Good Life Farm

Kite & String Cider-Good Life Farm is hiring for 2019!

NOW HIRING: FARM AND CIDERY PRODUCTION ASSISTANT

December 19, 2018

Join our team!  Our farm-cidery-tasting room is hiring for a full-time position starting March, 2019. The Production Assistant will split duties between the farm and cidery, with duties rotating as the seasons demand. Good Life Farm is our diversified organic farm featuring apple, peach and pear orchards, season extension, poultry and draft horses. Kite & String is our cidery where we make a range of artisanal cider sourced from our own organic Good Life apples and those of other Finger Lakes orchards. All of this is the setting for our tasting room and cafe Finger Lakes Cider House.  

DOWNLOAD AND SHARE THIS JOB!

 

Summary

March through December 2019, possibility for long term employment based on mutual fit.

40 hr per week. Weekdays M-F, with one weekend per month.

Pay rate sliding $15.50-17/hr based on experience

 

Skills Sought

Some mix of trade skills- electrical, plumbing, carpentry, or min 3 years working full time on a farm or in a cidery/winery. Must be self-motivated and able to work in a team- taking direction from multiple managers and alone- keeping pace and attention to detail for solo tasks. We prefer to hire someone looking for longer term employment based on mutual fit.

 

Job Details

This job is a seasonal immersion in the life of an integrated farm-cidery-tasting room. The Production Assistant will assist seasonally in all aspects of our Kite & String Cider production and our Good Life Farm management. Weekly duties will be split roughly evenly between both the cidery and farm, but will shift weekly/monthly to meet seasonal demands. Throughout the season the Production Assistant will participate in harvest, washing and packing of Good Life fruit and produce, and daily livestock chores plus one weekend per month. Orchard management will be a primary focus. The Production Assistant will work with the team on infrastructure improvements throughout the year. Cidery tasks are ongoing all year, with a focus on bottling until apple harvest and pressing begin in late September/early October.

 

To Apply

Please send a letter of interest, resume with references to:

Melissa Madden (melissa@thegoodlifefarm.org)

Applications will be taken on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

All questions via email.

JOB DESCRIPTION DOWNLOAD

BRIEF INTERLUDE OF GRATITUDE

moon dancers.jpg

Moon Dancers, snow and the wonder of having animals

A moment of appreciation

We’re on the cusp of a big holiday which celebrates abundance. Harvest is over, and with this blizzard, it really really is. We loaded our turkeys up last night for today’s big life change… butchering for Thanksgiving. Yes, we raise animals for meat and that is part of it.

I wanted to take this moment to breathe thankfulness to all of the Good Life Farm animals- those who only stay a season and feed us at the end of it AND those who live here year in and year out. On our farm we emphasize a regenerative system that combines pasture with the care of trees. It is a cycle of fertility, pest control and joyful expression of each creature’s animal-ness. We seek biologically appropriate designs and integrated systems for maximum health throughout the lives of those in our care.

And today is a change for some, and next week many families will share this gratitude with us. Thank you to our perennial animal family (Leo, Polly, geese, Goose, Reepicheep, Wally, Suss, Ria…) and to those who stayed this summer and fall- the turk mclurks.

turks.jpg

2018 Cider Week FLX launches!

Cider Week FLX!

