All Hail the Most Important Person in the County; News of the Farm Stand’s Hibernation.

THERE ARE LOTS of hardworking folks here in farm country.  And like Farmer Steve says, whoever is working on the farm RIGHT NOW is doing the most important work of all.  Yes, we are all important people doing important work.

1-IMG_4871But none of us will ever measure up, if you believe this old thing hanging in the County Planner’s office.  You can try til you are periwinkle in the face and you still won’t top this fellow.  How does that make you feel?

3-IMG_5088Farmer Tino isn’t one to say much about stuff like that.  Just keeps on working.  He’s more the type to sing you a song.

4-IMG_4935You can hear him play LIVE this Saturday night at the Silver Line Tap Room in Trumansburg.  February 7 at 7 PM.

Get your exclusive sneak preview by listening to this YouTube of his live gig on WVBR FM, “The Salt Creek Show.”

5-IMG_4868If you follow that old map in the Planner’s Office, you’ll find Indian Creek just past the orphanage… now the School of Massage.

6-IMG_4860When you get here, you’ll find it pretty quiet and snowy.  The farm stand is closed for the winter — all sold out of apples and cider.

7-IMG_5104But please do come out to ski or hike.  Some folks have been out this week just trekking around the orchards.

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Say hello if you see us, or ignore us as you like.  Ski right on through.  That’s something old Ezra can’t do.

9-IMG_5111Happy winter and hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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An Epic Farm Fail, and a Winter Lesson in Winning.

LIFE IS NOT a zero-sum game, but when somebody messes up, you can usually seize the chance to profit from their blunder.  “Outrageous!” you cry.  “Repugnant!”  Maybe.  But, still.

1-IMG_4764Last week all 3,000 of you messed up.  All except one—the lady who seized the day.  Yes, the nice person in this picture was THE ONLY FARM FAN to answer our 2015 Call for Ideas.  We were so moved by her earnestness, while the rest of you were being too cool for school and just totally messing up, that we awarded her a bottle of Kingston Black hard cider from our chums at Eve’s Cidery.  As luck would have it, she had answered “hard cider” to all of the questions.

4-P1040288You really have no ideas to send?  That means there is nothing to improve on the farm.  You want 2015 to be just as dubious and discombobulated as 2014.  You want the dogs to be just as fruitless.  You want the signage to be even less helpful…

1-IMG_4417Thing is, you really should send ideas.  We try to come up with ideas on our own, like ibuprofen toothpaste and eco-friendly cider fracking.  But these have long R&D times.  Can’t you bring us back to earth with practible suggestions?

spiralSpeaking of earth-n-space, behold this apple spiral.  It had pride of place at the Solstice Party of farm fan Wendy.  Those are her kids being the “Starry Guides.”

appelsThey used mutsus for candleholders.  The next day, apple crisps!  Go Team Locavore.  Winning.

1-IMG_4852We still have mutsus.  Still pressing cider.  Still open.  The little farm stand that could.  Apples and cider.  That’s about it.  But every visit helps.  A few bucks here and there is better than zero bucks everywhere.

3-IMG_4863Thanks for reading and sending your ideas.  We won’t email every week through the winter—just here and there to keep in touch.

3-P1040450You can come out to the farm any day.  Ski around.  Hike around.  Whatever.  The views are long with the foliage down.

Some of the sights are mesmerizing.  Watch this intrepid soul.  Take heart!  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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Farm Year in Photos:  Your Local Food Zeal Means The ‘Creek is Rising.

DEAR FARMKETEERS, you ate everything we grew in 2014.  It was our best year ever.  That’s the good news.

The bad news:  Now the bar is set really high.  In 2015, how will we top the worldwide debut of the Indian Creek theme song?

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How can we top the new playground, with swingset and sandbox and tractor fort?  Got ideas for 2015?  Send ‘em here.
mustuTo spark your ideas, you can see all 39 crop alerts from 2014 on the news page.  Here are a few highlights.  Spring kicked off with inspiring crayon masterpieces from local schoolkids.

racismThe strawberries were inspiring, too, echoing the message of diversity that World Cup stars were promoting.

razWe opened a brand new raspberry field, and launched an educational campaign about how to pick them ripe.

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By August, you were picking the first vegetables, plus early peaches and Yellow Transparent apples.

impeachSoon the cynicism of American politics reared its pointed, eyeless head—but we heard a message of hope nonetheless.

shineWhen Mac season began, we revealed one of our biggest marketing secrets.  We never said farming was rocket science.

1-IMG_3194Ithaca’s Orchard Playground reached Version 3.0 just in time for its autumn debut.

shirt The 3rd Annual Pigs-n-Apples Party was upon us—with new farm shirts to boot.  At least 1,000 people shared the day with us.

