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Fragile Pleasures New York Sommeliers Pour Forth on the Art of the Wine Glass
End E R F the wi as
By Terence Lane
Turkey Trickery A Barrel House of Fun in Corning Pining Away in the Gorge
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Guthrie Caregivers are Heroes Every Day. Thank You for All You Do.
Volume 17 Issue 5
Flags Fade but Love Stays
By Terence Lane
New York sommeliers pour forth on the art of the wine glass.
By R. Bud Voorhees
At Elk Run Cemetery, promises keep memories alive and families strong.
By Roger Kingsley
Bringing home the bird means playing the imitation game.
The Death of Giants By Linda Roller
White pine needle disease hits the Pine Creek Gorge.
6 The InCider Scoop
By Lilace Mellin Guignard Innerstoic Wine & Cider Company blends the past and present in Morris.
Hold My Hot Glass By Karey Solomon
Wining, vining, and firing at the Corning Museum of Glass.
More Fun Than a Barrel of Flamingos By Lilace Mellin Guignard
With the Barrel House, Iron Flamingo Brewery joins the Gaffer District.
A River of Many Moods
24 Big Anniversary in Big Flats
By Lilace Mellin Guignard
The Friends of the Chemung River Watershed invite you to go paddling.
By Dennis Miller From agriculture to airplanes, business booms for 200 years.
Back of the Mountain By Linda Stager Here comes the sun.
Cover photo: Matthew Smith courtesy Maddy McCarthy. This page (top) Terence Lane; (middle) Aaron Rush, by Lilace Mellin Guignard; (bottom) Chemung County Airport, 1945, courtesy Sylvia Mattoon Radford.
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Contributing Writers Maggie Barnes, Chis Espenshade, Carrie Hagen, Roger Kingsley, Don Knaus, Karin Knaus, Terence Lane, Dave Milano, Dennis Miller, Brendan O’Meara, David O'Reilly, Linda Roller, Karey Solomon, R. Bud Voorhees
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Fragile Pleasures New York Sommeliers Pour Forth on the Art of the Wine Glass By Terence Lane
ine glasses have been an integral part of my life and career for the better portion of a decade. I’ve worked with them in restaurants, wineries, and tony Manhattan wine bars. I’ve spent hours uncountable pulling warm stems, still patched with steam, from industrial dishwashers and polishing them spotless in the highfalutin theaters of haute cuisine. A wine glass is more than a single object. It consists of three main parts: petal, stem, and bowl. You can buy a box of four from T.J. Maxx for $12.99, or you can own a Zalto Burgundy balloon for $75. They are stemmed. They are stemless. Is one better than the other? What makes a wine glass a good glass? Does it matter? See Fragile on page 8
Courtesy Beekman House
Fragile continued from page 6
(3) Courtesy Corning Museum of Glass
At the Fire and Vine exhibit in the Corning Museum of Glass, a lineage of wine appreciation is presented in the chalices passed down through the ages. It is impressive to note the great leaps in craftsmanship over time, with plenty of emphasis on colorful and florid designs. The stemware runs the gamut from crude to ornate. Various shapes and styles speak volumes about what was valued by the consumers of the day. The Roman goblet from 400–500 A.D., with its cropped stem and lily If you've goblet, flaunt it: rim, indicates a preference (top to bottom) goblet with for function over form—a stem, 400-500 A.D.; Tiffany Studios wineglass, 1902mode by which to convey 1932; goblets from the Claus a lot of alcohol to the Josef Riedel Sommeliers bloodstream quickly and Series, designed in 1973, without swirling. In made in 1982. fairness, the wine of the Roman Empire was nothing like what it is today, and there’s probably a very good reason why those early vessels were built for speed. In stark contrast are the Tiffany coupes of the 1920s, with their Listerine stems and wide, rosy bowls. Probably not glasses for everyday drinking but glasses used to impress, to make a statement of class, something Gatsby might have wielded around his mansion, toasting his dubious friends or staring solemnly across the sound at what can never be owned. The main problem with elaborate, colorful glassware is that it hinders the ability to see what you’re drinking. While aesthetically pleasing, the Tiffany coupes lose points because you can’t really see what’s inside, which I liken to eating a delicious meal in a poorly lit room— something is lost. In the twenty-first century, wine dazzles in clear crystal stems, more like what you see in the Riedel collection. This was the first collection featuring shapes designed specifically for wine enjoyment. Sommeliers will tell you that the first step of wine evaluation is simply to observe the wine in the glass. Don’t swirl. Don’t sniff. Just look. Is it purple and opaque, consistent with malbec or saperavi, or is it star-bright and garnet, more indicative of pinot noir or cabernet franc? Is the wine viscous, does it cling to the glass, does it stain, does it tear? A white wine beginning to darken can suggest a good deal of age or a flaw like premature oxidation, the damaging of 8
a wine caused by oxygen leaking through the cork (it smells like poached apples). In red wines, age manifests as a fading of the pigment, or a distinctive browning of the meniscus. The color of the wine gives clues as to its condition, variety, and age. These are details to be appreciated. Wine is something for the eyes to drink before the judgment of the palate. Today’s sleek stems are made to showcase the full range of the wine’s resplendence, from color to aroma to taste. Their subtle curvature is designed to entrap the wine’s bouquet. Spacious bowls allow for the wine to aerate and open as it is gently swirled by the stem. But what about stemless glasses? In many homes and restaurants, the continuing evolution of the wine glass has led some to prefer this abbreviated model. Master sommelier and owner of F.L.X. Hospitality and Element Winery, Christopher Bates, weighed in with his preference on stemmed versus stemless. “Stemmed,” he says. “Always stemmed. Always. The stem does three important things: keeps you from warming the wine with your hands, avoids smudging the glass
with greasy fingerprints, and allows you to properly swirl.” Years ago, while on a date at an Asianfusion restaurant, I ordered a simple bottle of Bourgogne blanc from one of the big negociants (wine merchants)—I think it was Louis Jadot or Olivier Leflaive. We made a toast. My date had blonde hair with some green highlights feathered in, something I was pretty into. The tempura came out. The little shumai dumplings. On my second sip of wine, she started to giggle. “What?” I asked. She nodded at my glass. “You hold it funny.” “How so?” “By the middle part,” she said. “The stem?” “Yeah.” “That’s where you’re supposed to hold it,” I said. “It’s fancy,” she said, giggling. That exchange still lives vividly inside me, consistent with a societal disinclination to use the stem. It still holds water. Or wine. I haven’t shared that anecdote with many people, but this felt like the right
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time to let it breathe. If you’ve ever tried to swirl wine by the bowl or in a stemless glass, you understand the difficulty. For starters, it’s incredibly awkward. It looks like begging for change or trying to collect rain drops on a cloudless day. Aeration’s almost impossible, and because of the limited control, wine will inevitably slosh out on the carpet. Alfresco drinking may be the best time to go stemless. “If I’m outdoors doing yardwork, sure,” says Christopher, “throw some Muscadet in an insulated cup and get at it.” If stemmed glasses are the preferred way to go, which ones should you buy and should you spend a lot of money on them? Christopher’s feeling is that you don’t need to go overboard but it’s worth spending something. He elaborates. “Remember, these are not single-use (hopefully), so you can amortize the cost of that glass over the cost of the wine it will deliver to happy noses and mouths in its life span. You will realize a good glass is worth the expense. When I say a good glass, I mean clear, thin, and stemmed, with See Fragile on page 10
