If you’ve ever driven to Crane Beach in Ipswich, MA, chances are you’ve been to Russell Orchards, or at the very least seen the roadside wooden sign that marks the entrance and the seasonal items in stock. Russell’s has two of my favorite farm amenities: pick-your-own and a farm store. The store is well-stocked and includes fruits and vegetables, their own fruit wines and cider, baked goods, breads, honey and maple syrup, cider pops, fudge, and more.
One momentous day last summer, I decided to combine two of my favorite sweet treats that Russell’s offers: cider donuts and ice cream. I grabbed a donut from the tray, paid for it, and brought it to the ice cream window and asked if they would top it with ice cream. Every time I’ve done it, the reaction of the teenage ice cream scooper is the same, slight confusion, followed by the understanding of how awesome this creation could be.
It seemed a natural progression to add donuts to the roster of baked goods that are combined with ice cream-cookies, brownies, and blondies. I thought the spice-y and caramel flavors of the donut would meld well with a vanilla ice cream, reminiscent of a warm apple cider with whipped cream on top. It’s definitely a winner, though there are superior cider donuts elsewhere that would make the end result even better.
Cider Hill Farm in Amesbury, MA takes top prize thus far in donuts that I’ve tried. Theirs is the donut in my Twitter background. They are moist, cakey, and drenched in cinnamon and sugar. One of their donuts straight from the fryer topped with vanilla ice cream would be heavenly, with the warm donut melting the ice cream slightly and the cinnamon and sugar swirling throughout. I actually saw a cider donut ice cream flavor at Smolak Farms in North Andover, but it pales in comparison to the do-it-yourself version.
143 Argilla Road
Ipswich, MA 01938
Cider Hill Farm
45 Fern Ave
Amesbury, MA 01913