If fresh apples and fresh air aren’t enough of an enticement to visit a Long Island farm store during harvest season, the promise of freshly baked or fried cider doughnuts should seal the deal.
Served plain, glazed, or sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, cider doughnuts have a slightly acidic tang and a tender texture, both of which come from the cider in the batter. Some area orchards, including the ones below, have become almost as famous for this treat as they are for the fruit from their trees. Call ahead to make sure they haven't run out.
Breeze Hill Farm (31215 County Road, Peconic): Breeze Hill Farm has 30 acres of apple orchards and a lovely farm stand that sells freshly picked fruits and veggies along with highly regarded apple cider doughnuts of the cakey variety. More info: 631-876-5159, breezehillfarmpreserve.com
Fairview Farm at Mecox (19 Horsemill Lane, Bridgehampton): The Ludlow family grows vegetables and flowers, raises heritage pigs and pastured chickens, and debuts a new, themed corn maze every fall at the waterside farm. It is well known for from-scratch pies and breads. The cider doughnuts are made from scratch as well, never from a mix. Nor are they coated with sugar, since the family feels they are perfect as is, fresh from the fryer. More info: 631-537-6154, fairviewfarmatmecox.com
Hallock’s Cider Mill (1960 Main Rd., Jamesport): This family-owned cider mill has a store stocked with house-made jam, apple butter, pickles, and fruit syrups. The baked goods, including pies and breads, are exceptional. Hallock’s, surprisingly, doesn’t sell apple cider doughnuts. But it does sell apple fritters and doughnuts filled with apple pie filling that are pretty amazing. More info: 631-298-1140
Harbes Farm (715 Sound Ave., Mattituck): This large North Fork farm boasts a 78-acre orchard featuring 27 apple varieties including New York-only Ruby Frosts and Snapdragons. There’s a wine store, an ice cream shop, picnic tables, and a playground. In the barnyard area, you can pet baby animals, watch pig races, and take a hayride with a guitar-playing guide. The farm store does a brisk business in airy cider doughnuts, as well as fruits, vegetables, flowers, and honey from its apiary. More info: 631-298-0800, harbesfamilyfarm.com
Jericho Cider Mill (213 Rt. 106, Jericho): At this old-fashioned cider mill, some of the product is used to bake—never fry-- moist cider doughnuts. They are sold by the piece and in 5-packs at the cider mill as well as other retail outlets around Long Island. A variety of other apple products, all house-made, are available at the mill, including pie, salsa, and apple butter. More info: 516-433-3360, jerichocider.com
Kerber’s Farm (309 W. Pulaski Rd., Huntington): Originally a poultry farm and pie stand, this circa 1940 business now serves gourmet baked goods and house-packaged foods with a country feel. The cider doughnuts, light and crisp, are available on weekends. Enjoy them in the backyard garden, where free-range chickens wander in and out of the coop. More info: 631-423-4400, kerbersfarm.com
The Milk Pail (1346 Montauk Hwy., Watermill): Over 20 varieties of apples are grown at the Halsey family’s Milk Pail orchards. After you pick your own (or pick up a bag of just-picked) Braeburns or Pink Ladies, stop by the store for apple cider doughnuts. There is an entrancing machine that drops doughnut batter into hot oil, so you can watch yours being made. They don’t come fresher than this. More info: 631-537-2565, milk-pail.com
Wickham’s Fruit Farm (28700 Main Rd., Cutchogue): If you want to taste apple history, visit this farm, which was established in 1661 and includes some of the oldest continually cultivated land in the country. The cider here is made on Long Island’s oldest cider press. Plain, sugar, and cinnamon-sugar cider doughnuts are sold singly and in bags of six, Monday through Saturday. More info: 631-734-6441, wickhamsfruitfarm.com
Woodside Orchards (729 Main Rd., Aquebogue): Woodside Orchards grows 28 varieties of apples, from which it blends its lauded cider. There’s plenty left over to make excellent cider doughnuts. Woodside also offers a selection of hard ciders, which can be sampled in flights or pints and taken home in growlers. More info: 631-722-5770, woodsideorchards.com