After much deliberation, I decided to return to Cider Hill Farm this year for apple picking and a serious dose of apple cider donuts. It was unseasonably warm this past Saturday for late September. Part of me was turned off by the idea of picking apples in shorts and sweat-inducing heat, though I had done it once before. Fall weather is so finnicky, one week it is a tad too warm, and then before you know it, the season is on its way out. We decided to endure the warm weather and go while the picking was still good. I considered trying a new farm, but none of the suggestions I received sounded as good as Cider Hill. Until I find a donut that rivals theirs, I’m sticking to what I know I like.
We followed the farm employee’s directions across the road and up the hill to where the picking was best. I have to tell you, I have an undying love for Empire apples. I love their taste and texture and they never let me down. There were no Empires to be found on this day, so I was forced to venture outside of my apple comfort zone. The first few rows in the patch were Cortland. I have always thought of Cortlands as a baking apple, but I tried one off the tree and it was delicious – sweet, crisp and juicy. It ended up being my favorite apple of the varieties available. Other varieties included Braeburn, Honeycrisp (which I do not get all the hype about. I don’t think they taste good), Melrouge, Mutsu, and more.
I was thrilled when I discovered Bartlett pear trees in the last few rows of the orchard. I love apples but pears hold much more novelty for me because of their shorter growing season and because, unlike apples, you need to wait for Bartletts to ripen off the tree.
After filling a bag with several pounds of apples and pears, we moved on to the part of the day that I had been looking forward to for weeks: the donuts.
Cider Hill’s donuts are truly phenomenal. There is always a long line to get them, but luckily the line moves fairly quickly, and they seem to never stop churning donuts out of the fryer. Which is a good thing as most people purchase at least a dozen if not more. That gap in the donuts above would be the dozen donuts we had just loaded up into our bag.
Last year I bought a dozen for myself and entered into an unintentional donut eating competition with my friend Sean. This year, I was a little more conservative and Dave and I decided to split a dozen. A fellow donut enthusiast on line referred to them as “legalized crack.” That is not far from the truth.
Warm out of the fryer, these donuts have a slightly crispy outside, with additional crunch supplied by the hefty coating of sugar and cinnamon. The inside is airy and cakey with a subtle cider flavor. Yes they are heavily fried, but they are not dense and they are not greasy. Their texture is perfect.
Aren’t they a beauty?
Be forewarned, this is what your fingers will look like after your own personal Donut Fest.
These are without a doubt the best cider donuts I have found in the Boston area. At around 50 minutes from Boston, it’s a pretty reasonable trip to make for such an amazing treat. I am still very curious what other donuts are lurking out there that I haven’t found yet. If there are any gems you know of, please share. In the meantime, I will happily get my donut fix at Cider Hill.d
45 Fern Avenue