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Courtesy Corning Museum of Glass
Follow the drinking gourd: the Fire and Vine exhibit includes goblets from 500 B.C. to 2010 A.D., a small selection from the Museum's collection. Fragile continued from page 9
an ability to hold twelve ounces or more. Riedel, Spiegelau, and Schott Zwiesel all make great glasses, and if they are in your budget, Zaltos are a delight to use.” As an owner of Zalto glass, I should attach a disclaimer: Don’t buy them unless you’re an exceedingly cautious person. From 2017 to 2020, I worked at a wine bar that used nothing but Austrian Zaltos. They’re so beautifully crafted and delicate that first-timers will often stop talking when they touch them. Some people feel a squeeze-the-kitty impulse to flick them as hard as they can. One time a woman actually took a bite out of her glass of Beaujolais and shyly handed me the piece. It’s true that Zaltos are second to none (I’ve had to ask guests to please take them out of their purses), but I don’t often recommend them to people. I tend to suggest Stölzle Lausitz glasses for elegance, strength, and value. Some glasses are sold in shapes that reflect the wines of a given region, i.e., Burgundy and Bordeaux. You might not be familiar with those wines, so how do you pick the right shape of glass? Matthew Smith, vineyard specialist at 10
Hillick & Hobbs and former sommelier at Michelin-starred Rebelle in New York City, shed light on the utility of various styles. “My intro to proper glassware was at Rebelle. We always served in the appropriate glasses: APs [all-purpose] for by-the-glass and white. For red, we used three different kinds: Rhone, Burgundy, and Bordeaux. There’s something to be said about dropping the right stem with the right bottle, something classy about that. There’s a sense of history there. Someone thought a certain shape better expressed the wines they were making. That’s something to honor. When you have options, you’re going to pick what’s preferential.” Certified sommelier and proprietor of the 1897 Beekman House in Dundee, Greg DeForest-Campbell believes style is crucial. “Wine is an experience for all your senses, and proper glassware will enhance this experience across the board. If you put an aromatic red like a Barolo in an AP, you’re not going to get the full aroma, taste, and, yes, visual flare that you would get if you used a Burgundy glass. I would say that anyone who is really into wine and would like to experience its full expression should
have APs for whites and rosés, Burgundies for full whites and aromatic reds, and Bordeauxs for full, muscular reds. Those three styles will get the job done.” Burgundy glasses, often referred to as balloons, are exactly how they sound— voluminous globes designed for building oxygen and coaxing out the wine’s myriad aromas. Bordeaux glasses are also on the larger side, but less round, and with a significantly wider rim than a Burgundy’s. When in doubt, a standard AP glass is never a bad way to go. Now that you have your glasses and your wine, all there is left to do is pour. In my experience, the average person will pour a quarter of the bottle or more into their glass at a time, something like six to seven ounces. Now, that’s a heck of a glass of wine, what we industry creatures call a “Mom pour.” Matt believes the wine should have plenty of room to move around and advocates for a shorter pour. Admittedly, that can be a tough sell. “My whole family hates me about this, they call mine ‘Matt pours,’” says Matt. “The thing is, when you overfill a glass, you actually smell it less. It can be a detriment to the tasting experience. Then again, if
my mom wants a bigger pour and I don’t deliver it, that’s also a detriment to the experience.” “The more room the wine has to interact with air, the better,” explains Greg. “It’s easier to see, smell, and taste from a less-filled glass.” Unless the kids are home from college and you have to get it while you can, try pouring three ounces at a time. This allows the wine to put its best leg forward. You’ll be able to see the true intensity of color and get a nice swirl going. You’ll also get many more pours. Decanting is another excellent way to get your wine loosened up and ready to go. There’s a lot of misinformation out there when it comes to “opening” wine. I’ve been to dinner parties where the host has considerately opened the wine, as in removed the cork, so that it might have time to breathe before dinner. Many, many people are under the impression that the bottle will somehow start sucking in air like a lung, and while poetic, it just doesn’t work that way. In order to really open a bottle of wine, you have to pour it out into a separate container. When you decant, the wine is flushed full of oxygen. Tannic red wines and older reds are also decanted to take the wine off of any sediment that may have dropped out over time. What wines should you decant? Barring an ancient red Burgundy, you can decant anything, and you should. “Red, white, rosé, sweet, and sparkling can all benefit from decanting,” explains Christopher. “It’s all about building some oxygen into it, taking it off its sediment, and letting it rest. You can use anything to decant, as long as it’s clean and inert. Pitchers, vases, quart containers, or even an empty bottle from the night before can all be used.” Clean coffee pots are another great decanting hack. Feel free to double-decant that Sonoma Coast syrah by pouring it once into a pitcher and then funneling it back into the bottle. This can be accomplished quickly before the company arrives or in front of the company for a bit of festive recreation; it’s totally up to you. When it comes to sparkling wines, decanting is about preference and ties back into glassware. Classic examples of champagne stems are the flute and the coupe, also called a Marie Antoinette, after whose breast it was modeled. The two shapes could be considered opposites—one narrow, one wide—and yet both are used for the same wine. These days many sparkling drinkers even prefer to sip their suds out of red wine glasses. What’s going on here? “Flutes retain bubbles and deliver a carbonated feel to the drinker,” Christopher explains. “Using a white or red glass will diminish the impression of the bubbles, turning your sparkling wine into more of a white wine drinking experience but allowing for a greater appreciation of the wine’s aroma. It depends on what you like, bubbles or aroma.” Matt lends a more pointed opinion. “I don’t think anyone should have a champagne flute,” he says with a chuckle. “I don’t think you can smell wine in a flute. Put it this way, the wine is diminished when you put it in a flute. Drink your champagne out of a white wine glass. With all these excellent grower champagnes [artisanal champagne] it should be considered the same way we consider any fine wine because it’s on the same playing field as the greatest wines in the world.” See Fragile on page 40
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R. Bud Voorhees
Flags and families: Bud Voorhees tends generations of grave sites and memories at the Elk Run (Knowlton) Cemetery near Marshlands.
Flags Fade but Love Stays
At Elk Run Cemetery, Promises Keep Memories Alive and Families Strong By R. Bud Voorhees
take a few more steps through the wet, short grass and turn around to look at the valley stretching north before me toward Marshlands, a tiny community along Pine Creek between Gaines and Galeton. I reflect briefly on the dozens of little stories I’ve heard throughout my lifetime, stories that played out in this very valley over the last 100-plus years. It’s my own story today, though. I am here to fulfill a promise I made to a great-aunt more than a quarter of a century ago. I smile to myself and grab a handful of tools I’ll need for the next hour or two. It’s a joy to be back again. Aunt Wanda was my maternal grandmother’s youngest sister. For years she had come to this very spot, the Elk Run Cemetery, to fulfill a promise of her own— tending to the grave sites of her parents, siblings, and her first husband.
