Here are answers to some frequently asked questions at the Cider Mill:

Q: Do you allow public apple picking?

A: Unfortunately, no. We do not have sufficient parking to accommodate cars of people while they are picking. Further, we have limited quantities of many varieties and need them for our own sales and cider and with our staff tied up in the cider mill, we can’t control what is or isn’t being picked in the orchard.

Q: Do you have children’s parties? Do you have school visits?

A: No. We are open weekends only and we are very busy. Also, as mentioned in previous answer, we have limited parking and staff and the cider mill itself is too small to accommodate parties.

Q: Can we watch the cider making?

A: Yes. We make cider Saturday mornings beginning at 10. The process typically lasts about 2-3 hours. We offer explanations of what is happening and answer questions between each “pressing.” It is worth noting that the new crushing system we installed last season emits a loud shrill noise as the apples are turned to pulp for juicing, so be prepared to put up with some noise during that phase of the processing!

Q: Is the cider “treated?”

A: Yes. The State of New York requires that all cider be Pasteurized or passed by ultra-violet light to kill any potentially harmful bacteria. We use an ultra- violet light system that does not impact the flavor of the cider in any way.

Q: How long does cider keep?

A: Using ultra-violet light significantly extends the shelf-life of the cider. As always, the cider must be refrigerated. But it will keep for three weeks and possible longer before it begins to breakdown (get “fizzy”) through natural fermentation.

Q: Should apples be kept in the refrigerator?

A: Absolutely. They look pretty sitting out in a bowl, but the soften up quickly in a warm house. To keep them crisp and good for eating, keep them cold.

Q: Are all varieties available all the time?

A: No. There are early, mid-season and late ripening varieties. Picking starts in early September and continues through the end of October. Many of the early varieties are sold out or don’t hold their crispness far into the season. The late ripening varieties, by definition, come in later. They also tend to keep longer. When we open in September we have about 8 or 10 varieties. By early November we typically have 25 varieties available.

Q: Is Thanksgiving the last day you’re open for the year?

A: No. We are open the Saturday and Sunday of the Thanksgiving weekend. Therefore, the last day of the 2011 season will be Sunday Nov. 27. (We are not open Thanksgiving Friday.)

Q: Is there a way to enjoy your cider all year long?

A: Yes. Freeze it in the jug. Pour a cup off the top and freeze it solid. When you’re ready to drink it, give it a day to thaw. The taste is good as the day it was pressed. We have many loyal customers who freeze 20-plus gallons of Thompson’s Cider and enjoy it year round!

Copyright © Thompson's Cider Mill and Orchard -- 335 Blinn Road, Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520 -- (914) 271-2254