Cider with Maria began as a correspondence venture to update some friends in the UK on the growing cider industry in North America, particularly the events at Cider Con. Over time, however, it has become an eclectic collection of thoughts and meditations on the culture, history, and contemporary experiences surrounding cider, orchards, vineyards, wine, artisanal food, and rural landscapes. It is ethnographic, ephemeral, and based entirely on the experiences and whims of one cider drinker with a writing habit.
In between cider adventures I am busy at my full time job as a faculty member in the Rutgers University Department of American Studies, where I am the Administrative Director of the New Jersey Folk Festival. I teach courses in folklore, public humanities, and lead an intrepid team of students who manage the folk festival each year.
I worked previously as the Folk Arts Coordinator at The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes. Though my work there spanned many other projects, I highlighted fruit heritage of the region through the Finger Lakes Fruit Heritage Project.
I received my PhD from Indiana University’s Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology. My research examined countryside conservation and agricultural heritage issues in the UK, specifically looking at orchard landscapes and small scale cider production.
I spent a glorious year and a half living in Britain, where I worked for Ross on Wye Cider and Perry Company, learning the basics of cider making (and cider drinking). Back in the States, I worked for Oliver Winery and Creekbend Vineyard and expanded my sights into viticulture and wine-making.
I dabble in home wine and cider making, but I am not a commercial producer, purveyor, or politician. I am a story-teller. The title of my blog nods to Laurie Lee’s memoir, an inspiration, and a gift given to me by my first cider making mentor.
Maria Kennedy retains copyright for all content on this blog, including text and original photos.