2-IMG_3694Deep fall brought pumpkins and sprouts to the farm.  After Halloween, diehard fans kept the stand going.

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Then winter happened.  Enough said about that.  Thanks for being farmy.  Hope your new year is off to a halfway decent start.

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Once Upon a Time in Agrarian America, Homemade Apple Cider Was the “Default Buzz.”

DEAR ‘CREEKERS, happy almost new year.  We are still open every day.  You can get cider, apples, and squash.  Sprouts are dwindling.  And now for a wee history lesson from our winter reading, Apples of Uncommon Character by Rowan Jacobsen.

1-IMG_4664“Apple culture was a huge part of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American life.  There were few national apples, but endless regional ones, each adapted to the local climate and needs.  Each one had been propagated because it did something superb.  Some came ripe in July, some in November.  Some held their shape in pies.  Some started off hard and sour, but sweetened outrageously after a few months in a root cellar.  Some had red flesh so full of tannins that eating one was like biting into a bar of soap, but if you pressed it and let the juice ferment in your basement all winter, it produced a dry, fragrant cider—the default buzz of agrarian America.”

2-IMG_4665 Henry Ward Beecher—the celebrated New York minister, abolitionist, and bro’ of Stowe—described a typical home cellar of the mid-1800s:  “On the east side stood a row of cider barrels; for twelve or twenty barrels of cider were a fit provision for the year, and what was not consumed for drink was expected duly to turn into vinegar, and was then exalted to certain hogsheads kept for the purpose.  But along the middle of the cellar were the apple-bins; and when the season had been propitious, there were stores and heaps of Russets, Greenings, Seeknofurthers, Pearmains, Gilliflowers, Spitzenburgs, and many besides, nameless, but not virtueless.”

ciderMost of you Creekers know that you can find these strange apples—over 75 varieties, in fact—in our Dwarf Orchard.  You know you can become a DIY moonshiner by bringing your carboys to get filled with Ambrosia.  And you know you can order some of the best hard ciders in America from our friends at Eve’s Cidery.  Yes, folks, cider is here in a big way.  It’s the new craft beer—almost.  Check out the infographic.

6-IMG_4681In other farm news, this fabulous painting of our old blue Ford tractor, by the Boston architect John Rufo, just appeared on the cover of Cornell’s literary magazine, Epoch.  Suddenly our whole ramshackle operation feels dignified.

4-IMG_4554Speaking of the Ivy League, millions of readers have been asking about the glassware pictured at the top of this Crop Alert.  The red and green glasses were blown by a Harvard astrophysicist especially for extracting the optimal flavor profile from unpasteurized cider.  Heady stuff.  Meanwhile, back on earth, these are the last sprouts in the field.  They’ll be gone by the time you get this message.  Stop by anyway.  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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Fresh-Spilled Xmas Cider, 3 Words About Mutsus, and 2 Gifts for the Apple of Your Eye.

YESTERDAY THE GANG shipped out heaps of Apple Gift Boxes.  Each box will go over the river and through the woods, carrying 18 tasty Finger Lakes fruits toward an apple-friendly home somewhere across our country tis-of-thee.

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Meanwhile, the Cidermeister is pressing her weekly batch of Ambrosia.  She will promptly spill it all over the bottles, and the bottles will go on display for your immediate consumption.

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That’s how you know it’s fresh—the labels are freshly mucked.  This is no mechanized factory.  This is your local spillery.

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Last press before Xmas.  Come get yours.  (Sorry, the Cidermeister’s identity will remain secret for yet another week.)

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Got a new book:  Apples of Uncommon Character by Rowan Jacobsen.  It was a gift from our friend at the Finger Lakes Land Trust.  They are a cool organization.  Their mission is, “To conserve forever the lands and waters of the Finger Lakes region, ensuring scenic vistas, local foods, clean water, and wild places for everyone.”  They protect farms, forests, gorges, wetlands, and lakeshores—over 16,000 acres so far.

5-IMG_4548Let’s have a look inside.  On page 79, we find an apt description of Mutsu:  “monolithic green behemoth.”  It continues, “Like the Incredible Hulk, Mutsu is huge, green, and strangely lovable.  That massive bulk hides a sweet demeanor.  You wouldn’t call it complex, but Mutsu is reliably great.  You are guaranteed a joyous crunch fest…”

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We got lots of Mutsus still.  And big ones.  “Famously good fresh, but equally excellent in pies.”

7-IMG_4514You can get Mutsu bushels with a phone call.  Otherwise, the stand is stocked with value bags.  Plenty of sauce-grade Macs, too.

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You can also get QUASH and B RU SSS SPROUT S every day.  If you need a gift for your favorite local foodie, help them geek out on the harvest with Apples of Uncommon Character.  And if you want to connect them to the land on another level, get them a gift membership to the Finger Lakes Land Trust.  You can join, too, and help save our region from unchecked development.  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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Nudity in the Orchard, Foul-Weather Friends, and Our Drive for Five.

