Summer Festival July 17th, 2016

Summer Festival July 17th, 2016

Summer Festival marks two significant anniversaries

July 17 event includes a celebration of Indian Ladder Farms,

return of Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy’s

popular Hike-A-Thon  

Altamont, NY—One hundred years ago, Peter G. Ten Eyck started Indian Ladder Farms, home to a blue ribbon herd of prize Gurnsey dairy cows producing high quality milk that the farm sold in bottles door to door.

On Sunday, July 17, at noon, Peter G. Ten Eyck II will join in the celebration to mark the centenary of the Farm, and announce the grand opening of the farm’s Indian Ladder Farmstead Cidery & Brewery. 

The afternoon-long Summer Festival, hosted by the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy (MHLC), will take place at Indian Ladder Farms, 342 Altamont Road, Altamont. At 1 p.m., hikers will leave for a Hike-A-Thon at one of six nature trails.  

The celebration also includes an aerial photo session to capture the faces of MHLC friends for the Conservancy’s upcoming 25th Anniversary in 2017.

Throughout the afternoon, there will be activities provided by close to 50 exhibitors, who range from musicians to artists to food trucks, providing fun for all ages.

The MHLC’s second Hike-A-Thon will also take place on Sunday, July 17. Hikers are meeting at 1 p.m. at the check-in table in front of the café at Indian Ladder Farms receive their gift bags and carpool to a guided hike at one of six nature trails.

Peter G. Ten Eyck had grown up on a farm estate in Albany called Whitehall, which burned when he was a child. He wanted to create a new farm to serve as home base for his family. An engineer by trade, he was very interested in agriculture and opened Indian Ladder Farms in 1916 as a dairy farm with an orchard.      

The Mohawk Hudson Land and the Open Space Institute permanently protected Indian Ladder Farms from real estate development in 2003 with an agricultural conservation easement — the first in Albany County and a first for MHLC.

A small group of individuals met in Dr. David Shern’s living room on a snowy evening in 1992, and founded the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy. Their concern was for the disappearing natural areas of our region.  The organization was and is focused on regional conservation, and making a difference for those who live and work in the Capital Region.

For the past four years, MHLC has held its popular summer celebration on the Albany County Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail, with more than 1000 in attendance.

“This has become a very popular annual tradition for the Conservancy, and we are thrilled to be able to expand the event this year in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Indian Ladder Farms and the grand opening of the Indian Ladder Farmstead Cidery & Brewery,” said Mark King, executive director of the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy. “The Summer Festival is appropriate for all ages - it’s a great community gathering.”

"My son and nieces are the fifth generation of our family on the farm. One of our proudest accomplishments is to have been able to protect this land as 'forever farmland' for future generations with help from the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy, the Open Space Institute and funding from the State of New York,” said Indian Ladder Farms’ Laura Ten Eyck. “We are kicking off our next century with the planting of extensive new orchards and the opening of the Indian Ladder Farmstead Cidery and Brewery, which is making hard cider and beer with ingredients we grow here on the farm. My brother and I are working together with Indian Ladder Farms' management team to facilitate my father's retirement, while continuing to grow the business."

Opening ceremonies during the Summer Festival will feature the unveiling of a historic marker commemorating the farm’s centennial and remarks by King, Indian Ladder Farms President Peter Ten Eyck II, and local dignitaries. 

The ceremonies will conclude with the aerial photography session.  The photo of MHLC friends and supporters will be displayed during MHLC’s 25th anniversary year in 2017 to show the broad community support for conservation in the Capital Region.  Aerial photo participants will receive a special 25th Anniversary commemorative gift (while supplies last) in thanks for their attendance. 

Following the opening ceremonies until 5 pm at Indian Ladder Farms, there will be hayrides, pony rides, pick-your-own berries, face painting and animals, including service dogs, farm animals, rehabilitated birds of prey, and reptiles.  There will be performances by groups including the Bethlehem Traditional Irish Dancers and the Squeeze Play Accordion Band. Of course, there will be sample offerings from the new Indian Ladder Farmstead Cidery & Brewery, and many other activities!

The second MHLC Hike-A-Thon will begin at 1 pm at the farm.  Participants this year can choose between six guided hikes: History Hike at Indian Ladder Farms; Agricultural Tour at Indian Ladder Farms; A Family Wildflower and Amphibian Hike at MHLC’s Craven Easement-- open to the public for this hike only; a wheelchair accessible hike on the Albany County Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail; a History Hike at MHLC’s Bennett Hill Preserve; or a self-guided tour and treasure hunt with preserve docents at MHLC’s Bozen Kill Preserve.