Aunt Wanda was in her eighties when I made the promise—still getting around, driving her own car, doing her own shopping, calling on friends and family, and attending church without fail. But things were changing fast for her. Shortly after she was widowed for the second time, Aunt Wanda adopted Muggins, a fluffy, snuggly little poodle mix. One morning as they were headed out for a walk, the little guy bounded to the end of his leash then followed it around in a circle and around Aunt Wanda. Her next step would be her last for six weeks. She fell to the ground and broke her leg. When my wife, Kay, and our children, Melissa, then ten, and Chad, eight, came calling on her one Sunday afternoon, postaccident, Aunt Wanda, delighted as always, had a couple of big favors to ask.
“Buddy, would you help me find a new home for Muggins?” “Well sure,” I said, thinking we could ask around and, if need be, take the rascal to the SPCA (I didn’t say that aloud). “Melissa and Chad, maybe you’d like to take Muggins?” Aunt Wanda suggested. “Yeahhh,” they said in uncharacteristic agreement. I found myself sucking air; we most always discuss such things for days, if not weeks, before deciding on major changes to our family (Muggins did find a home with us, however). “Would you do another favor?” Aunt Wanda continued. “I don’t know when I will get to drive again—maybe never. (I had wondered whether she should have been driving.) I won’t be able to decorate the family grave site anymore, and since you already tend to your Dad’s, would you See Flags on page 14
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please consider taking that over for me? You know that lilac bush next to my sisters’ sites needs to be cut back or maybe cut down. Would you please do that for me?” Aunt Wanda was right. That bush, just a few yards from Dad’s site, was an overgrown mess, and I’d had a hankering to prune it down to something more manageable and attractive. Since Kay and I had been, for the past two years, decorating Dad’s final resting place right before Memorial Day, we figured it wouldn’t take much longer to tidy up these few other sites at that time. We agreed to take on the family plots. Fast forward twenty-five or so years. It’s nearly Memorial Day, it’s forty degrees, and it’s raining. At my feet is the plaque that bears my father’s name, Laverne C. Voorhees, his military rank, his date of birth, and date of death. There is no mention of his lifelong nickname—Porky (a reference to his possible resemblance to an Our Gang movie character). Next, a quick glance at Mom’s plaque. It bears her name but not her remains, but that’s another story. That is the first pinch I will feel this afternoon. The entire cemetery has recently been mowed. I use a battery trimmer to tidy up close to the markers while Kay places flowers at the bases of family headstones. I head to the far end of the family row to place the last of the flowers. I stop at my great-greatgreat grandparents’ markers, trying to imagine what may have led them to Marshlands. Next to them, double great-grandparents, then a sibling of my great-grandmother, Carrie Wood Ripley. A flowering bush nearly engulfs that stone, and I see a faded flag in a rusty marker bearing the letters GAR. That’s the abbreviation for Grand Army of the Republic—a fraternal organization of Union Army Civil War veterans. There were new flags on other veteran’s gravesites, but this hidden one was missed. Today I have no pruning shears—I’ll trim it another time. As I walk that long line of markers back to the car, I stop at sites of family I personally knew, recalling some special memory for each: Aunt Sue Gilmer, Great-Uncle Tom and Aunt Bessie Gilmer, Great-Grandpa Sam and Great-Grandma Carrie Ripley, Uncle Jay and Aunt Viva Ripley, Uncle Basil and Aunt Wanda McCracken, Uncle Sid and Aunt Edna Fenton, Uncle Arnold and Aunt Wilda Whipple, Grandpa Harry and Grandma Margaret Moore, Great-Grandpa John and Grandma Sarah Shaddle. Lastly, Dad and Mom—Laverne and Marilyn Voorhees. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for your love of Christ, untiring love for us, your guidance, your counsel, and your love of music, which has served me well in times of joy, sorrow, anxiety, depression, and celebration. I turn to walk the last few steps to the car, wiping my eyes, blowing my nose. Kay asks if there were any headstones we missed. I open my mouth, but my voice just won’t serve me yet. As always, this was a power-packed hour of great memories. It was a walk among my genealogy, my family, not just names in a book or on a stone. It’s a joy to be back again.
Bud Voorhees is retired after a 42-year career in human services. He and his wife Kay live near Wellsboro, where they raised two children.
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Hen party: Roger arranges his lifelike decoys to tempt the Toms.
Bringing Home the Bird Means Playing the Imitation Game By Roger Kingsley
pring gobbler hunting is the sport of a hunter conversing with a turkey, in a turkey’s vocabulary, in such a way as to lure the bird into shotgun range. One would assume that you’d have to master the art of turkey calling to have any degree of arousing a gobbler’s interest. Nonsense. I’ve been alongside some hunters who absolutely amazed me when
they belted out some turkey talk that put my renditions to shame. That said, I bring home turkeys every spring despite my lack of producing the perfect vocals. Do I lay eyes on every bird that I strike a call to? Nope, but it’s silly to believe that the pros do. The mood of a gobbler in a mating frame of mind often dictates the final outcome regardless of your calling
experience. However, there’s an accessory that you’ll need beyond that call to put the odds in your favor. In my years of hunting the spring season all alone, I’ve learned that even the most elementary notes from a call is all it takes sometimes to charm gobblers into searching for the source. And when See Foolery on page 18
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Foolery continued from page 16
they come seeking, that’s where decoys come in. Because of the success I’ve had using decoys, I must confess that I’ve spent very little pre-season time practicing with a call to scratch out the full gamut of sounds turkeys are known for. Today’s turkey decoys are remarkably realistic, hence, they elicit an extraordinary drawing power that can oftentimes trick even the most cunning birds. One of the most popular turkey decoy brands is Avian-X— the official decoy of the National Wild Turkey Federation found at avian-x.com. I have three of their Lifelike Collapsible Decoy (LCD) hen decoys that I’ve used as a group setup for several seasons now, and every year they’ve fooled gobblers. One of those three, the laydown decoy, sits on the ground without a stake and is the star attraction to the setup because it depicts a hen’s natural relaxed breeding position. Due to its incredible likeness, I’ve filmed both gobblers and jakes mounting this decoy. The feeder and breeder posture decoys complete the three bird flock by adding more realism and movements to the intentional trickery. These two hen replicas balance on stakes which allow them to stir around in a breeze creating a more distinct attraction to a wary gobbler. From my observations, if you are planning on being in a blind, it doesn’t matter which way those decoys face, because gobblers are routinely oblivious to blinds. But if you are using the base of a tree or other existing cover for your blend in strategy, make sure the decoys face away from you. I’ve noticed gobblers are most likely destined to approach decoys from their backside. Doing so, maintains the gobbler’s focus on the decoys, moreover, the woods opposite the hunter. Also, if you have concerns over the postures of the hen decoys in relation to the season, don’t worry. I’ve used them to tag birds on opening day, mid-season, and the very tail end too. Some hunters like to enhance a setup like mine by adding a jake decoy to the mix of hens. But I’ve seen no reason to change since this arrangement of three hen decoys has been responsible for my tag–filling success. I understand the theory behind the addition of the fake jake with hen decoys, but I’ve also seen mature gobblers intimidated and even run off by real jakes. Several times over the years, I’ve witnessed a party of jakes behaving aggressively toward a lone gobbler, which is why I’m reluctant to use jake decoys. Looking at it from the gobbler’s perspective, if I was him, I’d feel far more comfortable approaching some unfamiliar hens, if I know I’m not going to run the risk of a sour confrontation with some bully jakes. With every hunt, there’s a certain percentage that you have control of, the rest is up to nature, which—as we all know— can have a mind of its own. Hunting seasons that coincide with mating periods create enhanced opportunities for hunters to be more successful. Mimicking wildlife during those stages when they are most vulnerable are strategies that many hunters conduct to their advantage. Decoying—an age-old hunting tradition—adds another element of thrill to the chase. An award-winning writer, Roger Kingsley’s articles and photographs have appeared in several nationally-known publications.