IT’S PRETTY SIMPLE:  You got local foodies and local foodists.  The foodies talk the talk.  They yammer on about parsnips and capons.  But local foodists, they simply eat lots of stuff from local farms.  Part of their daily routine.  Come heck or high snow.

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We love our farmie foodists.  They are foul-weather friends.  They shop here in a blizzard with a crooked smile.

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They are not scared off by farmers in coverups.  They are on a mission.  They will have their fruits and vegetables.

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They come for the fresh, unpasteurized, verrrry cold cider each week.  Plus apples, sprouts, and squash.

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Yes, the stand is open every day—indoors now—no matter how forlorn it looks from the road.  Self-serve all day.

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Five customers a day—that’s our goal.  “Drive for Five.”  Even 50 bucks a day in winter helps sustain a small farm.

07-IMG_4460So come all ye foul-weathered friends and see mass nudity in the orchards.  The fruit trees are naked.

08-IMG_4464You can see their spindly limbs and structural sinews.  Pretty marvelous, just standing there all winter.

09-IMG_4451The playground is open daily.  A snowfort with lookout tower, hidden room, and climbing wall.  Ski in, ski out.

10-IMG_4459The snowbox awaits your youngsters.  Really, come up here, get outside, bring a thermos of hot choc.

11-IMG_4469We’re as ready for winter as we’ll ever be.  When old apple trees die, they make the best wood for the stove.

12-IMG_4473Peaches the Piano sends you holiday greetings.  “O when the black keys turn white…,” you know the song.

13-IMG_4475Thank you for supporting local farms.  Almost forgot, you can still bring your carboys to make hard cider.  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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How to Be a Winter Farmie, How to Compute Your Sprouts, and What is a “Carboy,” Anyway?

YOU DESERVE a local food commendation if you shop at the farm in December.  (Trophies are reserved for January diehards.)  Come get apples, sprouts, and squash.  Bulk cider is only $5 a gallon.

1-IMG_4192You got the run of the place in winter.  Your visits bolster us against the off-season slump and fortify us for spring planting.

2-IMG_4199The farm is kind of nice in winter.  Good for you city slickers to see.  The sandbox becomes a snowbox.

3-IMG_4216You can still get a dozen varieties of apples, from the ordinary Mac to the extraordinary Ashmead’s Kernel.

4-IMG_4225BIG CIDER SALE:  You can drop off your carboys and we will fill them at our Friday pressings for $6/gallon—and only $5/gallon if you get 20 gallons or more!  Send an email to cumminsnursery@gmail.com with your phone number, how many gallons, and which Friday you want to have your carboys filled.  The rest of you can still buy gallons and half-gallons of Orchard Ambrosia every day of the week.

IMG_4229What is a carboy?  It’s a big jug for making hard country hooch.  Some carboys have fun-looking science stuff attached.  In The Sign of the Four, Sherlock Holmes said to Watson, “You can see the outline of his small foot here at the side of this evil-smelling mess.  The CARBOY has been cracked, you see, and the stuff has leaked out.”

IMG_4230The word carboy comes from the Persian, karaba, which is defined as a large glass flagon.  Great, so now we have to look up “flagon.”  A flagon is a large bottle in which wine or cider is sold.  Thus, carboy, flagon, demijohn… they all mean bottle.  Bring yours.

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For our next lesson, we move from Persia to Greece.  As always, we have consulted the ancients when devising our pricing model.  Pythagoras taught us the “right” approach to Brussels Sprouts:  3-4-5.  For a family of four, we recommend the hypotenuse.

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If that blows your mind, or if you find the stalks “too real,” grab the $2 option.  Pre-stripped and ready for your wok.

5-IMG_4232The family that squashes together, sloshes together.  WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?

6-IMG_4234Everyone is like, “BOOOORING, what am I supposed to do with these little squash?”  Well, did you know that farmers use acorn squash in place of bobbleheads and snowglobes?  Try one on your desk at work.  They are very calming.  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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Local Thanksgiving Supplies, a Big Cider “Carboy” Sale, and Hard Cider Home Delivery.

HI, FARMIES!  Just a quick reminder that the farm stand is OPEN.  We are committed to being your eleventh-hour source of farm-fresh holiday victuals.  To wit: apples, sprouts, cider, and squash.

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Everyone is going to bumrush the place when we say this, but we still have honeycrisp.  Get them now or next September.

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We’re not making the pie for you.  It’s not called Indian Creek Bakery.  We just grow the stuff.  But apple pie is easy as… pie.

