Meet the Maker: Thomas Wilson

Occupation: Co-Owner & Cider Maker at Spirit Tree Estate Cidery

“When people drive up, they say it’s like being at a Tuscan winery,” says Thomas Wilson of visitors to Spirit Tree Estate Cidery. “That’s exactly the vibe we were going for.”

Spirit Tree Estate Cidery is a destination for food lovers that draws inspiration from Old World techniques and practices. “In Europe, farmers grow the food, churn the butter and make the pies,” says Thomas. “In the same vein, we built a bistro, farm store and cidery as well as a wood-fired oven.”

Part of Spirit Tree’s charm is how customers get there. Cyclists and horseback riders come off the trails, while cars, buses and motor homes arrive from the traditional roadways. One thing they all have in common – each customer is in for a gastronomic treat!

In the fall, Thomas recommends a crisp morning of apple picking, followed by a tantalizing meal at the bistro. To top it all off, a cider tasting before popping into the farm shop for a homemade apple pie and fresh artisan bread.

Tom and his team are passionate about food, which is clear when he talks about a typical Saturday. The bakery is in full swing, producing deep dish French quiche, all kinds of breads and treats, and pizza. This fall, the pizza special has caramelized onions, mozzarella, honey-roasted squash, goat cheese and pumpkin seeds. “Parents are always surprised that their kids love it,” says Tom. “We like coming up with unique dishes.”

Customer appreciation fuels Thomas and his wife, Nicole Judge through their busy days. Thomas tells of customers who carpool with their neighbours to buy their favourite breads, and the regulars who act as unofficial guides to new customers during the Christmas rush. “Our regular customers recommend what to try and what to buy when our staff is swamped,” says Thomas. “Their passion is humbling.”

For an Old-World experience right here in Ontario, visit the Spirit Tree Estate Cidery and savour indulgent meals, fresh-baked treats and pure local cider.

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