Spring

Pin in Time April 2019

Brief Insights in the the life of the Farm-Cidery-Cider House, at this moment

By Melissa Madden, owner/doer of what is needed

Rick filtering Funkhouse April 3, 2019.jpg


Kite & String Cellar Update

2018 Vintage: filtering, final blending, bottling for secondary fermentation

Above, you see Rick heroically posing during our Funkhouse filtration. We’re filtering to build cuvees for our final bottling of champagne method ciders- sending nearly 4,500 gallons into secondary fermentation between March 13 and April 19. We won’t see those ciders again until we disgorge starting in the summer and fall. These ciders are only a part of our K&S catalog, but represent the most labor- and time- intensive blends.

Soon to be released are beloved Rose and newly re-visioned Baldwin (sparkling, dry with that strange sense of unfermentable sugar). Starting with the May Cider Club, we’ll have a limited release Pet Nat called ‘Greenman’- an ode to our designer Q Cassetti and FLX orchard advocate Peter Hoover.

For once, this year Jimmy may see some daylight in the Spring. He and Garrett reworked the cidery schedule to push bottling earlier and get Jimmy out during our crazy crunch time in May.

Coming soon… thoughts on how the 2018 vintage has shaped up. We’ve almost got a read on that!

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Cider House happenings

Busy times! This part of our business has yet to cease with surprises. As farmers, Garrett and I knew about to long days and big goals. The work of the Tasting Room has been to meld the labor of farming with the delicacy of service.

One way we celebrate this is daily- you come visit and we do our thing. Another way is more seasonally driven… for example! Coming up on Friday, April 5 we’ll have our annual cheese+cider collaboration dinner featuring Lively Run Dairy, our K&S cider and a menu to inspire from The Cheese Course (Rachel Freier and Laura Sutter).

Coming right along we continue Sunday brunches and will open up reservations for Mother’s Day Brunch by mid April.

Asparaganza is Saturday, May 26th, a cap off to the “slower” season and a welcome to the summer chaos.

We’ll be here, the releases will come out and we’ll serve ‘em. We’d love to have you and your family for lunch, brunch, tastings and flights, as ever.


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Good Life Farm, progress

Presprouting, pruning, prepping, praying

It’s time! Our first control sprays go on the peaches- in that ever present battle for dominance over the moisture-soaked NE paradigm of fungal diseases. Last year, dark and wet as the fall was, we had a glorious peach crop and we’re planning to open it to UPick again. It starts now.

Also in the good news pile- we’ve scaled back up on the ginger side. We’ve got 400# of ginger mothers presprouting in a warm, dark cabinet. They’re destined for high tunnel planting sometime in May and for all kinds of ginger-based goodness by late fall.

It looks to be a year for focus on the perennials and some specialty veg. We’re adding strawberries for 2020 UPick, cleaning up past mistakes (see below) and preparing for that turn into our 11 year. Here, we can outgrow our worn out assumptions and take the farm into a healthy adolescence. Wish us luck, and come to the harvest when it comes!

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Chronicling Spring at high speed

Loving and trying to keep up with life at Good Life Farm

Spring 2017

It happens so fast!  Throughout March we watch spring plod towards us, hoping it won't come too fast and expose us all to late, killing frosts. Simultaneously, we are HUNGRY for it!  The warmth! The absolute burst of life that is late April and May. One day you are sitting, covered in bees and thinking "oh, this is unique".  And then you are covered in everything, and possibly underwater with your task list.

And then it comes, very suddenly.  And absolute all at once. Bloom begins in the peaches, spreads to the crabs and continues in perfect succession through the orchard.  We are blessed at this point in the 2017 orchard season to see fruit in our future, as a deep balm to the huge losses of 2016. And we are challenged to keep up!

This past week we got through orchard set up and started planting our 1500+ dwarf orchard alongside and in between the past 8 years of long-lived, slow growing semi-dwarfs. 

We also chased cows around, and got them onto pasture!  Huzzah- calving season can begin!

Asparagus popped up, we'll be a-pickin' starting Saturday and every day til June!

And always trying to take time to admire and appreciate this frantic, fleeting season. 

The Orchard Year Opens With A Bang!

This year can be said to be a watermark for Good Life Farm, home of Finger Lakes cider House. Each year since 2009 we've planted up to 300 semi-dwarf trees, but this year we're acknowledging several things, notably that we need higher production for GLC cider. So while we continue to grow out our 1,500+ large trees, this year we'll be popping in 800 dwarf trees and trellising them all with Good Life-grown, -horse logged and -hand hewn locust posts. Here's to calories! 