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Show up at dinner with a stalk of sprouts (many people have never seen one) and you can be all like, “Yeah, I know about farming.”

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As always, we are transcending our hillbilly instincts and keeping up appearances on the front porch.  Blue leather loveseat.

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Let the Ambrosia flow-zha!  The spirit of Thanksgiving is the bounty of the harvest.  Grown, ground, and pressed right here.

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BIG CIDER SALE:  You can drop off your 5-gallon carboys at the farm and we will fill them at our Friday pressings for $6/gallon — and only $5/gallon if you get 20 gallons or more!  Send an email to cumminsnursery@gmail.com with your phone number, how many gallons, and which Friday you want to have your carboys filled.

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Our squashes sit off to the side of everything but they want to be taken home just as much as the apples and sprouts.

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This is what we call a “selfie.”  The stand is in self-serve mode.  Do a selfie by leaving cash in the box.

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To optimize your experience, we are piping happy shopper tunes into the store, along with extra oxygen like the casinos.

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Well, that’s the dope.  Speaking of dope, we don’t make our own hard cider but you can order bottles for delivery from our fellow orchard-keepers at Eve’s Cidery.  It won’t be there by Thanksgiving because they don’t have drone delivery yet.  Maybe next year.  Happy Holidays from The ‘Creek.

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A Call to Action for Farm Fans: Get America’s Best Hard Ciders Online from Our Friends’ Local Orchard.

PRETTY SLOW news day on the farm, so this week we start with big news from our old friends at Eve’s Cidery:  You can now buy their amazing hard cider online for home delivery!  What a perfect holiday gift for foodies.  This stuff is no joke.

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A glowing review in Cider Journal recently asked, “Is This the Best Cidery in America?” and continued that Eve’s ciders are “…among the very best in the United States and perhaps the best collection of ciders from any one producer.”  Holy crapple!

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We go way back with Autumn and Ezra.  They are mild-mannered folks, but they get a sparkle in their eyes when they talk about cider.

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They also get sparkling cider in their eyes, unless they put on zombie gear.  Give their bubbly nectar a whirl.

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These mad scientists use refractometers to measure soluble solids.  Their apples grow on trees that were nurseried at Indian Creek.

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And they have an amazing vintage in the bottle.  For the first time ever, you can order their ciders online for home delivery.  That’s our call to action:  Go to their little online store and help them move this stellar crop.  Save 20% when you buy a case of mixed bottles that you choose.  Or create your own 6-pack, 3-pack, or 2-pack.  Every penny will go straight to a small family farm right here in the Finger Lakes.

Winter at The ‘Creek.

{ The store has moved indoors. }

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Back on the farm, we have moved indoors for the winter.  You can still get apples, sprouts, squash, and fresh (soft) cider.
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We’re stocking a dozen varieties of apple while they last.  Last chance to “branch” out and try new varieties.

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Pressing fresh Orchard Ambrosia every week.  It is crisp and delicious, with it’s most complex flavor this time of year.

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Swings are empty, swinging in the wind.  You are welcome to come up any time for a romp around the grounds.

5-IMG_4122As always, we have the region’s best selection of dead flowers at bargain basement prices.  Zero dollars.  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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Last Call — Thanksgiving Apple Boxes, Magnetic Farm Poetry, and What’s Left in the Orchards?

DEAR APPLE NUTS, it is going to be minus 50,000 degrees soon, so consider this your official farmer’s warning:  Come treasure hunting now for the last u-pick apples. 1-IMG_4025 All that’s left in the orchards is a smattering of Rome Beauty and Red Delicious.  Find trees with blue ribbons. 2-IMG_4019 You can also venture up to the sprout field, where you will find lopping instructions in farm-style magnetic poetry:  It is screwed on, you can’t move it, and it’s not funny. 3-IMG_4030 Meanwhile, down at the stand, we are not going gently into that dark night.  We’re still kicking and screaming and hawking our apples. 4-IMG_4032 We’re still squawking about our pears and sprouts and squash and cider.  We’re not scared of some dumb old Polar Vortex. 5-IMG_4041 Thing is, we’ve shifted to self-serve mode.  You can find what you like, weigh it on the scale, and drop cash in the chute. 1-IMG_4042 We’ll be shuffling stuff inside soon.  If the porch looks empty, just come in the double doors to find goodies.

Order Now for Thanksgiving.

{ And proof from above. }

1-P1210199 And now for the big news… Same as last week:  Local Apple Gift BoxesOrder before Monday for shipping by Thanksgiving. 4-IMG_3747 Share local apples with your friends and family.  Bosses—a terrific gift for your world-class assistant.  Order while supplies last. 2-IMG_4006 In case you are in denial about the imminence of w-i-n-t-e-r, we tracked these geese flying over the farm.  They are definitely flying south.  Take care and hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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