Ithaca Is For Cider Lovers

By: Hannah Fordin

Autumn in the Finger Lakes Region of New York is something special. Ithaca is at its most idyllic. School is in full swing at Cornell and Ithaca College and the streets are full of warmly dressed coeds drinking their - delicious - Gimme! Coffee and toting laptops from campus to the many downtown hangouts. 

HRN’s Dylan Heuer and I spent a few glorious week days in Ithaca this fall gathering stories for the second season of Hard Core: A Cider Podcast (coming in 2022). Ithaca is renowned the world over for its wineries, considered one of the finest regions in the country for viticulture. The area also has a long history of cider making. Apples thrive in Ithaca and its surrounding towns, growing in back gardens, street corners, and orchards alike. A robust community of cider makers and horticulturists are quickly putting Ithaca cider in its well earned place of prominence on drink menus near and far. 

Cider is deeply rooted in agriculture, many cider makers are also farmers and scientists. We got to experience this first hand, diving deep into the science of apple identification with Dr. Greg Peck at Cornell and the joys and challenges of farming in a changing climate with Deva Maas and Eric Shatt from Redbyrd Cider. Working with the land they cultivate and the greater community, these craftspeople are deeply connected with the people and plants of the area fighting for social justice and sustainable living.

The culinary community and cider community work in tandem to bring local produce and beverages to Ithaca’s residents and visitors. Cider pairings, cider flavored dishes, and all around scrumptious and sophisticated dining aboung. Chef Patrick Blackman of Coltivare in downtown Ithaca gave us a preview of a whole cider-centric tasting menu he had planned. Chef Patrick gave us a great perspective on why cider makes for such a beautiful accompaniment to vegetable-forward cooking.

If you’re looking for places to eat, snack, and drink in Ithaca - here are our recommendations from this trip. 


Gimme! Coffee is an Ithaca based coffee company that has charmed java drinkers nationwide. There are several neighborhood locations in Ithaca, offering the perfect breakfast for podcast producers on the go. We had the perfect breakfast driving to an early morning interview - I had a massive cup of coffee and a morning glory muffin and Dylan nibbled on a pear and ginger scone. 

Collegetown Bagels is a favorite of students, locals, visitors, and podcasters alike. There’s nothing quite like a loaded bagel sandwich to keep our energy up during a day filled with interviews with pomologists, cider makers, and activists. 


Moosewood and Hawi make for wonderful vegetarian friendly and affordable dining. We would have gone back to both for second servings if we had stayed longer. 

Coltivare and Hazelnut Kitchen are particular destinations for those who love fine food and beautiful ciders. We were thoroughly impressed by these menus.


Taste some local cider! Get to know the cider makers you’ve heard from on Hard Core and more. 


South Hill 

Grisamore Ciderworks

Black Diamond

Eve’s Cidery 

Open Spaces Cider


Quarter Acre For The People has partnered with local cider makers (Eve’s Cidery, Redbyrd Orchard Cider and Open Spaces Cider) to release a reparations package which will continue to raise funds and focus toward the essential work QAP and Khuba International are doing in the area. This initiative, along with much of QAP’s work is centered on providing access to local farmland for local families, particularly those in the community that are nutritionally-vulnerable. 


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