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December 13, 2012

Cider Mill to be featured on TV

Staff Report
Cooperstown Crier

---- — FLY CREEK

Tune in tonight to see The Fly Creek Cider Mill and Orchard featured on RFD-TV’s “Small Town Big Deal.”

Host Rodney Miller and the filming crew visited the facility in September to film the segment, which will air at 9:30 p.m. 

The segment was filmed during peak cider making with Miller participating in production, according to a media release from the mill. The crew filmed the entire cider process from start to finish and interviewed owners Bill and Brenda Michaels and visitors touring the mill that day. 

The show found out about the Mill through the executive producer, Roger Mahr, who grew up in Canajoharie and still owns a farm there. Mahr and Miller created “Small Town Big Deal” to showcase real slices of rural Americana for viewers to see the history and meaning of growing up in the country, the release stated.

“We are really proud to be featured by this national broadcast,” Bill said in the release. “Hopefully this episode will entice more people to visit us in Fly Creek.”

While at the mill in September, Miller said, “We’re always looking for something that’s a real slice of Americana,” Miller explained. “To me (the Fly Creek Cider Mill) is a real slice of Americana. This shows some history. We want to preserve that history. We also want to give what it means to grow up in rural America.”

The roots of “Small Town, Big Deal” started to grow about seven years ago.

“When I was the CEO of Montana Tractors, the marketing firm wanted me to do some of the commercials,” Miller said. “I got in front of the camera and really enjoyed it. I collected antique tractors, and I thought I’d like to have an antique tractor show at some time.”

Soon afterward Miller moved to Atlanta and met his executive producer, Mahr. 

“The way we came about being friends was over our love for tractors,” Mahr said. “We’re in the city now. There’s not a lot of people in the city that know anything about tractors.”

Mahr had already been in television for years and had originally moved to Atlanta for a job at CNN. The two put together a pilot of the antique tractor show and presented it to some people in television.

“They loved Rodney on camera,” Mahr said. “But they said, ‘I think you’re limiting yourself doing an agriculture show, a tractor show. You need to make this more mainstream and make it for rural America in general.’”

Out of that meeting “Small Town, Big Deal” was born. 

“We’ve gotten a lot of great feedback,” Miller said. “You never know who’s watching around the country.”

Out of the stories Miller has heard so far, he says there are two that have really stuck out.

“We got to meet with a guy who jumped out of the very first plane that led the invasion of Normandy – 92 years old,” Miller said. “He was the 15th guy to jump out of the very first plane. He was the very tip of the spear of the largest invasion in the history of the world. It was just an awesome interview.”

The other story that made an impact on Miller was relayed by the grandson of a missionary who was killed in Ecuador in 1956.

“He’s developed a flying car that will help in missionary work in remote areas. It also has uses in other areas, too. They’re adapting it in ranches in Montana,” Miller said. “It’s hard sometimes to get passion to come through, but it really came through on that. You could see his hear.”

“Small Town Big Deal” airs Thursday at 9:30 p.m. on RFT-TV, which is locally aired on channel 794 with Time Warner Cable, 345 on Direct TV and 231 on Dish Network. For more information on the series, visit 

For more information about the mill, visit the website or call (800) 505-6455.