For information or to register for the aerial photo or hike-a-thon, visit, or call 518.436.6346. Registration is not necessary to be part of the photo or hike-a-thon, though hikes will be capped at 25 hikers each.

The 2016 Summer Festival is made possible by generous support from many local businesses,  includingBethlehem Chamber of Commerce; Bryant Asset Management; Freihofer’s; Michael Jarus, DDS; Phillips Hardware; Serendipity Day Care Center LLC; Stewart’s Shops; The Spinney at Van Dyke; the Times Union; and Voorheesville Community & School Foundation.

About the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy

The Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy is the Capital Region’s local land trust, working to improve the quality of life by preserving natural areas in Albany, Montgomery, and Schenectady counties.  Land conservation directly impacts the health of the region, improving air and water quality, as well as the region’s outstanding scenic landscapes. We have protected close to 4,000 acres of land including over 1,770 acres open to the public in the form of preserves – for hiking, cross-country skiing and other educational and recreational opportunities. Visit for more information.

Celebrate Hudson Valley Cider Week With Us This Weekend

Celebrate Hudson Valley Cider Week With Us This Weekend

This weekend at Indian Ladder Farmstead Cidery and Brewery Tasting Room we are celebrating Hudson Valley Cider Week!  All week long Hudson Valley and New York City restaurants, bars and retail shops have been celebrating New York’s hard cider revival with special events featuring cider tastings, cider pairing dinners, and even classes.
We are joining in the fun by offering a special on cider growler fills: $20 growler refill (reg. $24), $28 growler plus fill (reg. $32).

What’s on tap?

  • 7% Solution: dry and light apple cider blended with 7% fermented pear cider
  • The Crab: dry and tart apple cider blend using 20% fermented crab apple cider
  • Brewer's Gold Hopped Cider: dry with a hint of fruity spice from the Brewer's Gold hops
  • Nine Pin Signature Cider: our guest cider from our friends at Nine Pin

All of our cider is made with apples, crab apples pears and hops grown right here on Indian Ladder Farms. Enjoy a cider flight while you wait for your growlers to fill. From our tasting room you can enjoy the view of the orchards and hop yard as you sip your cider.
The tasting room hours are:
Thursday & Friday from 4:00 to 9:00 pm
Saturday & Sunday 12:00 to 9:00 pm
Stop in to take advantage of this limited offer and celebrate NY Cider with us!
No time for a trek into the farm country?
In the Albany area our ciders are being served at The Beer Belly, The Excelsior Pub, Next Level at The Ruck and being sold in crowlers at Oliver's Beverage, Westmere Beverage.
If you are down in the Big City head to Jimmy's No. 43The Bronx Beer Hall, and The Well Brooklyn
Stay tuned for more great ciders coming soon. We are currently barrel-aging several new blends including a pear cider in a pear brandy barrel from Harvest Spirits Farm Distillery and apple cider in rum and applejack barrels.

Malting Barley Pick Up and Delivery at Hudson Valley Malt

Malting Barley Pick Up and Delivery at Hudson Valley Malt

In addition to growing our own hops to make beer at Indian Ladder Farmstead Cidery and Brewery we are also growing our own malting barley. In 2015 we harvested about two tons of a new variety called AAC Synergy 2 Row Malting Barley. This variety, which was developed in Canada, seems to be able to withstand the humid conditions we have here in Upstate New York. We had a healthy crop last year, even though we could only harvest half of the five acres we planted due to aggressive weeds that, since we are trying not to use herbicides, outgrew the barley.

Staying as local as possible we have our barley malted at Hudson Valley Malt, a micro-malt house located on the Germantown Beer Farm in Germantown, New York which opened in the spring of 2015. Last Sunday we took what remained of our barley over to Dennis Nesel and his wife Jeanette. After delivery we picked up a load of our barley that had already been malted to bring back to the farm.

Dennis and Dieter loading up the pallet.

Dennis and Dieter loading up the pallet.

Dennis using the fork truck to bring the pallet of barley into the malt house for processing.

Dennis using the fork truck to bring the pallet of barley into the malt house for processing.

Dennis was kind enough to give a tour of his facility, which, located in a converted horse barn, uses a traditional floor malting method as opposed to moving the barley through a series of heated metal malting tanks as we have seen elsewhere.

First Dennis subjects the barley to several cycles of soaking and resting.  Remember, barley grains are essentially seeds. In order to be malted the barley grains must germinate, beginning the process of breaking down the natural malt sugars within that are necessary to the brewing process.

 The soaking and resting process is meant to mimic periods of rainfall. The barley is then spread upon the floor. Radiant floor heat warms the barley simulating the warmth of the sun. The barley grain is turned periodically on the floor with a malt rake to help release the sugars.

