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Ithaca Cider Week & Apple Harvest Festival Events 2021

Ithaca and the Finger Lakes are known as wine regions, but it’s also the most important cider region in the US. With the highest density of craft cideries in NY state, many of which have received top accolades in national competitions. This October join us as we celebrate apples, art, and cider at New York Cider Week, the Apple Harvest Festival.

October is all about apples. You're invited to experience the seasonal splendor that is the Apple Harvest Festival (Oct 1-3) and New York Cider Week (Oct 2-17). Learn from local apple growers and cider makers as you tour their orchards and taste the fruits of their labor. This fall itinerary will guide you on a tasting tour of high-quality cideries and delicious eateries. 

Some of these events require a reservation, masks, or proof of vaccination. Please contact the venue directly with questions and check seasonal hours of operation.

cider bottle on table
Heather Ainsworth for South Hill Cider

 

Recommendations by day

The 39th Annual Apple Harvest Festival will return to Downtown Ithaca Friday, October 1st through Sunday, October 3rd. Here you’ll find a cider trail, live music, and entertainment, farmstand fresh apples and produce, seasonal baked goods, a variety of food trucks, and a craft fair. This will be your home base for the first weekend.

Friday, October 1

Start your weekend early at Grisamore Cider Works and be the first to pick your perfect pumpkin. This is a U-Pick farm where you can spend time picking pumpkins and a variety of apples. Get into the spirit of the season with a hayride and leave with a bottle of their cider at the farm store. On your way back to downtown Ithaca, grab a cup-o-joe from Ithaca Coffee Company, or enjoy a signature salad from the Coal Yard Cafe before indulging in sweet treats the Apple Harvest Festival.

Then, make your way to the Apple Harvest Festival for an early dinner and a drink. You’ll have plenty of food trucks to choose from but we suggest you start with the award-winning menu from Silo Food Truck which features homemade recipes that blend the comforts of Southern cooking with a unique ethnic twist. Like their famous fried chicken, mac and cheese, and vegan curry. Pair it with some hand-picked and locally produced cider from Black Duck Cidery or the New York Cider Company. Open today from 12 - 6 PM the Apple Harvest Festival is the perfect place to wrap up your evening.

Saturday, October 2

Start your morning in Trumansburg by ordering a breakfast sandwich for pick-up from Creekside Cafe. You can’t go wrong with Breakfast Tacos or a Breakfast Balmy. There is even a gluten-free bread option! From there you will head to our first orchard, so make sure to register for the Black Diamond Cider Tasting and Orchard Tour. On this guided tour you will be led by owner, orchardist, and cider maker Ian Merwin.

After the tour, go to their Cider Shack for a tasting, flight or glass of cider. Tours are at 11 AM, 1 PM, 2 PM and 3 PM. Pre-registration is requested. Tastings at the Cider Shack are from 11 AM  to 5 PM (no registration necessary). Admission: $10

For lunch make your way to the Apple Harvest Festival and enjoy some international fare. Start with traditional Tibetan dumplings at Momo Bar. Then devour an overflowing pita from On the Street Pitas and wash it down with sweet apple cider. The Apple Harvest Festival is open 10 AM - 6 PM today.

Next on the itinerary is an Orchard Tour and Tasting Immersion at Eve’s Cidery from 2-5 PM. (Please note that the drive from downtown Ithaca to Eve's Cidery is approximately 40 minutes) Decide between the steep hike up Albee Hill or the accessible Valley orchard then return to the Cider Barn to taste, pair and discuss cider. Tickets are $25 per person and are required in advance. The event is mostly outdoors but you will be asked to wear a mask in the Cider Barn.

After you’ve worked up an appetite visiting two orchard tours and drinking plenty of cider. Visit The Rook back in Ithaca for elevated and reimagined comfort, soul, and street food. From duck-fat fried chicken and collard greens to pierogis and donuts, there is something for everyone here.

