Cider House staff

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!

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.


Autumn's Orchard Cider Manifesto

Post View of 'Taste the Orchard in Your Glass' Workshop here on 8/16/16...

Autumn's Orchard Cider Manifesto

by Autumn Stoscheck, 2016

Contained within the apple is the potential to express both the characteristics of the varieties used, and the characteristics of the land they were grown on.  In this way, cider can be to apples what wine is to grapes, which is to say infinitely complex and varied within the frame work of a defined set of variables, such as variety, soil, and climate.

In order for a cider to be reflective of the fruit, it should use apples intentionally; both in the varieties used and the way the fruit is grown.  The cider making process should gently guide the fruit to cider, without leaving such a big hand print that the makers mark obscures the fruit characteristics.  It should also be a process of working with the fruit of the season rather than sourcing ingredients to meet the requirements of a formula.  The cider maker should be flexible and evolving. 

The discipline is about discovery and expressing what's available in the fruit, therefore flavors that obscure the fruit should be avoided.  These include: microbiological flavors that overwhelm of detract from the fruit, adjuncts that flavor the beverage like a tea or beer, and additives or processes used to stabilize the cider that diminish, detract or obscure the fruit.

The intention is to keep working with the fruit and discovering it's potential, including understanding the characteristics of different cider varieties and how they like to be grown and fermented.  As well, we are committed to building up our own, and a local, supply of true cider fruit so as to create a world in which it becomes apparent to cider-makers and drinkers the characteristics the place brings to cider.



Want to join our team?

We are hiring now for a few slots... read on and contact Melissa!

The Cider House team is gearing up for the busy busy season and we are looking for you! 

Take this quiz!  And then proceed...

  • Will you have minimum 10 hr week every week til December (barring 2 weeks notice for days off)?
  • Can you commit to subbing at least once a month (be flexible)?
  • Do you want to wait on people?
  • Do you want to learn a LOT about cider?
  • Do you have at least 2 years experience in customer service?
  • Are you interested in learning more about agriculture?
  • Are you over 21?

If yes, here's let's talk!

Email Melissa, and please include your resume!


Your Feedback Wanted!

A Year In, Some Changes...

Farmers have the reputation of being able to do a little of everything. We've generously borrowed from that assumption in the past year of running the tasting room and restaurant. But we need to know: How are we doing? *Email Melissa your thoughts! * What do you think about table service on Friday nights? Mother's Day brunch and craft market? Le nouveau Creperie? Anything else?

Comments gratefully accepted and feedback valued!

Excited for the 2016 Season to Break Open!

Reporting on the state of constant change here at FLCH

Likely if you were here for dinner last Friday (April 22nd), you noticed one of the many changes on tap in the Cider House.  We introduced table service, as opposed to our former "pub style" service where one wrestled to the bar to order.  Over the past year, we've come to terms with the melding of Tasting Room-Bar and Restaurant, and are more ready to live up to it... largely by dealing with seemingly mundane details like how to submit orders to the chef.

As said by one of our new staff members when interviewing for the Cider House " seemed like farmers trying to figure out how to do hospitality."

Yup.  Let's not pretend it wasn't.  But hear ye, hear ye, we are up to the Challenge!  After being blessedly overrun all last season, we took the winter to reconsider and revamp.  And now, we're introducing Table Service, a new menu pending, a fantastic executive chef, and an expanded, super talented staff.

Meet our staff- tireless veterans and earnest new hires

Gratitude floweth from Garrett and myself (Melissa) to those who've now put in a full year with us and are signed up for another!  They know... it all.  And we welcome with such open arms... 6 new staff to bring us to a total of 15 Finger Lakes Cider House/Good Life Farmers.  Whew!  Introducing in order of time spent working here, and with titles as requested by the staff (spice added by us):

  • Jimmy (co-Cider Maker, Good Life Cider)
  • Teddy (distro/housemade pickles et al/assistant bookkeeper)
  • Matt (GLF High Tunnel Manager/Farm Assistant/Music Booking/Sign Artist)
  • Brud Holland (consulting Exec. Chef/chef @ Fox Run/Finger Lakes Made owner-chef)
  • Chris (Tasting Bar staff/Black Diamond assistant Cider Maker/orchardist/nursery-man)
  • Alexis (erstwhile Tasting Bar sub/nursery-woman/Black Diamond crew)
  • Silene (Tasting Bar staff/potter for whatever Cider House asks/singer)
  • Audrey (wandering artist/Char and Cheese Board Monger/Tasting Bar staff)
  • Adriana (Tasting Bar,but sadly, graduating and cutting out/dog lover)
  • Joseph (Tasting Bar/soil scientist going to PSU/farmer)
  • Brad (conversation mapper/Tasting Bar/watercolor artist)
  • Hannah (Tasting Bar staff/forage guide/yogi)
  • Jenny (massage therapist-in-training/Tasting Bar/gets stuck on dishes)
  • Hope (frequent sub in Tasting Bar/multi tasker extraordinaire/fiddler)
  • Valerie (new FLCH cook/Tasting Bar on occasion/engaged!)
Conversation mapping about Customer and Staff Communication

Conversation mapping about Customer and Staff Communication

Our first Spring 2016 all-staff training was last night, Wednesday.  Herein follows a tiny photo diary of the conversation maps (re: touchy feely problem solving with results) and trainings by all 5 of our collaborating cideries: Good Life Cider, Black Diamond Cider, Redbyrd Orchard Cider, Eve's Cidery and South Hill Cider.

Eric Shatt of  Redbyrd Orchard Cider  tasting out Workman Dry, Starblossom and Workman Semi-Dry.

Eric Shatt of Redbyrd Orchard Cider tasting out Workman Dry, Starblossom and Workman Semi-Dry.

Garrett and Jimmy barrel-tasting  Good Life Cider's  current and to-be-released

Garrett and Jimmy barrel-tasting Good Life Cider's current and to-be-released

Steve and Ellyn of  South Hill Cider  pouring the whole catalog to date

Steve and Ellyn of South Hill Cider pouring the whole catalog to date

Jackie and Ian of  Black Diamond Cider  making it fun!

Jackie and Ian of Black Diamond Cider making it fun!

And to be comprehensive... new hires on the Good Life Farm.

Jonathan, first calf for Forest (red mama).  Calf 3 of 6 this year for  Good Life Farm

Jonathan, first calf for Forest (red mama).  Calf 3 of 6 this year for Good Life Farm