Cideries of the American Cider Association across the United States held a “Cider-Thon” on April 30 to raise funds to restore a cidery that was obliterated in Kyiv, Ukraine, by the war.
One of the cideries participating in “Help Rebuild Berryland” was Slyboro Ciderhouse at Hicks Orchard in Granville.
Hicks Orchard business development manager David Garvoille said the orchard topped its goal of $1,000 raised with $1,300 from the “Cider-Thon” that drew about 45 attendees.
“We had a really good turnout,” Garvoille said. “When I read that we (the American Cider Association) were going to do this, with a fundraising background, I had a feeling we could knock it out of the park.”
For each glass of cider sold, $1 was donated to Vitalli Karvyha’s Ukrainian cidery, Berryland.
With a star-studded lineup of local celebrities serving as guest bartenders for shifts from noon to 4 p.m., all tips made went directly to Karvyha as well.
The guest bartenders were Sara Davis of Golden Earth Pottery in Cambridge, Pearl Cafritz of Salem Art Works in Salem, Wendy Bordwell of the Slate Valley Museum in Granville, Kait Warren and Kathy Juckett of Telescope Casual Furniture Inc. in Granville, retired social worker Carol Andrews of Granville, Little Theater on the Farm owner Linda Hermans of Fort Edward, president of SUNY Adirondack Dr. Kris Duffy of Glens Falls, Rachel Goodell of Lake George Distilling in Fort Ann and Daneil Sherwood of Hudson Valley Wireless in Glens Falls.
“They had a blast, they had a really good time,” Garvoille said. “It was really lovely, everyone wanted to help out.”
NYVTmedia spoke with Karvyha, American Cider Association board president, Eden Specialty Ciders owner Eleanor Leger and Hicks Orchard owner Dan Wilson on April 26 via Zoom to get a realistic feel of the devastation and destruction that continues to take place in Ukraine.
“I hope I will have something (when I return to Kyiv),” Karvhya said. “Our land is not safe now for human activity.”
Karvyha, a cidermaker for more than 30 years, described the location where Berryland is located northeast of Kyiv as “covered in garbage” after the bomb dropped in his vicinity deployed shrapnel across his property and made the property unrecognizable.
Karvyha, who left at least 70,000 gallons of cider when the war began, added that he does not know how much of his product he has lost because the area is “littered with landmines.”
Karvyha was unable to say what is next for his cidery and himself due to the rapidly changing landscape of the war.
Wilson and Leger provided sentiments of sympathy to Karvyha at the end of the Zoom call.
“Your (Kharvya’s) story and the bigger story of Ukraine is just heartbreaking, my heart goes out to you. It’s hard to fathom your loss, so I feel so very sorry for your experience,” Wilson said.
“The sense I have of cider makers in the United States, and Eleanor can speak to this, is that we’re really working hard to build a community of cider makers. There’s a real spirit of helping each other out, so this effort to reach out to you and help you is very much in line with how we have tried to support each other to build a market for cider and help us make better ciders,” Wilson said. “Your spirit is really shining through and it’s touching me.”
“My hope is that in a couple of years, everything is back to normal and you can come and visit us and meet everybody,” Leger said.
Garvoille said donations can be made until May 7 where the orchard will be accepting contributions for Berryland at its “Blossoms and Babies” event taking place at 11 a.m.
Karvyha left these words to declare his appreciation for American support and the passion of his home country.
“Glory for the U.S. and glory for Ukraine,” Karvyha said.