Sunday, October 3

Start your final morning with famous fresh-pressed cider and old-fashioned apple cider donuts from Little Tree Orchards. Since it’s the last day of the Apple Harvest Festival make sure to grab any of the things you’ve been eyeing over the weekend. The Apple Harvest Festival is open 10 AM - 6 PM today.

Don’t miss this special event for New York Cider Week at South Hill Cider from 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM. Tour the orchard and taste their local ciders expertly paired with small bites. Followed by a chat with the orchardist/cidermaker about the inspiration and how it came to be.  Admission: $35

End the night with eclectic bites from MIX Kitchen & Bar like crispy pork bao buns, duck quesadillas, and Thai noodle bowls to name a few of the offerings available here.

strolling field at South Hill Cider
Heather Ainsworth for South Hill Cider

Wednesday, October 6

The Trumansburg Farmers’ Market will be hosting several Cider makers on Wednesday, October 13th, 4-7 PM. Enjoy live music, deliciously prepared foods, local produce, meat, cheese, and bread. Along with the prized cider and wine in the region.

Thursday, October 7

Black Diamond Cider Tasting and Orchard Tour

Wear comfortable walking shoes to the Black Diamond Farm Orchard and Cidery Tour. Which grows more than 80 different apple varieties and 80 other fruit varieties on 8 acres of orchards within their 64-acre farm. Tours begin at 11 AM and 2 PM.

CiderFest & Cider Market at South Hill Cider 4:30-7 PM

Celebrate New York Cider Week with live music from Juge Greenspun, great food, and cider from 7 local cidermakers. Meet the producers who will chat cider as they pour yours. Food by FLX Flatbread and Silo Food Truck. Admission: $8

Friday, October 8

Simply Red Pop-up Chef Sam Buyskes @ South Hill Cider 5-8 PM

Support the Hurricane Ida relief effort in rural Louisiana at this fundraiser event. Classic dishes from Mama Reds Comfort Kitchen will be served and Old-Time music will be provided by Rosie Newton and Steve Selin. Please share and support if you can.

Friday Night Farm Jams @ Finger Lakes Cider House  6:30 - 8:30 PM

Friday Night Farm Jams at Finger Lakes Cider House is the outdoor live music series you’ve been waiting for. In order to support the musicians, there will be a $5/adult cover fee at the door. Plenty of seating is available in the outdoor farm field and you are welcome to bring chairs or blankets. Sip on cider, beer, and cocktails by the glass along with local, farm-to-table food from our kitchen, and mouth-watering sourdough pizza featuring local ingredients. All food is available until 8.

Saturday, October 9

Black Diamond Cider Tasting and Orchard Tour

Make sure to register for the Black Diamond Cider Tasting and Orchard Tour. On this guided tour you will be led by owner, orchardist, and cider maker Ian Merwin. After the tour, go to their Cider Shack for a tasting, flight, or glass of cider. Tours are at 11 AM, 1 PM, 2 PM and 3 PM. Pre-registration is requested. Tastings at the Cider Shack are from 11 AM  to 5 PM (no registration necessary). Admission: $10

After your tour, drive down to Glenwood Pines for a classic American meal on the outside patio overlooking beautiful Cayuga Lake. 

Sunday, October 10

Ithaca Farmers Market  10 AM-3 PM 

The Ithaca Farmers Market is proud to have multiple cider vendors at our weekend markets including New York Cider Company. Celebrate New York Cider Week with a tasting while you shop from produce. Then bring your favorite bottle home to create a DIY pairing with your local farmer market finds.

Gourdlandia is the art destination you'll remember, with vases, drums, piñatas, nightlights, and lamps all made from gourds. You can view this one-of-a-kind local organic art from 11 AM - 5 PM today. After spending some time with the gourd-geous gourds head to AGAVA for a taste of the region. This farm-to-table restaurant is committed to sourcing ingredients from local and regional sources when possible. Located in the former East Ithaca Train Station, enjoy the seasonal menu in this warm, fun, and community-focused establishment.

