Aug 22, 2022
Project seeks history of foraging NY apples for cider

Apple foraging among New York’s cider producers has slowly grown from a grassroots practice to become a regionally important phenomenon.

Greg Peck, associate professor in the School of Integrative Plant Science Horticulture Section at Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Maria Kennedy, assistant teaching professor in the Department of American Studies at Rutgers University, are beginning a collaborative research project this month to understand the impacts of fruit foraging on rural communities and in New York State’s cider industry.

The research project, based at Cornell University, is funded by a grant from the David M. Einhorn Center for Community Engagement. The project will employ undergraduate student research assistants and work with the New York Cider Association as a community partner.

The researchers will collect survey and interview data from a broad range of participants to assess the range of foraging practices throughout the state. The project will primarily engage with people who forage apples for commercial cider production, but anyone who forages for apples is welcome to fill out a brief online survey to submit information to the project. The survey link can be found at https://airtable.com/shr1IJQIBAPqWy2nN.

Researchers may contact individuals directly for further information or participation in the project. Fruit and leaf samples will be collected from a selected number of participants for lab analysis, which will investigate the qualities of the fruits being collected by foragers and determine whether the trees used for cider production are known varieties or wild seedlings.

More information is at https://foragedfruitproject.com/

For more than a decade, Peck has studied cider apple production and genetics. He also co-teaches a cider production course to more than 100 undergraduate students each spring. More information about his work is at: https://hardcider.cals.cornell.edu/. Contact Peck for questions about the horticultural and genetic aspects of the project at [email protected].

Kennedy has conducted ethnographic research on the cider industry in the United Kingdom and the United States. Her academic training is based in folklore studies, cultural geography, media studies and public humanities. She has also worked in public arts organizations in New York, New Jersey, and Indiana. Contact Kennedy for questions about the project at [email protected].

—Maria Kennedy

PHOTOS: Maria Kennedy

 


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