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Finger Lakes Cider Scene

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Eric Schatt of Redbyrd Cider. PHOTO: Matt Kelly

The amber color and crisp acidity of cider encompass some of the best aspects of the fall season for many New York State residents—including in the Finger Lakes. And there are countless hardworking individuals behind its careful creation. In the Finger Lakes region, the landscape, shaped by the Laurentide ice sheet that rescinded around 20,000 years ago, and a more moderate climate help foster excellent heirloom and European cider apples. 

Hard cider’s history stems back to Colonial America when apples were often planted and their juice fermented. This beverage was seen as safer to drink than the water supply at the time and it has continued to grow in popularity. In the Finger Lakes region, the Iroquois Native Americans became skilled at growing European fruits such as apples and peaches, but their orchards were burned to the ground in a ruthless payback campaign in 1779 that forced natives away from their crops and communities.

Today, many of the region’s best ciders are made from high-quality, estate-grown fruits. Thanks to the dedication of early agriculture pioneers and generations of apple growers in the area, the region’s cider scene continues to thrive. And this product packed with local pride is the center of many local stories as Edible Finger Lake’s years of cider coverage has shown. 

In 2011, the Glynwood Center for Regional Food and Farming created a week of festivities to celebrate the state’s hard cider and to help connect trade professionals to farm-based cider producers. Called Cider Week, the New York Cider Association now puts on the event which involves cider makers across New York State—including those that Edible Finger Lakes has featured. In 2020, Cider Week Finger Lakes features both in-person and virtual events, including orchard tours, cider tastings, and chef pairings, from Friday, Oct. 2 to Sunday, Oct. 11. To learn more visit www.ciderweekflx.com

(Sources: Edible Manhattan, The State of Cider; Wines of the Season: Finger Lakes Cider)

A cider flight from Interlaken’s Finger Lakes Cider House at Good Life Farm. PHOTO: Jason Koski

Cider Based Recipes:

Slow-Cooked Ham with Cider Gravy

Roasted Beets with Cider Dressing

Roasted Boneless Pork Loin with Apples, Cider, and Mustard

Steve Selin of South HIll Cider. PHOTO: Chelsea Fausel

Cider Related Stories: 

My Vineyard Year

The Apple Collector

Cider at the Table

Cider + Dinner Pairings from Steve at South Hill Cider

Wine of the Week: RedByrd Orchard’s Starblossom Cider

Mark Grimaldi: Pairing Cider with Food

Wines of the Season: Finger Lakes Cider

Daring Drake Farm and Blackduck Cidery

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