By Meghan McCaffrey CONTRIBUTING WRITER
---- — Fly Creek Cider Mill and Orchard opens today for its 158th season.
New this year is a completely restored water turbine that powers the mill. This is the third and most extensive restoration of the turbine since the Michaels family bought the mill in 1962, said Bill Michaels, co-owner of the mill.
Una-Lam of Sidney restored the 12-foot tall wooden water silo and the Lesner Turbine was repaired by Cardish Machine Works of Watervliet.
“Cardish re-fabricated the blade assembly and fitted a new drive shaft that powers a series of flat belts that power the press,” Michaels wrote in a media release.
There were also repairs made to the tank’s foundation and retaining wall as well as the pipe that brings water from the millpond to the water tank where the turbine is housed, Michaels said.
Helen Park, the retail manager, discussed the many new products that the mill will feature.
“We’re in very good shape for the new season,” Park said.
There are also new and unique foods for people to try including: new fruit dips, guacamole and hummus, pineapple curd, and a new line of pasta sauces and bruchetta that have wine in them, beer bread mixes in varying flavors, and vodka made from apples.
“Pretty much you name it, we have something for everybody here,” Park said.
There will also be the traditional favorites available such as the cider, cheese, fudge, dips, dip mixes, rubs and marinades, and of course apples.
“When people come they’re ready for their nice fresh apple all over again,” Park said.
The opening falls on the first weekend of spring break for local schools, Michaels said.
“We coincide our opening with spring breaks so a lot of the people who are home from school and want to get out…come over here,” Micheals said. “It should be a good first week for us.”
Michaels said the amount of visitors that come during this time of year is sometimes dependent on the weather.
“On a nice sunny day people want to get out and we’re a nice destination to drive to,” Michaels continued.
Fly Creek Cider Mill is one of the six stops along the beverage trail in Cooperstown. The other stops include: Bear Pond Winery, Cooperstown Brewing Company, Brewery Ommegang, Rustic Ridge Winery and Butternuts Beer and Ale.
Michaels said there are many events to attend this season at the mill including the second annual CiderRun on Apr. 26. The CiderRun is a 5K/10K run and 3K walk which benefits the Otsego and Delaware County Big Buddy mentoring program. For more information about this event or to register go to www.delawareopportunities.org.
The busy season does not start until Dreamspark opens, Michaels said.
“But there are regulars who come in for fudge and cheese that have waited for it all winter,” Michaels said.
Members of the flavorful rewards program were mailed $10 coupons and about 4500 coupons were sent out. These coupons have become part of the opening tradition and they expect to receive about a 1000 back, Michaels said.
Each member gets 10 rewards points for each dollar spent and there are about 25,000 members, Michaels said.
The Snack Barn will not open until late April or early May, depending on how warm it is, Michaels said.
The mill also has an extensive calendar of events planned for the season including in depth tastings of various product lines, said Michaels.
The store will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Apr. 10 and for the remainder of the season. For more information about events or products go to www.flycreekcidermill.com or call 607-547-9692.