Going into its 201st year, the Jericho Cider Mill had to make the tough decision to cancel its bicentennial celebration last year due to the pandemic. Instead, the mill celebrated this momentous milestone retro-actively on Oct. 16 after getting through the peak of COVID.
Family, friends, fans of the mill and local officials were all on-hand to celebrate the momentous occasion. There was even an apple crumb cake to celebrate the milestone.
“It was awesome to finally be able to celebrate this,” owner Ted Ketsoglou said. “It’s great.”
Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino, along with councilmembers presented a citation to Ketsoglou to recognize the historic establishment. Muttontown Mayor James Liguori also presented Jericho Cider Mill with a citation.
Saladino noted how not many businesses in America can say they’ve been in business for 200 years, joking that, “I think Teddy Roosevelt was an intern here in his early years when he was in high school.”
The history of the mill goes way back to the early 1800s.
The original Jericho Cider Mill was located on Route 106 about half a mile north of Jericho Turnpike. George Doughty, was a Florida contractor whose grandfather and father owned the mill.
At the turn of the century, it was bought by George Doughty’s grandson, Benjamin Doughty. The mill’s big moneymaker for many decades was an alcoholic product called champagne cider. Unfortunately, the coming of prohibition in 1919 closed down the old cider mill. After the closing of the mill, another Jericho farmer, John Hicks, opened the cider mill about 1,000 feet farther south along Route 106. Hicks was a member of the
Long Island family whose members include the Quaker preacher Elias Hicks, and Valentine Hicks, one time president of the Long Island Railroad. Hicks produced vinegar and sweet cider until his death in the 1930s.
Farmer John Zulkofske then bought the mill from Hicks’ nephew .
John’s son, George worked at the mill and soon took over the mill from his father. The cider mill, a two-story white barn which presses more than 40,000 gallons of the sweet liquid each year.
The cider mill gets its apples from the Hudson Valley, one of the major apple producing areas in the country. The apples that are pressed for cider are washed and loaded into the Willmes press. They are grounded and pressed, and the cider is then pumped into tanks. After settling and chilling, the cider is filled into jugs, which are refrigerated until sold. The apple leftovers, called “mash”, are very high in nitrogen. Although some gardeners take away mash from the mill, about two truckloads weekly go to a gardening dump.
The mill is still famous for that cider, as well as its apple pies and apple cider donuts, too. The secret? Everything is all-natural, with no preservatives added.
Today, the tradition continues with employees that grew up at the mill. Ailing in health, George Zulkofske, who owned the Jericho Cider Mill since 1958, sold it in November of 2015 to Ted Ketsoglou (George’s wife, Agnes drove two hours to attend the celebration.) Ketsoglou’s family manufactured ice cream and distributed it, which he said gave him the experience to run the cider mill.
The Cider Mill is run by his son Kerry and Kerry’s wife Brianna. A alumni herself, a photo hangs on the wall of Brianna at age 16 working as a cashier. Her aunt, who also worked at the mill, had brought her along with her sister to help on days they didn’t have school. Kerry met his true love the day he first walked into the mill. The mill has upgraded some of its equipment to larger ovens to keep up with the volume, but the recipes will always stay the same.
As for the next 200 years, Ketsoglou said he plans to continue to grow the business, especially in its wholesale division and do what the cider mill does best: “Continue to give quality products for a fair price and continue to bring fresh ingredients down to the Long Island area.”