Friday, September 28 - Sunday, October 9, 2018

to orchard.jpg

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 20, 2018

Contact

Jenn Smith

Executive Director, New York Cider Association

917.714.4274 | newyorkciderassociation@gmail.com

4TH ANNUAL CIDER WEEK FLX, SEPTEMBER 28 - OCTOBER 7 PUTS SPOTLIGHT ON REGION’S ORCHARDS

ITHACA, NY - Cider Week FLX is a ten-day festival spotlighting the quality, variety and abundance of cider grown and made in the Finger Lakes. Harnessing the growing consumer interest in cider, the promotion drives agritourism to key farms and tasting rooms, and cultivates appreciation for New York cider in the region’s bars, restaurants, bottle shops and beyond. A full overview of the festival can be found on the Cider Week FLX website, CiderWeekFLX.com. Cider-focused happenings at participating orchards, cidery tasting rooms, and cider spots in Geneva, Interlaken, Ithaca, Rochester, Trumansburg, and Williamson include guided walks, dinners, drop-ins, and cheese pairings. Cider Week FLX is unique from other cider festivals because the Finger Lakes is an exceptional center of cider making, due to the relative abundance of cider fruit, the presence of Cornell University’s world-class apple horticulture and enology resources, the area’s identity as a winemaking region, and the location of the USDA apple germplasm repository in Geneva. The entire calendar of festival events is available online at CiderWeekFLX.com/flx/events/. On Sunday, September 30 the action will be at Cornell Orchards, where the “ Cider Sunday ” event offers an afternoon of orchard walks, talks from Cornell CALS educators and researchers, and a meet-the-cider maker tasting and market in the Cornell Orchards Store , with a special selection of cider pairing snacks provided by Cornell Catering . In addition to the hard cider that adults may sample, apple enthusiasts of all ages can taste and make bespoke blends of dozens of different apple varieties, including traditional European hard cider varieties. Finger Lakes cider makers participating in the Cider Week promotion include:

● BLACK DIAMOND CIDER (Trumansburg)

● EVE’S CIDERY (Van Etten)

● GRISAMORE CIDER WORKS (Locke)

● KITE & STRING CIDER (Interlaken)

● LAKE DRUM BREWING (Geneva)

● NEW YORK CIDER COMPANY (Ithaca)

● REDBYRD ORCHARD CIDER (Trumansburg)

● SOUTH HILL CIDER (Ithaca)

● WAR HORSE BREWING @ THREE BROTHERS WINERY (Geneva)

@newyorkcider

newyorkciderassociation@gmail.com

newyorkciderassociation.com

Over the past decade, hard cider has been one of the fastest growing segments of craft beverage, due to factors including interest in farm-to-bottle beverages, drinkers’ general wish for lower alcohol options, and orientation by millennials to drink by occasion rather than category. According to Nielsen Research, small, regional producers such as those located in FLX have been the strongest performers of recent years, with an off-premise sales growth rate of 30% in 2017. Despite this expansion, drinker familiarity with cider remains a work in progress, and so the New York Cider Association (NYCA) works to give it increased exposure. NYCA Executive Director Jenn Smith said , “Cider is an important part of New York’s farm-based food culture. Drinkers are still learning that premium cider, made from New York apples, is being grown and fermented right in their backyard. Cider Week has been very effective at educating people about cider, upending misconceptions about cider always being sweet, and underlining the connection that cider has to the orchards where families enjoy U-pick apples in the fall.”

The outcomes of the FLX festival will be deepened awareness of FLX as an apple- and cider producing region, increased visitation, and economic stimulation based on both tourism and a boost in craft beverage sales.

About New York Cider

With more cideries than any other state (90 and counting!), a thriving apple industry, historic orchards, and a reputation for being the source of quality craft beverages, New York is the national cider industry frontrunner in terms of quality, scale, reach and economic impact. New York Cider Association works to advance that leadership, with the twinned objectives of developing New York Cider’s market position and strengthening the viability of the New York cider industry. To learn more visit newyorkciderassociation.com .

About Cider Week New York

Cider Week was launched by Hudson Valley-based sustainable agriculture not-for-profit Glynwood in 2011 as a way to connect trade professionals to farm-based cider producers in the region, while also increasing public awareness and appreciation. Now produced by the NYCA, Cider Week has grown from a series of marketing events for producers and retailers occurring in New York City and the Hudson Valley, into a series of four regional festivals throughout the state. To discover other cider weeks, visit ciderweeknewyork.com .

Community Support

NYCA’s production of Cider Week FLX is possible thanks to the contributions of our sponsors, all important members of the regional cider community: Cider In Love, Finger Lakes Cider House, Goodnature, and Vance Metal.

For media & press inquiries, please contact NYCA Executive Director Jenn Smith, 917.714.4274

newyorkciderassociation@gmail.com

Outcomes from last Sunday's Flood Relief Benefit with Silo Food Truck, Copper Horse Coffee, TOiVO and The Flywheels

39390579_1809488189120530_1874608046219460608_o.jpg

What happened?

After the devastating storm on Tuesday (8/13/2018) morning, we found our neighbors in Hector, Lodi and Sheldrake particularly affected. Much is documented about this, so we will leave it to our local reporters. 

Next up in trickling effects was the canceling of Phish's 4-day music fest in Watkins Glen due to water quality issues. This left vendors all over the region scrambling with inventory and staffing. 

