Watkins Glen | Neaby Excursions - Apple Farm, Animal Sanctuary


Your mere existence in an open barn in the Animal Sanctuary will be soothing and filled with purpose. Meanwhile, if you want to experience farm-to-table and U-picking there may not be better place than the Reisinger's Apple Country. 

Apples and Moore(Formely Reisinger's Apple Country)

This family-run, family-friendly apple farm makes for a delightful visit. Not only were we served local food made from local homegrown ingredients on our platter, but they also told us about their famous apple cider donuts during fall, their fruit-picking U-farm, and their gluten-free food.

Did you know? Penn Yan in Finger Lakes is also known for its Buckwheat. So, it's easy to go gluten-free in Finger Lakes.

The farm owner says, "I was once working at Cornell. After I quit Cornell, I joined the farm. We have some 20 varieties of food, regional items, and two units of cider donuts here. If you look outside the window, you may see the little farm stand from the original sales in 1995".

Fruit Picking - Apples & Peaches

He continues, "Apple picking is standard, whereas peach picking does not happen everywhere. Here, U-pick for peaches occurs twice a year. The difference between Apples and Peaches is that the Apples grow narrow and tall, whereas the peaches grow flat."  

He further continues, " Most travelers aren't big pickers but usually locals who come here every weekend. We also get about 1000s of children from school every year. We also get many international folks as Corning incorporates fruit picking as a team-building activity. It was one day that we got people from 27 countries." He felt proud as he says so, his face beaming with a sense of achievement.

Talking of some of the struggles of keeping Apple Farm, he says, "The Deers get on the farm, and there are also Bears around here. So, their families and friends watch around it. Lots of these trees have tree guards on; we sometimes even paint them in white."

Farm Produce - Food & Wine on Table

He continues, " In Geneva, F.L.X Table is an award-winning restaurant awarded by US8 - Best Winery Restaurant. There, we have a fixed menu by the chef and all the options of wine. You can pick wines according to the taste that resonates with the palette, whether sweet, dry, or country style. We also serve wines from the private collection because we are doing food and wine together; you can leave the cork in the bottle as the wine gets exposed to oxygen otherwise.

In Geneva, we also have an open tasting room of wines. We also sell local wine flour (Flour made from Grape Seeds); we make our butter, honey, and oils out of Squash seeds, Hemp Seeds, etc. " 

 Local Winery

"We also have a local winery called Element Winery. It started in 2009, and within a year, we became famous for red wines. There, we let our grapes express themselves without doing much into it. The only exception to it is that we remove the imperfect or damaged berries during the harvest because that would change the smell and the taste. And they are stored in steel bottles. We wanted to create a benchmark for finger lakes wine.", he said. "

After we had a tasty lunch at the Apple Farm, we headed to the Farm Sanctuary.  

Farm Sanctuary

If you are an animal lover, you'd love to come here. Even if you aren't an animal lover, the visit to the farm sanctuary will open your eyes to the realities of these animals and bring awareness to why we must opt for plant-based food over meat because that would save the animal.

When we think of barns, we think of red barns, rolling pastures, and plenty of animals, similar to what we had in the Sanctuary. Here the Sanctuary stood for something more - its role was to protect farm animals, rescue them, and aspire to changes in how society treats farm animals.

Our Sweet volunteer from the Farm Sanctuary Says, "Today, when we meet our animals, you will see they are no different than our dogs and cats. Most animals raised for meat, dairy, and eggs, spend their lives on large-scale operations with thousands of other animals. Most are packed into cages, pens, and warehouses as tightly as possible to maximize profit. To your right, you will see examples of extreme confinement."  

Pointing towards a few cages ahead of us, she says, "See the battery cage for hens used in egg production. Look at this gestation cage for pregnant pigs; Look beyond the words on our eggs package - cage-free and free-range. They are merely deception.  

Animals are so tightly confined that they don't have enough space to turn around and even lie down. And many of the animals are raised this way, not going outdoors their entire lives. Unfortunately, 99% of animals in America are raised this way."

What more did we see?

Like humans, animals also carry bacteria. We were told hence to wash our hands before we entered the Sanctuary. No food was allowed with us because we had to remember we were guests around the animal's home. We were also told some of these Animals might be shy because of the abuse they have gone through.

Before they were rescued, some of these animals were trapped inside with no access to clean water and food. They were so scared on their arrival here that they would not leave the Barn because they hadn't seen sunlight before. And now, many of them are super friendly, super affectionate, and spend all their time together. A little love can heal. And this is a perfect example.
A sense of calmness was bestowed upon on, along with many moments of "Awws." We rarely get to see these moments so up close in our city life. Our first stop was a cow pasture. Our volunteer told us, "Sometimes when we go on these tours, we find 2-hour-old babies. Here, Today a lot of them are over 15. These guys appreciate their time here."

We then played with the Turkey and The Sheep in their Barn. The next Barn we went to was the Pig Barn. I often thought, "Why are Pigs labeled as food. More importantly, why are pigs seen as dirty/ugly but not cute". That changed when I saw the movie "Babe," the story of a pig raised as livestock.

Our volunteer continues, "Just like Dogs, they always pee away from home. Pigs sleep 18 hours every single day. Pigs are used to produce more Pigs in the breeding cells, and the cell crate is so small that they can't even turn. Because they are so intelligent, they start picking up on Erratic Behaviors such as Biting on Bars."

Pointing to Mia, who was rescued, she says," The time she gave birth, the crate was so small she can't even turn to see her piglet. Three weeks or 21 days after they were taken away from their mothers. After that, they go through terrible mutilations - having their eyes taken out, their teeth chipped, their tails chopped. Look at Mia; she does not have a tail. "

"The mother pig will then be forcibly impregnated by artificial insemination and returned to the gestation cage until the cycle continues until her body is so worn out she can't hold a pregnancy, then she is sent to be slaughtered. ", says she.

Then why do we eat them?

Even though livestock is the primary source of energy waste, water degradation, and many free-range gases in the entire world, we believe that we may need Protein and Calcium found in them.  

Humans are the only animals to have milk from another species. Protein is found in every single food we eat. They no longer recommend Diary as a source of Calcium to us as it increases the risk of Cancer. But we still take it, perhaps because we are brainwashed into it.

Why aren't any charges against offenders?

These are very normal practices in the industry, and hence there are very few laws to protect the animals. And that was the reason farm sanctuary was started to educate the public - What we eat comes at the cost of the lives of animals who deserve to be loved. And that's a solid message to deliver.  

Previous posts on Finger Lakes


  1. Looks like a beautiful trip and it's about time that we be honest with ourselves about the meat industry. Thank you for sharing. Keep up your great work!

  2. I'm looking forward to reading more from you! Your writing style and the quality of your content make your blog a must-read for me.

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