we'll be a-pickin' starting Saturday and every day til June!

And always trying to take time to admire and appreciate this frantic, fleeting season. 

Spring Training Cider House style with Eve's Cidery

This past Wednesday (April 5) marked the beginning of Spring Training, Cider House style.  Autumn hoofed us at double time up the famed Albee Hill where we gained 700' elevation and peered out over the Cayuta Creek valley.

Autumn has been an essential and generous mentor to Melissa on and off since 2001, when she introduced "farming is cool" as a concept.  Over the past 16 years, we at the Cider House and Good Life Cider have relied on Autumn's sharp insight, pure honest and incredible craftspersonship to help guide us on our own journey into grower cider. 

Atop Albee Hill, our whole crew joined Autumn in pondering the mysteries of the organic orchard and associated soapboxes and the oh-so-challenging economics or small-scale, low volume, high quality grower cider.  And at the end of it, we got to taste 4 years of the results in an Eve's Cidery 'Northern Spy' vertical tasting spanning 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.  The 2015 is on our Tasting Menu right now!

In this year's round of training, we meet and greet with each of our four farm-based cideries to make sure that we- Cider House team- can do our best behind the bar to tell these small farm-based cidery stories when we serve you.  We'll continue to offer educational programming through the year to highlight why we think what we do is... delicious.  Special. Worth every effort. Stay with us- more to come.

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Good Life Barrel Rye Wins 2017 Good Food Awards!

More about the Awards and our Traditional Method Orchard Cider

What are the Good Food Awards?

Criteria, with which we concur

The Good Food Awards were created to redefine ‘good food’ as being tasty, authentic and responsible. We aim to set criteria for entry that are realistic and inclusive of food and drink producers who have demonstrated a commitment to be part of building a tasty, authentic and responsible food system, going far above and beyond the status quo for their industry, while not making them so strict that eligible participants are limited to a small handful of products. The Good Food Awards reviews and revises its category criteria each year under the supervision of its Committee Members to ensure that the criteria advance with the advancement of each industry. The Awards are rooted in a belief that by being inclusive, our American food system will more closely embody the principles of tasty, authentic and responsible more quickly.

Principles

Tasty
• Food is delicious, bringing joy to those who consume it.
Authentic
• No artificial ingredients are used.
• Food is an expression of tradition and culture.
• Seasonality and locality are valued in crafting of food.
Responsible
• Respect and fair compensation are core values within the production chain.
• Ingredients are grown without synthetic fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides and are GMO free.
• Growing practices are chosen to promote healthy soil and biodiversity.
• Local ingredients are utilized wherever possible.
• Water and resource conservation and recycling are practiced.
• Transparency and honesty is practiced with consumers.
• Direct, face-to-face communication is sought out between growers, food crafters and everyone else in the production chain.
• Good animal husbandry is practiced and farm animals can eat and behave according to their natural instincts.

How We Fit

Good Life Cider is an expression of Good Life Farm.  Good Life Farm is a wildly diverse small organic farm where we focus on Good Soil to create Good Fruit and Good Cider. Two of our ciders- ‘Cazenovia’ and ‘Honeoye’- are named for the main soil types on the farm.

Good Life Farm is owned by Garrett Miller and Melissa Madden, who work alongside a delightful and dedicated crew.  Our orchard is young, and we use a mix of our own high-brix organic apples and those sourced from nearby Finger Lakes orchards. Good Life Cider comes from the hearts and minds of the Brothers Miller- Garrett and Jimmy form a dynamic duo to turn FLX fruit into your drink.

Our ciders are distinctly American in style, which means we’re not afraid to borrow from the world of traditions. Good Life Cider creatively blends international influences with a taste of the Finger Lakes through our mineral-rich, acidic apples. Our cider line ranges from tannic and dry to bright, fruit-forward and sweet; in sparkling, traditional method (champagne) and barrel-aged styles.  Our range is based on traditional bittersweet apples and sharp, acidic heirloom fruits. 

'Barrel Rye' highlights the fabled NYS-native Golden Russet apple, balanced with the tannic influence of bittersweets 'Yarlington Mill', 'Dabinett', and 'Tremlitt's Bitter'.  'Barrel Rye' is a barrel-aged, traditional method cider, with natural bubbles from a second in-bottle fermentation.  We disgorge all our bottles here at Good Life Farm and age for several months with cork and cage before releasing each vintage for sale.

Where to try 'Barrel Rye'

In honor and gratitude, we offer free tastings of 'Barrel Rye' through February, right here!  Drop by any day of the week (we are still open 7 days a week through the winter) and tell us you want to explore Good Food.

How to get 'Barrel Rye'

Buy it here!  We will always have it on our shelves, and you can taste it for free!

Not in our area and can't stop by?  We'll ship!  Order on our online cider store.

Looking for it now?  Email us for locations in upstate NY and the New York metro area!

 

Good Life Farm Interlude

Thoughts on life, farming and the vertical integration between farm, cidery and Cider House... Good Life Blog Share.

LIVING THE GOOD LIFE NOW: FARMING THE WAY WE WANT TO LIVE

We are refreshed. We are determined. We see and we set the way forward. We believe this, and we are joyful though we have considered all the facts.  We are citizens, we are farmers and we are hopeful.

READ MORE ON THE GOOD LIFE BLOG...