The Cider Raid of 1883
The Cider Raid.
Last Friday evening occurred the annual cider raid to Forest Home. The crowd began to assemble at Cascadilla bridge even before 9 0 clock, and by half-past, the appointed hour for starting, about ninety-five students, supplied with tin horns, and like musical instruments, had assembled on the bridge. Mr. Walch was chosen master of ceremonies, and the procession started on its way, amid the din of countless discordant tin horns and conch shells. The procession first proceeded to Sage College and serenaded the inmates. It then marched across the campus and called out “Sibley Bill,” who responded with a characteristic speech, recounting the various reminiscences of former cider raids. The raiders then wended their way to Forest Home, and entered that antiquated little town in silence. But when the bridge was reached they uttered a ringing war-whoop, and rushed pell-mell upon the cider-mill. Here they were kindly received by the proprietor, and treated to all the sweet cider they could well hold. The lonely little store, further up the street, was next visited, the proprietor aroused from his quiet slumbers, and, amid an unearthly din of horns, he unlocked the store. The crowd regaled themselves with pipes, tobacco, cigarettes, candy, etc., much to the depletion of the merchants stock. Songs were indulged in, and soon the procession turned homeward, making night hideous on the way, by discordant snatches of song and the renewed tooting of horns. The Sage maidens were aroused once more from their peaceful slumbers by another serenade, after which the crowd dispersed, apparently well-pleased with the evening’s entertainment.
As reported in the The Cornell Daily Sun, Volume IV, Number 22, 22 October 1883 — The Cider Raid.
Intrigued by author Michael Pollan’s description in The Botany of Desire, of rare apple diversity being collected, curated, and saved under the direction of Dr. Philip Forsline in Geneva, New York at the USDA/Cornell Plant Genetics Resources Unit (PGRU), Los Angles based artist Jessica Rath used kickstarter to fund a research trip.
In 2009, guided by William Srmack, Rath touched, tasted, collected, and photographed rare and unusual apples, returning in 2010 to photograph the architecture of the apple trees being bred by Dr. Susan K. Brown at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. The resulting project, Take me to the apple breeder, was recently on view at the Pasadena Museum of California Art.
Read Jessica Rath’s 2012 Take me to the apple breeder museum essay.
From the essay:
“Agriculture and food production have always been as much cultural as scientific practices, with human preferences and desires influencing biological outcomes. In focusing our gaze on the curating of the idealized beauty of apples plucked from natural selection and the extreme diversity found in breeding left to nature, take me to the apple breeder examines our sublime but fraught relationship with nature.”
Artist Jessica Rath’s talk: Take me to the apple breeder, at TEDxYouth:ValVerde.
Project and Artist Information: Artist’s website description of Take me to the apple breeder includes 10 images of slip cast porcelain apple sculptures and photographic tree portraits.
Interview and Images: Of Sisters and Clones: An Interview with Jessica Rath by Nicola Twilley and Geoff Manaugh at the always fascinating Edible Geography. Beautiful images and an interesting examination of the similarities between making porcelain sculptural apples and apple breeding – the acts of selecting and shaping, and the process of creating many to ultimately select only one, or in the case of the porcelain apples, two best specimens.