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Dampening spirits: foggy valley conditions aid the spread of white pine needle disease.
The Death of Giants
White Pine Needle Disease Hits the Pine Creek Gorge By Linda Roller
or me, this story begins in May of 2021 as I was delivering Mountain Home magazines, heading north from Avis to Blackwell. By then, the leaves were out on all the trees along the road, and I was looking forward to a drive in a green vista. Any bare, brown spots would be a stand of ash trees, killed by the emerald ash borer, or hemlocks infested with wooly adelgid. It was possible I would see trees damaged by gypsy moths. But the brown trees I was seeing were white pine. And there were many with brown needles. By the next trip in June, the pine trees looked no better. Even stranger to me were the blank looks that I got from friends when I mentioned what I was seeing in the forest. Was no one else seeing this? Turns out that
I was talking about it to the wrong people. For Bill Laubscher, forester in the Bureau of Forestry’s Northern Division, which includes the Tiadaghton and Tioga State Forests, this story began in 2016, with a phone call asking District 16 to look at some white pine that was yellowing the first week of June. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has been monitoring the progress of white pine needle disease since then. What I was looking at was not the beginning of the disease, but the end. These were trees that had white pine needle damage in the crown and were not going to survive. “It was unexpected to see it [the mortality] so soon,” explains Jill Rose, forest pathologist for DCNR. What looks like one
disease is a combination of several pathogens that attack white pine. In addition to white pine needle disease, affected pine stands are weakened by caliciopsis canker, a fungus that affects the trunk, white blister rust, and root rot. However, unlike what is killing the hemlock or ash, these diseases and pathogens are native and are normally found in the pine forest. But if they’re native and commonly found in stands of trees, why are the trees dying? One of the factors that has changed recently is the climate. We have had a decade of wet springs. “Odd patterns of moisture are hard on trees. Currently, there is a base level of stress for all trees,” Jill says, adding that the white
pine decline is complex, but this change in recent weather is a large contributing factor. Although this cycle of disease has always been part of the white pine regeneration cycle— killing weaker, smaller trees and making room for stronger young trees—wet conditions, especially in the spring, have made these diseases much more widespread. Those conditions allow for a larger production of spores to be produced, and that’s when the damage happens. That damage we see in the trees now is the work of last year’s pathogens. The actual death doesn’t come from white pine needle disease, but from the caliciopsis canker and the root rot that can establish itself in a weakened tree. “Caliciopsis canker is the nail in the coffin,” Jill notes. According to Sarah Johnson, forest health specialist in the Northern Division, “Root rot is an insidious killer, and hard to detect until it’s too late. The first deaths are in poor soil locations.” The disease is not widespread in all the Northern Division, but is concentrated in certain areas, one of those being the Pine Creek Valley. Bill explains why Pine Creek trees are prone to the diseases: “It’s a foggy
microclimate.” In years when the spring is wet, the foggy valley is simply wetter, and the damp air is around the trees longer. That generates more spore activity and more disease. The dampness gives the disease the perfect conditions to get established in another host. Most of the research on white pine needle disease comes from New England, where commercial pine lumbering has been affected by this death cycle. William Livingston, from the University of Maine, has done much of this research. The university has produced reports on the various pathogens that can contribute to the death of these trees, and an identification guide—Field Manual for Managing Eastern White Pine Health in New England—was published in June 2019, complete with photos of the various pathogens as they appear on the eastern white pine. There is a multi-state effort to both research and combat the disease. The main approach to combat these diseases involves thinning the trees. This can be effective in a New England pine plantation, but Pennsylvania’s forests are different. The white pine in Penn’s Woods is not in a single species planted plantation but is part
of a natural mixed forest. There are areas of heavy stands of white pine intermixed with hardwoods. These trees are not easy to reach. They are often on the sides of steep hills, not the flatter land of a woodlot where thinning is more possible. For foresters and DCNR, this is yet another change and challenge in the Pennsylvania forest that does not have a quick or easy solution. For visitors to the forest for recreation and renewal, it is a sign of environmental strain and stress, as trees attempt to adapt to climate variation and change. Jill’s prediction from a recent seminar is that we can expect to see more deaths of mature trees this year as the cycle continues. That means more bare spots and brown needles on my trips through the Tioga and Tiadaghton State Forests. Again, wet and cool springs are ideal conditions for spread. Some of the literature about it makes it sound not too bad, but it has become a killer in our forests.
Mountain Home contributor Linda Roller is a bookseller, appraiser, and writer in Avis, Pennsylvania.
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Lilace Mellin Guignard
The apple of my glass: Aaron Rush (left), owner and wine and cider maker with long-time collaborator Caleb Johnson.
The InCider Scoop
Innerstoic Wine & Cider Company Blends the Past and Present in Morris By Lilace Mellin Guignard
here’s a reason William Penn published pamphlets in 1681 to attract settlers to his new province by touting the area’s ability to produce, among other things, “Wine, [and] Sider.” The topography and cool climate were ripe for certain varieties of grapes and apples, and the immigrants who came here from Northern Europe, especially England, brought seeds to start orchards so they could make their house cider. The combination of environmental elements is what winemakers call terroir, and it’s as important in making cider. In fact, cider has more in common with wine than it does with beer. Aaron Rush, owner of Innerstoic Wine & Cider Company in Morris, says the resurgence of cider in
the Twin Tiers owes a lot to Finger Lakes winemakers. “Beer drinkers move over to cider easier than wine drinkers,” Aaron says, “but ciders can be as complex and foodfriendly as any wine.” He stands in the horse stable that was fully renovated when he began this venture in 2019. He and Cat, his wife, are caretakers at the Oregon Hill Farm. Standing next to Aaron is long-time collaborator and buddy Caleb Johnson, and on the oak barrel table between them is an Innerstoic cyser—a blend of cider and honey mead—Aaron is pouring into wine glasses. “I prefer stemware for cider,” he says. “Either that or a tulip or Belgian beer glass.” He sells ciders bottled like his wines, not in six packs.