Wednesday, October 13

Cider Week Prix Fixe Dinner @ Hazelnut Kitchen 5-8:30 PM

Hazelnut Kitchen will be offering a three-course cider-themed prix fixe menu October 13-16.

The seasonal dishes & desserts will be crafted from local ingredients for $40 and paired with Redbyrd Orchard Cider and Kite & String for an additional $18.

Thursday, October 14

Triple Album Release Party @ South Hill Cider 5-8 PM

Three bands, three albums, one night! Enjoy the music, Cider Week Flights, FLX Flatbread wood-fired pizza, and magical sunset views from our patio.

If you passed on pizza head to The Rook for elevated and reimagined comfort, soul, and street food. From duck-fat fried chicken and collard greens to pierogis and donuts, there is something for everyone here.

Friday, October 15

Friday Night Farm Jams @ Finger Lakes Cider House  6:30 - 8:30 PM

Friday Night Farm Jams at Finger Lakes Cider House is the outdoor live music series you’ve been waiting for. In order to support the musicians, there will be a $5/adult cover fee at the door. Plenty of seating is available in the outdoor farm field and you are welcome to bring chairs or blankets. Sip on cider, beer, and cocktails by the glass along with local, farm-to-table food from our kitchen, and mouth-watering sourdough pizza featuring local ingredients. All food is available until 8.

Saturday, October 16

Black Diamond Cider Tasting and Orchard Tour 11 AM  to 5 PM

Make sure to register for the Black Diamond Cider Tasting and Orchard Tour. On this guided tour you will be led by owner, orchardist, and cider maker Ian Merwin. After the tour, go to their Cider Shack for a tasting, flight, or glass of cider. Tours are at 11 AM, 1 PM, 2 PM, and 3 PM. Pre-registration is requested. Tastings at the Cider Shack are from 11 AM  to 5 PM (no registration necessary). Admission: $10

For an early dinner make your way to Ithaca’s world-famous natural foods restaurant, Moosewood. For 45 years this restaurant has been serving vegetarian & vegan entrees featuring local produce while writing fourteen internationally acclaimed cookbooks. The restaurant is open 5:30–9 PM today.

The Tale of Gilgamesh @ The Cherry Arts 7:30-9:30 PM

After dinner enjoy a show that explores a 4,000-year-old myth that’s as fresh as today’s headlines, in which humans wrestle with natural disaster, magic, and the gods through the rambunctious power of live storytelling. This performance will be held indoors. Proof of vaccination is required for entry and masks must be worn at all times.

Sunday, October 17

Ithaca Farmers Market  10 AM-3 PM 

Start your day off with brunch at the Ithaca Farmers Market. Here you’ll be able to find multiple cider vendors and have pairings and tastings. Wrap up the agricultural adventure with a visit to the Museum of the Earth. Go on a journey through 4.5 billion years of history, from the Earth’s origin to the present day while reflecting on what you’ve learned on the orchards and farm tours.

End the night with eclectic small plates & seasonal cocktails at MIX Kitchen & Bar while enjoying live jazz & blues.

Other Cideries to Visit

Here are a few other cideries you can visit during New York Cider Week. Please contact the venue directly with questions and check seasonal hours of operation.

Cider Week Tasting @ Eve’s Cidery

Reserve a Cider Week Tasting at Eve’s Cidery for an in-depth cider tasting. Tastings are held at socially distant tables in their pop-up outdoor patio and served in-flight format. Admission: : $15-25.

Bellwether Hard Cider and Wine Cellars

Make an appointment for their Tasting Room or head to the covered patio during open hours to taste their 10 varieties of hard ciders. Hours: Friday, Saturday, Monday 11 AM–5 PM, Sunday Noon–5 PM

Ithaca’s craft cider scene has been growing for the past two decades and deserves to be celebrated. There can never be too much of a good thing, but this wine-rich region is proud of its cideries, apple growers, and producers. We hope you will join us in celebrating their annual success!

If you’re looking for more to explore in between Apple Harvest Festival events and New York Cider Week tastings be sure to explore the region's waterfalls

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