community

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

More on Pioneer Pippin, from an expert

unnamed (3).jpg

Pioneer Pippin, a new Governor’s Cup for Cider and some words on our industry

Courtesy of Mark Grimaldi, owner+founder

The Cellar d’Or Wine and Cider Shop, Ithaca NY

from his August 16,2018 e-newsletter discussion of the first New York Wine Classic to include a Governor’s Cup for Cider

Last week, I was invited to be a judge for New York State's premier wine competition, The Governor's Cup from The NY Wine Classic, where hundreds of wineries submit close to 1000 wines for judging.  This year, they added cider to the competition, which myself and cider guru Dan Pucci (formerly of the cider bar Wassail in NYC) were responsible for judging.  I've never really cared much for what it meant for wineries to be given these bronze, silver, and gold medals in the past.  Sure, it means something, and garnering the best of anything in NYS deserves praise. But, you can literally go to some of the worst wineries in NYS and see dozens and dozens of medals adorning empty wine bottles along their walls, so I never really took it seriously.  This year though, the organization had done some major reorganizing and brought in fresh faces to not only run the NY Wine organization, but the judges were all fresh faces as well.  I sat amongst all types of serious wine people, from all different parts of the business--from Masters of WIne, Certified Somms, wine buyers, wine writers, winemakers, consultants--to say that these were serious judges with serious palates would be an understatement.  A far cry from what I had heard about the old guard of judges.  I didn't know I would be also judging ciders in addition to wine until after I sat down with my group. I was beyond excited that they were letting me judge the ciders, and looking back, they had made a good decision by doing that, being that I have tasted hundreds and hundreds of ciders here since The Cellar d'Or's inception five years ago, I would be able to give a better go at it than most people there since not many have had access or devoted as much time to cider as we have here.

Cider Coming Into Its Own


There were 8 flights of ciders, 71 ciders in total.  The range was broad, but they had it broken down into 3 categories--"heritage", "modern". and "Specialty".  Obviously, heritage was going to be the more serious ciders, made mostly from heirloom, wild, or heritage apples, without any other fruits or flavorings.  When we got into modern and specialty ciders we saw a lot hopped, fruited, overly sweet, barrel aged, and lots of ciders that were delicious but made for the mass market.  There were serious ciders in there too--Pommeaus, ice ciders, high-quality barrel aged and fruited ciders for sure. We gave some golds and some double golds out to some of them.  But going back to the Heritage ciders, it was clear that this is where the most serious and complex ciders were. 

The final round of judging came down to the best from each category that we had all unanimously decided to push through to the Governor's Cup final.  It was hard to pick the winner of the Heritage round, and it came down to almost a toss-up between two, but in the end, we thought that Kite & String's Pioneer Pippin was the best cider entered into the competition, followed very closely by Black Diamond's "Hickster".  We only sent two ciders through to the cup round from the "best of modern" flight, which was Angry Orchard's Baldwin and Meral House's Oro d'Oro--both of these ciders were excellent!

Notes on our (K&S) Pioneer Pippin


Today, I want to focus on the Pioneer Pippin from Kite & String. You may know them from their organic farm, known as Good Life Farm, where they farm organically, plow by draft horse, and ethically raise animals and the most amazing fruits and vegetables. Or you may know them from their local cider-only tasting room named The Finger Lakes Cider house, that is the default tasting room for their own ciders, as well as Eve's Cidery, Redbyrd Cider, and Black Diamond Farm.  The Pioneer Pippin is an exquisite cider, and one of the reasons it won best cider was it's sheer beauty.  The aromatics alone were something more associated with a white wine, or some sort of flower-infused tincture, tinged with herbs, yellow tropical fruits, and even a hint of spice.  None of the other ciders had these aromas, and in my years of tasting cider, not many have smelled as beautiful as this one ( and when they do, they are from the Finger Lakes!).  While many heirloom apple based ciders boast a wild, rough, edgy, funky side--with many cidermakers desiring to have a rustic side to their ciders, Kite & String boasted a clean. pure, pretty side of cider.  On the palate, it has a ripeness, with more yellow fruits coming through, but the magic of this cider, besides for the aromas, are its racy acidity and minerality and how it interplays with the slight bit of residual sugar (it's just a hair bone dry) it has.  I love a slight residual sugar when there is high acid, it gives you that mouthwatering sweet-tart sensation, and I really only pick that up to this degree in good German Feinherb Riesling.  The bubbles are also superb, as this is a hand-disgorged, Champagne method cider. 

If you're a cider lover, or a wine lover who just hasn't found cider that interesting--this may be the one to try.  The ciders from our region here in the finger lakes, are proving to be some of the most exciting in the world.


How to get Pioneer Pippin

You can always shop with us! Our Cider Club featured Pioneer Pippin in August (still shipping til mid October when we change over to the new quarter). We also ship all our ciders to over 35 states!

ORDER CIDER OR JOIN OUR CIDER CLUB

We want to share our gratitude especially to Mark and The Cellar d’Or for their long-time support of FLX orchard cider. The Cellar d’Or has an exquiste cider club which features ciders from around the world mixed with the best of our region.

MORE INFO ON THE CELLAR D’OR AND THEIR CIDER CLUB

winning the governor's cup.jpg

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

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!

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 🥂

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