Innerstoic’s what’s-available list shifts based on what is growing well and on Aaron’s creative instincts, rather than replicating recipes year-to-year. This appeals to Aaron as much as the scientific aspects— it’s the balance he was looking for when he left the oilfields. When developing his own wines, Aaron says, “I want to make what I want to drink.” That’s dry and semi-dry whites, reds, and rosés, and ciders that are more old-school than the sweet ones that restarted the cider craze. He focuses on what can be done well here, sourcing his grape juice from the Finger Lakes. “Wines and ciders here are high in acid, so the trick is to find a balance between the tannin, acid, sugar, and hops,” he says. “Something not too sweet.” See Gillett on page 30
“But not so dry they make your ears touch,” Caleb adds. They first foraged wild apples but, Aaron says, “We were growing so fast that by year two we needed to buy apples from Cornell.” Luckily, Caleb bought the old Beck farm in Liberty that still had some old apple trees on it, and they’ve since planted more. The two men grew up together, Aaron at Three Springs in Nauvoo, where his father worked, and Caleb on his parents’ farm (which is next door to his own). Caleb tells how Clyde Beck once produced a legendary cider but then, probably during the temperance movement that spurred prohibition, Clyde got religion and took his recipe to the grave. Apple trees survive, though, there and on other area farms. They’ve dated some back to the mid-1600s. These are the smaller apples that fall in the categories of bitter-sharps and bitter-sweets. “We call them spitters,” Aaron grins. These are the types that they’re planting at Caleb’s, with a goal to get a thousand trees in the ground over the next several years. Since the land nourished orchards in the past, the microbial networks are in place and the soil biology is tuned to apple trees. “For now, we’re okay here,” Aaron says, looking around at the room full of barrels. “But in five years I think we’ll need a facility where people can come.” Despite his last name, Aaron’s approach to business, wine and cider making, and life in general is not to rush things. To leave time for what can’t be controlled. When he first launched his business, it was also the beginning of his battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer that affects the lymphatic system. He came up with the name Innerstoic because reading the Stoics (certain Greek and Roman philosophers) helped him through the dark days. “I wanted to keep a good mindset and stay bright. To show strength to my girls [daughters Paige, ten, and Zoe, six]. I want people to ask about the name. I want to help others through their challenges.” After being cancer-free for almost a year, Aaron relapsed in August 2021. He recently underwent full stem cell transplant in Pittsburgh, where he was quarantined for three weeks. His room had an office area and weight bench. In solidarity back home, Cat started doing push-ups, adding on each day he was away. She’d post these on social media where Aaron could see, and the push-up challenge caught on. His daughter’s elementary school class posted a video. A buddy in Florida had his whole roofing crew doing push-ups. The treatment went great, and his blood cell count rebounded a week ahead of schedule. “Now I’m cancer-free again,” he says, without bitterness—no sour grapes, just sour apples. “My hope is that this local drink highlights our unique local environment and brings back something that’s been lost.” Caleb nods. “Yeah, the history of the area and its potential.” The two men sip their cyser in quiet agreement. Then Aaron adds, “In a fast-paced world it’s appealing to embrace something that’s a little slower and tied to our land here.” A land that grows businesses, families, and friendships with a terroir all their own. Innerstoic does tastings by appointment at 755 Potato Patch Lane, Morris. Contact them at innerstoic.com, (570) 404-7302, or visit the virtual tasting room and shop online. Purchase onthe-spot at the Deane Center in Wellsboro on Fridays 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Innerstoic will have their full lineup of wines and early ciders at the North Central Pennsylvania Wines, Brews and Foods Festival, May 28 and 29, at the Tioga County Fairgrounds. There will be music, food, and beverage vendors. Purchase tickets at northcentralwinefestival.com.
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Still glowing strong after twenty-five years: (large photo and left bottom) Eric Meek, manager of the Hot Glass program, demonstrates his art in the Mobile Hot Shop; (middle and right bottom) master artist George Kennard created a vase with intricate canework during a two-hour demonstration.
Hold My Hot Glass
Wining, Vining, and Firing at the Corning Museum of Glass By Karey Solomon
he evolution of wine and glass technologies are as interdependent as the spiral of a double helix. In ancient times, when the fermented juice of grapes was used in religious rituals as well as celebratory occasions, it might have been served in a special vessel made for the purpose. Jump forward a few thousand years to advances in glassmaking, and you’ll see glasses and storage vessels representing an evolution in the way we think of libations. Their variety is itself also a nod to the innovations of glass artisans, whose craft is applied to making the useful also beautiful. The Fire and Vine exhibit at the Corning Museum of Glass, showing through December, highlights this shared history and ongoing partnership. When you come to CMoG for the history—Fire and Vine—don’t pass up the
chance to see the present and the future of glass. In the various Hot Shops, master glass artisans, with support crew assistance, create singular works. The audience seems to hold its collective breath as globs of molten glass are gathered around the end of a steel tube. From the moment the first bit of red-hot glass is withdrawn from the “glory hole” of the glass furnace to the point when the newly-made glass object is carefully tapped from the rod, there are often hundreds of people watching raptly. Video screens allow observers to see the glowing interior of the glass ovens, as well as close-ups of skilled glassworkers shaping the glass with breath, tools, and skill. All the while, a narrator describes the finer points of what’s happening. “We put as much emphasis on describing the process and sharing what’s
happening as with making the object itself,” says Eric Meek, manager of the Hot Glass program, celebrating its twentyfifth year in 2022. Eric says it’s one thing to watch the process, “but the magic is [that] there is a professional glassmaker working and a professional glassmaker narrating to give everyone a deeper level of engagement.” Eric became fascinated with glass during college. An undergraduate science major, he took a glassmaking elective, then came to Corning to take a summer workshop at the Studio of the Corning Museum of Glass, a glassmaking school behind the museum where an international roster of glassmakers teach short courses. “I realized Corning is the center of the glass universe,” he says. “Corning See See HotGillett Glasson onpage page30 30
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kept calling me back.” He majored in art in graduate school and came back to work in Corning during the summer, becoming particularly fascinated by techniques of the Venetian glassmaking tradition. “Glassmaking is mysterious,” Eric continues. “It’s something not a lot of people know about. Almost no one has the experience of working molten glass, the texture, the viscosity of the material. As a narrator you’re the gatekeeper to that experience.” When Eric demonstrates at the furnace, he supplies some of the narration himself. “One of the things that makes this place so attractive for a glassmaker is what you make is open to whatever you want to explore—without limits—as long as it’s a great demo,” he says. “It’s very liberating personally.” In the twenty-five years of hot glass demonstrations, Corning has recruited some of the most skilled and experienced glassmakers from around the world to take a star turn at the furnace. Most of what they’re creating is functional art like bowls, pitchers, vases, and mugs, but some artists make more intricate work in the twenty to thirty minutes they’re allotted. Until recently, when the audience left at the end of the show, the work was quietly recycled in the furnace. But lately the gaffers have begun relocating many of the finished objects to an annealing kiln, where they’re heated to not-quite melting temperature, then slowly cooled to stabilize the inner structure of the glass. Perhaps a day later, the pieces are moved to a display in the museum’s lower level gift shop, where they’re available for sale. For just over twenty years, a second demonstration studio known as the Mobile Hot Shop has taken to the roads for deployment at museums and special events across the country. Their first engagement was at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. The trailer went via airplane to Australia in 2005 for a five-week tour, and has been to Europe several times. As it uses a custom-made trailer containing a melting furnace holding 300 pounds of molten glass—“That’s the beating heart,” Eric says—a reheating furnace, two annealing ovens, and all the extra supplies and equipment needed to put on a variety of hot glass demonstrations, the Mobile Hot Shop is more often driven than flown to its scheduled venue. When it arrives, a team of glassmakers meet it, set it up, unfold its stage and canopy, and fire up the furnaces. It takes several days to both heat and, later, cool. “Typically, we do one to two weeks of programming,” Eric says, before the whole business moves to a new site. So, the next time you raise your glass of Finger Lakes wine or local craft beer, admire the glass itself for the work of art it may well be. The Fire and Vine exhibit is up through the end of the year. The museum is open seven days a week, year-round, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Memorial Day through Labor Day; it closes at 5 p.m. the rest of the year. You can purchase tickets online at cmog.org, where you’ll find information about admission prices, current shows, and other information to enhance your visit. Or call (800) 732-6845. Karey Solomon is a freelance writer and needlework designer who teaches internationally.
