Meet Geoff Thompson Of Thompson's Cider Mill And Orchard In Croton-On-Hudson
PR powerhouse Geoff Thompson spends his off-hours indulging his passion for apple cider.
Photos by Ken Gabrielsen
Geoff Thompson has a thing for apple cider. In fact, he’s a little obsessed with it. Though his “day job” is working as partner of leading public relations firm Thompson & Bender, he also runs Thompson’s Cider Mill, which consumes pretty much all of his free time. “It’s a hobby that got out of control,” jokes Thompson, who has been making apple cider now for nearly 40 years.
He stumbled upon it in 1975, when Ossining’s Teatown Lake Reservation (where he was working part-time) hosted a special event to make cider from antique presses. After his first sip of the fresh, hand-pressed cider, Thompson was hooked. “The taste was unbelievable; each apple had different characteristics and aroma, and blending them together was so interesting,” he says. He bought his own hand press and kicked off a hobby, sharing his cider with friends and coworkers. He had “an American moment,” he says, when a coworker said she would pay for the cider, and he began producing and selling it from a barn behind the house he was renting near Teatown.
Several iterations later, Thompson’s Cider Mill now sits on a five-acre property in Croton-on-Hudson and cranks out 200 to 250 gallons of cider each weekend from September through December. It’s a year-round, hands-on operation: Thompson himself tends to the more than 500 trees on the property (some 30 varieties of apples) throughout each season. And it’s not a get-rich-quick scheme. “I joke that I have to run my other business [Thompson & Bender] to support the cider mill,” he says.
So what keeps him going? Seeing his original customers come back with their children—and even grandchildren—is a big motivator, he says. “I get such a reward from hearing people say ‘Thank you for doing this; we love it,’” he says. “That inspires me to carry on.”