Finger Lakes Fruit Heritage

Finger LaBotanical-Fruit-Apple-2-220x300 croppedkes Fruit Heritage is a project of the Folk Arts Program at The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes.  Maria Kennedy is the Folk Arts Coordinator.  Click on the “Finger Lakes Fruit Posts” drop down bar in the menu to read about projects, research, and audio-visual essays related to this specific project.


Home cider maker Steve Daughhetee stands in an enormous old orchard near his home west of Ithaca, NY

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.  The landscape itself can become overgrown, sold for development, or transformed for other uses.  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?

To answer these questions, I am beginning a research project as part of The ARTS Council’s Folk Arts Program. I seek people who are maintaining old orchards to ask these questions:

Old Orchards and Cider Mills of the Finger Lakes

  1. How did you come into contact with the old orchards or trees you now use and maintain?
  2. Do you know anything about the history of the orchard, how it was used in the past, or how it fell into disuse?
  3. What maintenance practices (pruning and otherwise) have you taken to bring the orchard or trees back into productive use?
  4. 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?
  5. Do you know about, or have you used cider mills in the area to press your fruit?


If you would like to share your knowledge, experience, or ask questions about this project, Please Contact Maria Kennedy, Folk Arts Coordinator 607-962-1332 x 206


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The Folk Arts Program is supported by funding from The New York State Council on the Arts and the Corning Incorporated Foundation.