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A man who knows his wort: brewer Ben Mauer proudly pours an Iron Flamingo beer at their new Market Street location.
More Fun Than a Barrel of Flamingos With the Barrel House, Iron Flamingo Brewery Joins the Gaffer District By Lilace Mellin Guignard
t wasn’t long after the Iron Flamingo Brewery opened in 2014 at 196 Baker Street in Corning that the Mauer family knew they wanted to get a foot in the Gaffer District. “Within two years we realized we needed more capacity than just a tasting room,” Nadia explains. After years of searching, they found what they were looking for and opened the Iron Flamingo Barrel House at 54 W. Market Street in the fall of 2021. It was the weekend before the Wine Glass Marathon. “Talk about baptism by fire,” she says. When asked what her job title is, Nadia starts listing her tasks behind the scenes, but her son, Ben, interrupts with the answer: “She’s Mom.” He makes it sound like the
most important job title there is. Nadia laughs. She clearly enjoys working with her sons, Ben and Adam, in this family business. Ben is the brewer but, as she says, “The Barrel House is Adam’s baby.” Adam, the manager, can often be found tending bar. He says he and his brother “have a lot of the same feelings on the direction we want to take.” The building used to hold Holmes Plate 54 and, before that, Wet Goods Bar. It’s a perfect space for two brothers to share. Outside, two long black awnings with the name in large white letters perch over two large windows. Two front doors lead to a large U-shaped bar that stretches back on two sides, made from lumber salvaged from an old barn.
Tall tables made from barrels dot the floor, and industrial style stools line the wall. Other high-tops have glossy black walnut surfaces Ben and his father, Mark, repurposed. Building owners Edger Construction, from Elmira, did the renovation, keeping the original brick and feel of the place. The Barrel House harkens back to a former style of tap house, rustic and old-school. Below is a twenty-by-ten-foot cooler holding all the kegs, with tubes feeding the taps upstairs. The metal kegs are stamped with a big black IF, for Iron Flamingo, which echoes the T-shirt on the wall that says: What IF You Tapped It. There are twenty-four taps with Iron Flamingo brews from light to dark, See Gillett on page and 30
there’s usually a sour available. You can buy a crowler (thirty-two ounce can) of any beverage on tap, six packs, and although they don’t sell any growlers they will fill yours. They’ve also begun making hard seltzers. The styles change, but Ben only adds 100 percent fruit purees. The mimosa-style My Bubbles, made with orange puree and champagne yeast, is Nadia’s favorite. The seltzers are a good alternative for those who need to avoid gluten—but be careful. Though they may seem lighter, My Bubbles is seven percent alcohol by volume. With a New York Farm Brewers License, they’re allowed to serve New York wines and spirits. Black Button Distilling came down from Rochester on a recent Friday night to hang out and share some of their craft beverages. Their bourbon, bourbon cream, and apple pie moonshine are some of the choices available there. “We use local folks for everything we can,” Ben says. “I love collaborating.” His beers show it. Smooth Like Honey, a lager, uses honey from Herbee Homestead in Hornby. The Great White Buffalo is a hazelnut coffee Kölsch that uses beans from Market Street Coffee & Tea, and the Mocha Coffee Porter uses beans from Soul Full Cup—both in town. Ben likes to collaborate with other brewers, too. He worked with Dave and Eric Shoemaker at Liquid Shoes Brewing two blocks away to create Sir Liquidious-Ironis, an imperial German chocolate cake stout. Ben has also joined forces with Lucky Hare Brewing Company in Hector, Rising Storm Brewing Company in Avon, and K2 Brothers Brewing in Rochester. The Barrel House kitchen opened in January with fun air-fried snacks on the weekends—fried pickles, pub fries, popcorn shrimp, and other rotating options. The customer favorite seems to be Pretzel Nugs—nuggets of hot pretzels served with either cheese dip or spicy brown mustard. They also offer Bison Snack Sticks (pepper or hickory) from their friends nearby at Savona’s Mud Creek Bison Ranch. (It’s reciprocal—the spent grain from beer brewing goes to the bison.) The kitchen is closed Monday through Thursday, and on those days they welcome well-behaved dogs. Aside from being dog-friendly collaborators, they express community through brews that support causes, like the Pink Lady dry-hopped Belgian wit beer that raised money for breast cancer research last year. In May they’re tapping StacheStrong, a traditional German style Kölsch; one dollar of every pint sold goes to the namesake foundation raising money for glioblastoma (brain cancer) research. They also did Pints for Polio in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Corning. Most Thursdays are trivia night, and on weekends there’s often a band. They also rent out for small events, with the ability to block off half the space for private functions. The overall capacity is ninetynine people. “The next few months will be big for us,” Nadia says. “We’ll actually see what tourist season on Market Street is like.” It’ll kick off with Glassfest in May, just about the time Ben’s first baby is due. When asked what their goals are for the business, Ben says, laughing, “To make money. Lots and lots.” Nadia hushes him before saying, “We’d like to see Ben and Adam establish themselves and have a solid, secure future in Corning. To leave their footprint.” It might be a webbed, three-toed footprint, but it seems certain they’ll leave one. The Iron Flamingo Barrel House is open seven days a week. Check Facebook or ironflamingobrewery.com for hours, or call (607) 936-4766.