We teamed up with 2 of those vendors- Silo Food Truck and Copper Horse Coffee- to try to bring some action to all that food and some conversation to the relief effort. On Sunday, August 19, the Cider House closed down our kitchen and gave all food service over to Silo and Copper Horse. We rounded up our dear friends from TOiVO and The Flywheels for a little rousing music and went into the day with hearts full and a great amount of unknown.


What was the goal?

We sought to provide a place for the Flood Relief Conversation to happen, and evolve. The Willard Lion's Club, Lodi Fire Department and STEPS offered to staff the donations/info area, and we were off!

Did we reach our goal?

All day we were joined by folks looking to plug into the relief effort. The options were there- Buy from Silo and 50% of proceeds went to the Sheldrake and Lodi Relief Funds. Volunteer via the Lion's Club. Donate needed items straight into the Lodi Fire Dept. trailer for distribution. 

We'd say, as a first-responder, farmer-developed-in-24-hours sort of benefit that yes, it felt successful. This is only the beginning!


TOiVO photo 2017 funny.jpg

Who contributed?

In cash, the Cider House, Silo Food Truck and individuals using our online Donate Button are donating over $4,000 split between the Lodi and Sheldrake Relief Funds.

Silo also served around 700 free meals on Friday and Monday to Relief volunteers.

More coming!


What next?

You can still donate online, via our Donate Button.

 

Further contact for Sheldrake 

Sue Bobnick: 607-327-0930, email: nala10@gmail.com

MAIL CHECK TO: First Assembly of God, memo "Sheldrake Point Relief Fund" 7412 Wyers Point Rd. Ovid, NY 14521

 

Further Contact for Lodi

George MacCheyne: 607-279-8261

MAIL CHECK TO: "Between the Lakes Flood Relief 2018". PO Box 299 Lodi, NY 14860


flywheels.jpg

Revealing the May Cider Club for these last few weeks...

By mid July we'll start prepping for the August Club!

Get in on the May Club for 2 more weeks!

IMG_1625.JPG

May Cider Club letter

May 1, 2018

Greetings, greetings!

May is here. It's a time of edgy excitement on this farm.... Where we wonder if we’ll be able to pull off all that we’ve planned for the year. Where we respond to the rapidly increasing light as we roar towards Summer Solstice with the belief that this year will be even better than the last. It's a wild time! We’re sending you ciders that both encapsulate that spring vibration and give you permission to sit back and soak it in.

CLUB COORDINATION HAND-OFF

For clarity, this is Melissa Madden writing to you. I am the Good Life Farm- Kite & String- Cider House owner, farmer, HR director, accountant, janitor, vet, horse driver, mouse chaser and chief composter. I’ve also taken over the Cider Club starting this quarter and I am DELIGHTED!  I miss the years of our Good Life Farm Spring CSA and the community that created. I see the Cider Club as a CSA in similar ways- we’re able to produce ciders just for you, and tell their story more fully. We get to stay in touch and share the ups and downs of our farm and cider life, and hear your thoughts. We get to know more about your lives and what brings you to this FLX region. I have lots of gratitude to Jenny and Sam for getting the Club going over the past year and half, and am so happy to be in a position to take it on as my other responsibilities shift here at home.

VALUING OUR FLX CIDER CULTURE

As you may know from social media, I just returned from a whirlwind trip to Spain as part of a group of cider makers, restaurateurs, journalists and cider culture activists. It was a wacky time to leave the farm and I, for one, am grateful for the slow cool spring that allowed me to enjoy that time away. I’ll be reaching out over the course of the next few months to share highlights of our explorations into Asturian and Basque cider and food culture!  In a nutshell, my greatest take-away was a refocusing on my love and respect for the cider community here in New York and particularly the Finger Lakes. We are in excellent company and will continue to make the Cider House a place where our collaborative spirit can shine.

A MOMENT IN THE LIFE OF OUR FARM

Now that I’m back, a focus on the farm! We’ve abruptly entered the spring boom period (between breaking dormancy and fruit set) when we watch the weather for scab and fireblight infection events and bite our nails waiting to get through bloom without hard frost. This is the period that tells us how it will be for the rest of the season when we shift towards managing fruit pests and diseases. This time determines the eventual harvest. We also have new trees to plant, and 1,500 trees from last year to cultivate with our horses Leo and Polly. We’ve got 4 miles of asparagus rows to walk and pick daily between May and mid-June, and we’ve got baby poultry to get ramping up for the year. We have ginger and turmeric to plant and tend, and probably a number of things I’m willfully forgetting. I will miss the baby cows this year, but I am excited to renew both my and Garrett’s focus on the orchard for 2018.

