Star Cider will open soon near Finger Lakes Community College

CANANDAIGUA — Every fall, the farm families behind the people of Star Cider would gather round and make apple cider.

Cortni Stahl’s husband Adam grew an interest in how this cider was made and he, too, began making his own every fall.

“He loved that it was a gathering of the families,” Cortni Stahl said. “Everybody helped pick the apples and press them. It was kind of like a big party event each year. We just carried that on.”

That family feeling drives Star Cider, which the weekend of May 31 will host a party of its own. Star Cider’s production facility, tasting room and research center near Finger Lakes Community College is expected to open that weekend.

The large red structure will serve Star hard cider products, as well as products from local breweries and wineries along with New York-produced cheese, bread and other items that pair well with cider.

“It’s been a project of love, for sure,” Stahl said. “We’re very excited to finally have a place where we can share it. It’s a family-run business and we’ve had a ton of help from family and friends.”

Finger Lakes natives, Stahl and her husband, along with his brother, Nathan, began making cider in the basement as a hobby 10 years ago. Their small commercial operation started five years ago and they soon sold their cider in kegs, with 35 or so restaurants and bars now as customers.

They purposely kept the operation small in order to perfect their recipes and get the business going, Stahl said.

They will be able to make and sell cider from their approximately 3,000-square-foot location on East Lake Road. The finishing touches are still being made, but they intend to host live music and special events both indoors and outside on the large patio.

And there’s no mistaking that apples are their bread and butter.

Many of the wood features of the place are remnants from a family barn or from old apple crates.

A small orchard of apple trees planted on the site, including 100 grafted trees, will produce a varied array of cider apples in about two to three years.

Much of the fruit they use for cider, however, comes from Seneca Orchard in Clifton Springs or other local sources, Stahl said.

The cidery will produce favorites like Five Point, which is the cidery’s flagship; Apple Crisp; and Frisky Whisky, made from wild apples aged for a year in whisky barrels. Cans and growlers will be sold to enjoy at home.

The cider makers also relish in producing seasonal varieties, including a rhubarb cider.

Last year, Star Cider produced about 8,000 gallons of cider, although how much will be produced at this new facility is uncertain, Stahl said.

“This facility will really be a great place to do a small batch and more experimental things because we can sell it right from here, which we haven’t been able to do,” Stahl said. “We’ll have different fun things we always love to do to support local farmers and buy seasonal ingredients.”

Stahl, who was an adjunct professor at FLCC in the viticulture program and whose science background led her to question and document why one batch of cider would taste so good and another not so much, said the cidery will serve as a site for student research projects and internships.

“We know every step, inside and out,” Stahl said. “That really helps with the consistency and quality of our product.”

Lenore Friend, who is director of public relations and community affairs at the college, said FLCC sponsored the company under its Start-Up New York program.

Star Cider plans to host workshops on cider production and offer experiential learning to students, Friend said.

“For example, biotechnology students will be involved in quality control and provide analytical support for production,” Friend said.

Stahl said the partnership with the college is a major benefit of this location, as well as its proximity to family and the region’s apple growers. Some think wine when they think Finger Lakes; many also think apples and now, more local hard apple cider to try.

“We don't have the resources so many other companies do, but that makes us more creative and more resourceful,” Cortni said. “We're not afraid to get our hands dirty, and we have been working incredibly hard to get this business off the ground and our new cidery built. We have been working tirelessly and dreaming about this for years and we couldn't be more excited to finally be able to share our space and cider with the community and visitors to the Finger Lakes.”

Inspiring Moore

Naples and the surrounding communities are rallying to raise funds for one of their own, Timothy Moore of Inspire Moore Winery.

Several years ago, Moore beat melanoma, only to be told earlier this year he has a form of Stage 4 brain cancer. Moore receives monthly immunotherapy treatments in New York City and his therapy poses many side effects, causing the Moore family challenges in their daily routines.

A number of friends have organized a major fundraiser for the Moores, to help cover the numerous medical expenses related to the treatment plan.

More than 75 volunteers and numerous wineries, breweries, restaurants, shops, artists and individuals have donated beverages, vacation trips, overnight stays, art and collectables to be auctioned off during the “Moore Time for Tim Moore” event, scheduled for 3 to 10 p.m. Sunday, May 26, at Parish Hill Barn, 5325 Route 245, Naples.

The many highlights of this Memorial Day weekend event include a silent auction, 50/50 raffle, numerous food trucks, wine and beer bars, T-shirt sales, and an open bluegrass jam from 3 to 5 p.m., followed by live entertainment from White Woods and Mosaic Foundation.

Several local wine masters have created a signature, limited wine in honor of Moore called “Resilience,” as did some local brewers who created a limited edition of beer in cans, called “Moore Beer.”

The Crush Bus will shuttle folks from Inspire Moore Winery parking areas to the Parish Hill Barn, where parking is also available.

Tickets are available in advance at Roots Cafe, the winery, Artizanns and Joseph’s Wayside Market or at the event for $20. Cash is preferred, though credit cards will be accepted.

Read more about the family as they walk this path with an optimistic, positive and loving attitude by going to Caring Bridge or on Facebook at "Moore Time for Tim Moore."

You can read Daily Messenger senior reporter Julie Sherwood’s story on Moore at https://www.mpnnow.com/news/20190406/outpouring-of-support-for-winemaker-battling-cancer.

Food benefits 

The Bloomfield Rotary Club is presenting TasteFest 2019 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday at St. Bridget’s Hall, 15 Church St., Bloomfield.

Visitors will be able to taste local wine, beer, coffee, chocolate, honey, maple syrups and specialty sauces. Proceeds benefit Special Olympics and the local food cupboard. Cost is $15. For information, call 585-259-5820.

Over in Victor, Mama Tomotto’s Birthday Fundraiser is 3 to 9 p.m. May 20 at Otto Tomotto’s, 200 Phoenix Mills Plaza.

Takeout dinners consist of pasta, meatballs, bread and birthday cake. Cost is $5 and proceeds benefit the Victor Farmington Food Cupboard.