Buying Fresh Pies and Apple Cider has been a trademark for over 150 years.
The original Jericho Cider Mill, which was located on Route 106 about 1/2 a mile north of Jericho Turnpike, was started in the early 1800's. This earliest mill was directly west of the old barn north of the present cider mill on Route 106. George Doughty, a Florida contractor whose grandfather and father owned the mill, doesn't know exactly when the original mill was started, but recalls, "When I was a boy exploring the deep cider mill cellars, we came across cider dated and bottled in 1840, and I presume 1820 would be a fairly reasonable date."
The cider mill was a typical building of that era: it was a three-story wooden barn, the third story being a hayloft. The rock and brick foundation.
At the turn of the century, it was bought by George Doughty's grandson , Benjamin Doughty.The mill's big moneymaker for many decades had been an alcoholic product called champagne cider. George Doughty recalled seeing his father and grandfather making champagne cider before the advent of electrical equipment. "The apples were ground in a pulverize driven by a small ancient vertical steam engine, which was one of the first steam devices in the area. Then the apples were pressed by a manually operated screw jack press." Originally these screws were wooden; later they were forged by the local blacksmith. Poles approximately 10 feet long were used to turn the screws. The cider was casked and aged in cellars and tunnels dug into the hill alongside Route 106. After aging and fermenting, this champagne cider was filtered and bottled with wire corks identical to those used in champagne bottles.
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 1000 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 1930's.
"Farmer" John Zulkofske a farmer in Long Island then bought the mill from Hicks' nephew .
The development of the horseless carriage greatly increased motor traffic causing the picturesque Route 106 to be widened and straightened, in 1958 the Cider Mill was moved to allow for the new Rout 106 . "Farmer" Johns son George joined the mill working with other family members and soon took over the mill from his father . The cider mill, a two-story white barn presses more than 40,000 gallons of the sweet liquid each year, George who purchased a German-made Willmes cider press. The air-powered press is capable of pressing 3000 gallons of cider in ten hours
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 big tanks in the mill's attic. After settling and chilling, this cider is gravity fed 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 advice for those connoisseurs who are afraid that if they buy too much cider at one time it might ferment. "Since our cider is natural and contains no preservatives, we have customers who drive long distances to buy our product. To those who fear their cider will ferment, we say keep it as cold as possible. They can even freeze it. We have some frozen cider at home that is three years old, and when we defrost it, it tastes like it was pressed this week."
So today, even though Hudson Valley apples have replaced local Russets, and a large air-powered press has taken over for the horse-powered press, customers faithfully continue to visit the Jericho Cider Mill and buy, as one century-old history book describes it, "the pure, and unrefined
Later on about 1968 George remembers his mother making apple pies for the holidays and asked his mother to make some extra pies so he could sell them in the store. The first 5 pies were sold out in the first day , lines formed outside building to have a taste of mamas pies . Today the recipe continues and the pies are made the same way as they were made when George's mother made the pies and made in the same kitchen that she baked the first pies . Today the tradition continues with employees that grew up at the mill and Agnes Zulkofske the wife of the late George Zulkofske can be seen making candy apples in the kitchen. Georges daughter Debbie has worked at the front counter since she’s been a little girl and continues to do so .
The mill has upgraded some of its equipment to larger ovens to keep up with the volume Kerry Ketsoglou describeds general manger of the cider mill, but the recipes will always stay the same……