Current Research Project - Seeking Contributors
Old Orchards and Cider Mills of the Finger Lakes
New interest in craft cider-making has increased interest in fruit trees and old apple varieties and has brought people in the Finger Lakes back into contact with the remnants of the orchard landscapes that characterized farmsteads of another era. As agricultural practices change, it is not just buildings like old barns that begin to fall into disuse. How have orchards survived as living remnants of our local agricultural heritage? How are people re-engaging with this landscape? What skills are they applying to salvage and maintain old orchards? And what has happened to the cider mills that used to press the apples from all these old orchards?
Research Questions on Old Orchards – Can YOU Contribute Answers?
- How did you come into contact with the old trees you now use and maintain?
- Do you know anything about the history of the orchard, how it was used in the past, or how it fell into disuse?
- What maintenance practices (pruning and otherwise) have you taken to bring the orchard or trees back into productive use?
- How do you imagine the future of the trees or orchards going forward? Do you use them for cider? Do you see changes in land use or public perception of these landscapes?
Research Question on Old Cider Mills – Do YOU Have Memories to Share?
- Where and how did you get your apples milled and pressed? At home? At a local mill?
- Do you remember visiting old cider mills that are now closed – such as States Cider Mill in Odessa? What were these places like?
- How has the closure of many small presses due to pasteurization laws affected your ability to make fresh or fermented cider? Has it changed a local tradition?