The Jericho Cider Mill, a two-story white barn where gallons of cider are pressed each season is celebrating its 200th birthday. Even with the coronavirus pandemic it remains a joyful place, where people go to purchase homemade pies and cider but also, to reminisce.
“People who come here are happy, love the fall and they talk about their visits here from 20 to 30 years ago,” said Brianna Ketsoglou, 27, who has been working at the mill since she was 15. “It’s authentic here. We make our own pies and cider the same way we always have. When people come in, being here sparks their memories and they are happy.”
Ailing in health, George Zulkofske, who owned the Jericho Cider Mill since 1958, sold it in November 2015 to Ted Ketsoglou. His family manufactured ice cream and distributed it, which Ted said gave him the experience to run the cider mill.
Brianna met Ted’s son, Kerry, at the retirement party for Zulkofske. They fell in love and married five years ago. Brianna, a case worker for the Town of Oyster Bay, continues to work before and after work at the cider mill, as well as on weekends because she said she loves working there.
“My life wouldn’t be full without being here. I even used to come home on weekends to work here when I went to the Mount St. Mary’s in Newburgh,” she said. “The bakery is upstairs. They always appreciated it when I carried the pies up and down the stairs.”
Ted has expanded the store a bit and there are tables and chairs outside to make the atmosphere more festive, he said. Kerry, who is in charge of selling wholesale, has been successful, with production and volume increasing. The cider is sold in every supermarket on Long Island and in Queens, Ted said, and also at farm stands. But little else has changed.
“We still have the original 40-year-old window where people can watch cider being made,” Ted said. “We press 14 gallons a day four to five times a week.”
Foot traffic has increased, he said, with roughly 100 people lined up waiting on the weekends. The lines move quickly, but there are plans in two weeks to add television screens for those waiting. They will be able to watch what is going on inside as the cider is being made.
Ted is still considering how the cider mill will celebrate its birthday. “We had wanted to do something for our 200th birthday, he said, “and had talked to the town and Muttontown. I’m 50-50 about it now because of Covid. We will probably do something small.”