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Cool change: Monica Li paddles past Corning Incorporated World Headquarters on an early spring jaunt on the Chemung Basin River Trail.
A River of Many Moods
The Friends of the Chemung River Watershed Invite You to Go Paddling By Lilace Mellin Guignard
n April 2, Monica Li, who paddled the entire Chemung River solo in twelve hours last May, was on the river again. This time she was paddling sixteen miles from Corning to just before Elmira. The air temperature was forty-two degrees, but the sun was out. Much better than the sleet and flurries the day before. At Painted Post, where the Cohocton and Tioga Rivers merge and create the Chemung, thirty-two-year-old Monica inflated her packraft and snapped her paddle together. “The whole point is to be as light as possible,” she explains. It enables her to adventure independently, though she sometimes gets a friend or an Uber to help her with the shuttling. And she always leaves a detailed float plan with a friend. It’s hard to keep a paddler in the northeast off the rivers once the ice has
melted—and there’s no reason to. The Chemung River is forty-five miles of gentle current—perfect for people who want to get on the water but don’t want to deal with rapids. There are some wave trains (a line of waves) that can give you a good splash yet won’t tip you over. If it’s still cold, you might want to avoid them unless you have a bailer. If you don’t have paddling experience and proper cold weather gear, don’t go till the water warms, usually by late May. The river level generally stays good throughout the summer. • The first stretch of Monica’s paddle is one bridge after another. From this vantage, the river’s centrality to Corning is undeniable. Like shoelaces, the bridges snug the two sides together. Ahead on the right, the Little Joe Tower juts white and
blue behind the geometrical trusses of the Bridge Street bridge. Soon the angular roof of the Corning Incorporated World Headquarters lets her know she’s in the heart of the Gaffer District. People walk their dogs on the Corning Riverfront Trail to the left. After she passes under the walking bridge, the right bank becomes a concrete wall. On warmer days, noise from Centennial Park would drift down. Then she floats under the Brisco Bridge, past geese and ducks, past the high school, and follows the river as it bends through East Corning, picking up speed and leaving buildings behind. • The Friends of the Chemung River Watershed, established in 2008, has been working since then to improve the river’s See River on page 36
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River continued from page 34
image in the community. Led then by Jim Pfiffer, members realized that one reason the river had been ignored was that residents feared it. During Hurricane Agnes in 1972, the Chemung crested at almost forty-one feet—above Corning’s flood protection levees. At 5 a.m. on June 23, a five-foot tidal wave hurtled down the river, adding to the devastation. The city rebuilt triumphantly, but its relationship with the river was left in shambles. Corning, however, had been built on the river for a reason. Its ability to transport agricultural and industrial goods had served the city well. Though there’s less need of that now, the Chemung still has a lot to offer. At first, the Friends focused on formalizing boat launches, building ramps and pavilions, and creating a portage at Elmira’s dam. Not wanting to become a drain on the first responders, the Friends donated emergency rescue equipment, including boats and life jackets. The plan was to get the public to see the river as an asset. Emily Marino, who became the Friends executive director after Jim left in 2020, says they’ve been pretty successful. While the Chemung Basin River Trail is not fully formalized, the group is working with other agencies and a National Park Service grant to create a full-fledged blueway (water trail). This summer will be the second that Endless Mountain Outfitters offers Friendsarranged kayak trips (emo444.com, (570) 746-9140). Last year eight trips ran with about twelve people each trip. “Most hadn’t been on this river, and some had never been on any river,” Emily says. This season kicks off on Saturday, June 4, and Sunday, June 5, with the Agnes Flood Memorial Paddle. The weekend includes a free concert on Sunday with the Cantata Singers performing original local works from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Elmira Grove Street boat launch. Other guided trips include the shuttle, the option to rent kayaks or BYOBoat, and fun destinations such as Four Fights Distilling in Corning and Diversion Brewing in Chemung. Find a schedule of 2022 trips on the Friends website, chemungriverfriends.org, as well as a map of launch sites, safety information, links to current water levels, and other information helpful to those who may want to plan their own river adventure. Monica, who is a Friends board member, uses her excursions to compile even more data for a website she’s creating about regional rivers. • The second half of Monica’s trip is quiet except for common mergansers, rousing themselves indignantly when she paddles near. After passing Bottcher’s Landing, Harris Hill and the National Soaring Museum come into view high to the left, complete with gliders riding the currents above. On the right is the long cliff of the Palisades, its wildness protected by several nature preserves. On a low branch off to the right, a bald eagle watches Monica go by just before she reaches Fitch’s Bridge access. There she wipes her boat dry, deflates, then heads to Market Street for dinner and a beer. A perfect end to a perfect paddle. You can also find information on the Chemung River at gofingerlakes.org. Friends of the Chemung River Watershed is located at 111 North Main Street in Elmira. Reach them at (607) 846-2242.
(3) Sylvia Mattoon Radford
Courtesy National Soaring Museum
Full circle from the earliest settlers and the pioneers of flight, Big Flats continues to thrive and carry on the work of its founders. (clockwise from top left) A woman harvests tobacco leaves for drying; Henry Minier stands inside his store (that remains today); the Dairy Barn Ice Cream and Cafe is a quick, refreshing stop; a sailplane in the National Soaring Museum.