IN SUM

In celebration of all of this, we send you this May Cider Club! And if you care to join us in these oh-so-heady times, know you are welcome anytime. Most especially, come see us for Asparaganza 2018 (Saturday, May 26, 3 - 10 pm)! More info… on our website for this family friendly bonanza of fun: fingerlakesciderhouse.com.

Much love and gratitude as the days lengthen!

Melissa on behalf of the farm, cidery and tasting room crews

IMG_1610.JPG

May 2018 Club Ciders


King of Hector 2016

Apples Used: 100% wild harvested fruit from Hector, NY, harvested by Brad DeFrees and Will Seymour

Carbonation Method: Traditional Method

ABV: 8.4%

Residual Sugar: 0%

Tasting and Cider Maker Notes: Gripping acidity typical of wild seedlings and crab varieties. Slow fermentation (2 months). Hands off approach with little intervention. High acid cider aged well over the winter with beautiful aromas and unique flavor. We were excited to keep this extremely small lot separate that  season and this cider was filtered and bottled as our last traditional method product of the year.

Inspiration: King Of Hector was produced for the Cider Club only. Brad DeFrees sought out his favorite haunts in Hector in the fall of 2016, when we had an almost complete crop loss on the farm due to late frosts. He found us a great mix of acidic, tannic and aromatic fruit and brought in 20 bushels to make this limited run cider just for you!

Production: 24 cases

Pairing Suggestions: We think this cider drinks like a dry, Spanish champagne style. It is crisp, long lasting, and acidic, and embodies the heat of 2016. Drink it as a starter to open up your guests’ palates and imaginations, with light appetizers like dried fruit or with lightly fried fish or potatoes.


Rose 2017

Apples Used:  Newtown Pippin, Baldwin, Liberty, McIntosh

Carbonation Method: Charmat

ABV: 8.2%

Residual Sugars: 2.9%

TA: 6.9%

Tasting and Cider Maker Notes: A mix of sharp, high acid apples (primarily late season) blended with 18% fresh (unfermented) Riesling juice grown at Hosmer vineyards (Ovid, NY) and 10% Marechal Foch (French variety) red grape wine produced at Swedish Hill Vineyards (Romulus, NY). Put through a secondary fermentation in a closed pressurized tank and bottled at 4 volumes of carbonation pressure.

Inspiration: Blending Marechal Foch red wine from Swedish Hill with our high acid cider blend allows us to play with the wine culture of the Finger Lakes. We add in the unfermented Riesling from Hosmer to kick start the charmat fermentation and crash that halfway through to leave a residual, fruity, grassy sweetness that we think brings this Rose right home to the FLX.  

Production: 402 cases

Pairing Suggestions: This cider is super quenching and brightly fruity. It will go well with alpine style cheese, southeast Asian flavors like ginger, garlic and onion greens and lemongrass.
 


Glacial Till 2017

Apples Used:  Golden Russet, Goldrush, Porters Perfection, Dabinett, Brown Snout, Liberty, Chisel Jersey, Stoke Red, Yarlington Mill, Suncrisp, Redfield, Scarlett Ohara, Akane, Enterprise, Honeycrisp, Winecrisp, Florina

Carbonation Method: Still (no carbonation)

ABV: 9%

Return Sugars: 1%

Tasting and Cider Maker Notes: 100% estate grown fruit. Heavy Golden Russet blend with a substantial tannic backbone. Goldrush, Liberty, and Enterprise give this cider it’s acidity.

Inspiration: This was our first year of bittersweet apples coming into bearing on Good Life Farm. Since 2015 we have made one or another estate (all our own Good Life Farm fruit, 100% organic) cider as the conditions permitted- Hickok in 2015, Goldrush from 2016 and now Glacial Till for the 2017 vintage. It’s an honor to mark the growth of our farm, of our skills as farmers and understanding as cider makers, and time in general with these widely varying Good Life estate ciders.

Production: 121 cases
Pairing Suggestions:  This cider drinks like a full bodied white wine. We recommend serving at 55°F and decanting briefly, then enjoying slowly with acidic and salty flavors like a fresh cut Manchego or grated Pecorino.

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 🥂