Becky hard at work turning the barley over to release the sugars.

Becky hard at work turning the barley over to release the sugars.

Dennis, Jeannette and daughter Becky, who, home from college, is working in the malt house during the summer, are particularly proud of their malt rake which they had designed and manufactured by metal workers in Hudson based on a drawing of the old fashioned tool.

The malt rake

Eventually tiny white sprouts poke their noses out of the seed casings and the barley is moved to a kiln where it is raised to a higher temperature to halt germination. For us, Dennis produces a pale malt. Darker malts are achieved by leaving the barley in the kiln longer.

Dennis, Becky, and Jeannette Nesel.

Dennis, Becky, and Jeannette Nesel.

After checking out the malting facility we head into the tap room where Dennis pours Nectar from nearby Poughkeepsie’s Plan Bee Farm Brewery into frosty quart Mason jars right out of the freezer.  We meander to Dennis’s hop yard to check out his expansion and admire the array of hop shoots he is propagating on his front porch.

Dennis reads our book, The Hop Grower’s Handbook, every morning while he drinks his morning coffee, which is probably the best since it seems that is the only time he sits still enough to read. We are gratified to sign a copy of the book and will be back soon to pick up our final batch of malted barley from the 2015 growing season. 

The barley field at ILFCB, mid-May 2016.

The barley field at ILFCB, mid-May 2016.

Meanwhile this year’s barley crop is coming on strong. We greatly expanded, planting 10 acres of Synergy. And for something new we planted 5 acres of Navarro Oats, a hull-less oat, also known as Naked Oats, just to keep things interesting. Harvest begins in mid-July. –Laura Ten Eyck

Dieter proudly presents the malted barley, destined for the next brew at ILFCB.

Dieter proudly presents the malted barley, destined for the next brew at ILFCB.

What's Hoppening On The Farm?

What's Hoppening On The Farm?

Indian Ladder Farmstead Cidery and Brewery is unique in that we grow the ingredients we use to make beer and hard cider right here on the farm. The people working in the tasting room who fill your flights are the same people who tend the hops and harvest the malting barley and sitting at the bar you will likely share drink and conversation with the same guys who grow the apples. 

Once the weather warms up the hops start growing like crazy, spreading all over the ground and climbing anything within reach. One of the first orders of business is dropping the strings from the top of the trellis and anchoring them to the ground. The strings enable the bines to climb. The hops should reach their full height of 18 feet by the summer solstice when they will begin to send out side shoots on which the hop flowers we use to make beer will form.

The string we use to enable the hops to climb is called “coir” and it is made of coconut fiber. It is strong and its coarse surface gives the hop bines’ prickly trichomes plenty to grasp onto. The coir is tied to the trellis’s steel cable using a knot called a “clove hitch.” The bottom end of the coir is then anchored to the ground with what’s called a “w clip”--a piece of metal that is fact shaped like the letter W.

Once the trellis is strung it is time to train the hop bines to grow up the coir and this has been our focus over the past two weeks. It is very labor intensive. Unlike the big hop yards out west we avoid the use of herbicides in our hop yard so the process of training the bines is made more difficult because the hop bines have entwined themselves in the surrounding weeds.

The photo below shows our crew pulling up weeds along with a proliferation of unwanted hop shoots by hand and carefully training the strongest bines to grow up the coir.

It is a tedious task but when I snuck out there to take a few pictures Saturday morning I found them productive and cheerful, discussing the Presidential primaries and the matter of the super delegates while listening to reggae. –Laurie Ten Eyck

ILF Week at Next Level at The Ruck

We're taking over the taps at Next Level
Starting at 5 pm, enjoy a special dinner designed to pair with our ciders and beers. 

Dinner Menu (Monday through Saturday):

  • Cocktail made with Blueberry Cider & a small bite
  • Salad Course paired with The Crab
  • Cheese Course (New York State Stinky Cheese) paired with Dr. Paul Matthews India Pale Ale
  • Fish Course paired with Daniel Driscoll Pale Ale
  • Smoked Meat Course paired with Smoked Cider
  • Gorgdolce Pear Tartlet paired with Pear Cider

Thursday at 6 pm: The Hop Grower's Handbook book signing with Laura Ten Eyck and Dietrich Gehring. Learn about the trials and triumphs of building a hop yard from the ground up.

Friday at 7 PM: Meet the brewer! Scott Veltman of C.H. Evans Brewing Albany Pump Station will be hosting dinner and sharing the story behind brewing Dr. Paul Matthews IPA.


CLICK HERE to join the event on Facebook.