So while we continue to grow out our 1,500+ large trees, this year we'll be popping in 800 dwarf trees and trellising them all with Good Life-grown, -horse logged and -hand hewn locust posts. Here's to the calories that keep us all going!

Good Life Farm May: Appreciation and Chaos!

MUSINGS ON THE ROLE OF THE FARM


This morning was an excellent reminder of the way the work of farming balances the energy needed for the Cider House.  Each morning, I start with animal chores- visiting cows, horses, geese, dogs, and soon, back to turkeys.  This morning was a chaotic and distracted start and when I got to the boy band of bull/steers, I was flying.  The cows move each morning to fresh pasture, from which they are only separated by a single strand electric fence.  Today I dropped the line off the charger, let it down to the ground and lazily started rolling it up.  Any anxious cow could easily hop this dropped line, and in the process learn a new and destructive trick.  My bad, entirely.  I was, however, offered forgiveness by the cows themselves, in the form of Jed the bull.  Jed followed me up and down the dropped, dead line, all the while staying on his side.  When I made a very small corridor free of fence line he gently walked up to it, waited for me to move, and cheerfully moosey-ed onto the new grass.  It wasn't dramatic, just patient, but it created a moment of stillness and peace, and things seemed more clear afterwards. These moments are somewhat unpredictable, but in some ways, are more so every day.  They are created by choosing good genetics, fully providing for the animals and maintaining constant contact.  As my role in the Cider House changes, I find that morning chores are an essential grounding in the truth and vision of what we're nurturing at this place, in this time.

Good Life CSA+ Reckoning

An Update for past Good Life Spring CSA members!

I write in the midst of a truly weird spring full of jump starts and jolting stops, weather-wise.  Possibly this is how the Spring CSA communication has seemed to go as well, and I want to reach out and explain ourselves :)

Good Life CSA Summary

We decided not to run the Spring CSA this year, as I am sure you've surmised.  We tried an experiment back at the beginning of March (deliveries March 9 to be exact).  That experiment is about loading up the van with a whole lot of food to fill your larder and pay for free delivery/staff time.  It was successful!  And as we move towards our grassfed beef herd producing more, we're going to look to this bulk buying model for meat, fruit to keep our relationships with you intact.

For us, the March 9th experiment worked, and that those of you who ordered enjoyed the mix of larder supplies and CSA+ add-on's.  We would like to continue to work with our CSA+ Kindred Farms to offer that full diet range of preem-o FLX food, raised in a way we are sure of and can pass along to you. 

Why no Spring CSA?

I think we've talked about the relative expense of running a Spring CSA versus the Summer/Winter CSA models.  By committing to fresh Spring vegetables in the share, rather than stored roots, we felt we were filling an important niche in the local food scene.  However, most of those crops take 3-5x longer to get to harvest size than they would during the May-November growing season.  We found it difficult to charge for the CSA package accordingly and to fill the shares to a point we felt comfortable, thus finding the Spring CSA a challenging economic model.  From 2011-215 we tweaked and tweaked, but this year needed to take a step back to find what will really sustain the Good Life Farm on its path.

We still value, very much, our connection to you and your family.

We hope you will stay in touch with us!  Thanks to the Cider House, there are a lot of ways to do so!  Come out for a Friday night date, come taste on the weekends, come to Asparaganza!  (PLEASE come to Asparaganza on May 28th!  More Info Here)

More info on our next Bulk Delivery will go out over email, social media and will be posted here!

Welcoming the New Year starts in the Spring

Awake Ye Good Life!

Welcome to Jax.  Born sometime before 9:30am on Thursday, March 31st, 2016.

Mama Sparky, a wonderful, experienced mama cow, had a smooth birth.  She is always first to bear, in our experience with her.  She came to us from dear friends the Chezoys at Angus Glen Farms and has given us Magda and Jax. 

Sparky's first tasks as a mama: lick baby clean, ensure good nursing.  Assist baby to hide in tall grass or brush.  Protect from curious 1 yr old calves and the farmer with the Selenium shot.  Lick again. 

This also marks a moment in time for Jed (Jedidiah of Hector).  He was a bottle-fed baby at Kathy
Engel's RK Farms before she absconded to Nebraska.  Jed is now a real bull, able to breed, but sweet and friendly in a way no one expects a bull to be.

Jax is a month earlier than we usually prefer to see calving.  We like to do it on full pasture.  Jed was not of the waiting mind back in the 2015 summer, and routinely hopped the fences separating him from the lady herd.  So, Jax.  Last day of March.  Welcome sweet one!