Big Anniversary in Big Flats
From Agriculture to Airplanes, Business Booms for 200 Years By Dennis Miller
n 1615 Etienne Brule, a French explorer, traveled through the area we now know as Big Flats. Then (as now) it was both—big and flat, that is. Etienne gets little credit for settling or exploring, though, as his travels came to an abrupt end when his Huron warrior guides killed and ate him. Other Europeans were more fortunate, however, and today Big Flats encompasses over forty-seven square miles, including retail landmarks Arnot Mall and Consumer Square (probably not named to commemorate poor Etienne). Big Flats is just off Route 17 between Elmira and Corning. When you get off the highway, you’ll find a quiet residential area with churches, baseball and soccer fields, with a growing number of high tech companies pointing the way to the future. And, of course, retail. “Big Flats is the largest retail area in Chemung County,” says Town Supervisor
Ed Fairbrother, who has served the town for more than three decades. “Big Flats has four school systems and seven zip codes. We also maintain seventy-five and a half miles of road, and 300 acres in our eighteen parks.” It’s also celebrating an anniversary this year. After All These Years… Eight years before Christian Myneer arrived with his wife and seven children in 1787, the Sullivan-Clinton campaign had obliterated the Big Flats Runonvea village, one of the oldest Native American settlements in New York. Explorers who preceded him had been impressed with the lush land and fertile soil. The Myneers, with 320 acres on a steep hillside leading down to the Chemung River, were the first white settlers in what would become known as Great Flatts, later Big Flats. On April 16,
1822, just thirty-five years after the family’s arrival, the town of Big Flats was formally established. Over the years, Christian Myneer’s surname morphed into Minier. In 1873, his great-great grandson, Samuel Minier, opened Minier’s Store, and the market has been in the family ever since. Brothers Samuel and Henry, both World War II veterans, took over the business in 1950 and constructed a new building. Russ Minier, Samuel’s son, thirty-four at the time, returned to the area in 1980 after a stint at Wegman’s in Buffalo with plans to expand the building into a plaza. The familyoperated store was being surrounded by chain groceries. “We couldn’t survive as a stand-alone unit,” he says. Russ’ son, Paul, an eighth generation Minier, now runs Minier’s Neighborhood Meat Store & More, keeping See Gillett on page 30
the operation in the family for five generations. “A small business is personal,” Russ says. “It’s a place to see your neighbors and friends and talk. It’s also a place to go if someone needs help. It’s all about community.” Trees, Tobacco, and Transportation Early on, the area’s primary economy was lumbering. By 1850 there were at least nine saw mills. As the flat lands and hillsides were cleared, agriculture took over as the main economy. Tobacco was a lucrative new crop—specifically, cigar tobacco. More than 2,000 acres in Big Flats were devoted to it. Cigar factories followed. “Everyone who had a spot of land grew tobacco,” says fifth generation resident Tom Rhodes, a retired farmer. “Tobacco is nutrient hungry and depletes the land quickly. Before commercial fertilizers were around, a stockyard in Buffalo shipped the manure down here and left it on the track siding where farmers loaded onto their wagons. The whole area smelled pretty bad, but nearly everyone grew tobacco, so nobody complained.” His great-great grandfather, an earlier Thomas Rhodes, came here from England in 1830 and built his home on Harris Hill. Part of his property later became the Harris Hill glider field. Tom farmed thirty-four years, selling in 2002. It was the last dairy farm in Big Flats. At first, water was the main method of transport. The Chemung Canal, completed in 1833, ran from the Chemung River to Seneca Lake. The sixteen-mile Feeder Canal, completed that same year, ran through Big Flats. Then the trains came—the Erie Railroad in 1849 and the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western in 1882. Trains stopped in Big Flats morning, noon, and night, transporting school children, commuting workers, farm animals, coal, and milk. In 1911 the EC&W electric trolley made its first trip from Elmira through Big Flats to Corning. In its early years, it carried up to 5,000 people a day. Finally, in 1943, Chemung County bought 350 acres from area residents and built the Elmira Corning Regional Airport.
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Big Flats’ Past, Present, and Future The Big Flats Historical Society Museum, on 258 Hibbard Road, encompasses two centuries, in two buildings, of the town’s See Big Flats on page 41
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Fragile continued from page 11
Greg is passionate that champagne should have the same right to air as any other wine. “Champagne is my favorite style of wine—well, that and Finger Lakes sparkling wine— and I am completely opposed to the use of flutes. I get the thinking behind them, that they concentrate the bubbles, and champagne is a party and all that, but they are beyond useless to anyone who actually wants to taste the wine. champagne is acidic, structured, and textured, it really has it all. You absolutely cannot taste it if you are sipping from a flute. Young champagne should be served in APs, and old champagne in Burgundies.” I’m still haunted by the phrasing of legendary Wine Bible author, Karen MacNeil, who once likened champagne to a “sword wrapped in whipped cream,” referring to its precision and textural weight. It has been said many times but bears repeating: champagne needs no occasion, champagne is the occasion. A great wine glass also needs no occasion and will undoubtedly enhance the enjoyment of whatever you happen to be pouring. “Anyone talking about how the angle of this rim hits the palate in a different way can go kick rocks,” says Matt. “Anyone who knows that much about the mechanics is minimal. At the end of the day, wine is something to be enjoyed, not worried about. Use whatever makes you happy.” And what glass makes a sommelier happy? “I have a Schott Zwiesel glass that’s pretty old. It was a sample I got at a restaurant,” says Matt. “It’s an all-purpose glass and only holds about four ounces, but it’s a really good tasting glass. Any Riedel glass is good. Some of the bigger ones may be a bit clunky. If we were all lucky, we’d have Zaltos, but they’re just a little too fragile and can keep you on edge. No one likes to be the person who broke the Zalto.” (Matt may have broken one of my Zalto APs at a party last year, but that’s between us.) Greg cites an old go-to. “Honestly, Riedels. They’re what I used when I worked at Corkbuzz; they’re what I used at The Standard. They are good quality glasses that get the job done, and they’re not so delicate that I feel like I will shatter them if I look at them the wrong way. I wouldn’t go so far as to call them affordable, but they aren’t so expensive that breaking one puts me into a state of financial panic. Riedel all the way.” Despite all the fuss and polishing, my happy glasses are Zaltos, symbolic of victory and mistakes. They remind me of the fragile pleasures of another life, of the unicorn wines I’ll never taste again and the sommeliers who tasted them with me, keeping our cool in a barn-burner of a Thursday night service in Midtown, when the tax attorneys came out to drink Ramonet and Chateau Rayas and we provided that experience. But not until we provided it for ourselves first, uncorking, swirling, breathing the wine’s aroma with eyes closed before the taste, giving it our blessing. Terence Lane is a certified sommelier. His short fiction and wine writing has appeared in a number of magazines including Wine Enthusiast. Since leaving New York City after the closure of city dining in 2020, he now lives in the Finger Lakes.
Mountain Home Big Flats continued from page 39
history. There are hundreds of displays, including old medicines, early hair curlers, musical instruments, children’s toys, farm tools, photos, and print articles. One especially unique item is a partial mastodon tusk—believed to be over 10,000 years old—excavated along Route 352. At the National Soaring Museum on Harris Hill, Director Trafford Doherty says, “We have the best collection of classic gliders on the East Coast.” That includes the 1930’s era wooden Bowlus Senior Albatross single-seat glider. “There are only two left in the world,” Trafford says. “We have one and the Smithsonian has the other one.” The Wings of Eagles Discovery Center, formerly the War Plane Museum, on 339 Daniel Zenker Drive, started as a war plane museum with planes and other equipment used in World War II up through the Vietnam War. “With the new name we could move into educational endeavors,” explains Discovery Center President and CEO Tracy Sink. Nearby, the Tanglewood Nature Center Museum, at 443 Coleman Avenue, maintains more than ten miles of trails, offers educational programs for children and adults, and exhibits more than forty native and exotic animals. Also nearby is Tag’s, a busy outdoor concert venue that draws music fans from hundreds of miles. “Big Flats is a beautiful area,” Ed says. “It’s rich in culture and history and we’re proud to be celebrating our 200th anniversary.” Join in on Friday, May 20, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the community park at 100 Main Street for live music, food vendors, and fireworks. The 200th anniversary dedication ceremony is on Saturday, May 21, starting at 10 a.m., at the Community Center at 476 Maple Street.
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