7 Apple Cider Donuts that Will Change Your Fall Life

Don’t cry because summer’s over. Smile because apple cider donut season is officially here. • Photo by 303eatschi

I’m a New Englander through and through, which means I’m serious about my donuts—apple cider donuts, that is. And while there will never be a donut better than the ones fried fresh at (shout out alert) Ipswich, MA’s Russell Orchards, Long Island’s North and South Forks have some serious contenders. Here are the ones you should really seek out this season.

1. Harbes Family Farm

A day at Mattituck’s Harbes is really an adventure in and of itself. People with children already know about this not-so-secret secret, where $17 will gain you entrée into a corn maze, petting zoo, and plenty other child-friendly activities. If you’re feeling cheap, though, you can line up for the affordable roast corn (served with hot butter) and better-than-average cider donuts ($1.25), which may not be piping hot but are still light, airy, and apple-centric.

Harbes Family Farm, 715 Sound Avenue, Mattituck, (631) 298-0800, open weekends, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. in season. 

2. Fairview Farm at Mecox

The Ludlow family has made their farm an annual destination for the corn-minded—their maze is, debatably, the most elaborate on the East End. If you’re as prone to getting lost as I am (and here I will confess that I was stuck in the corn maze for so long last year that the owners had to come rescue me before dark), you’ll need sustenance for the hike. Thankfully, you can get a bag of warm donuts at the seasonal stand right before the maze’s entrance. You’ll finish the tiny fritters before the grease has a chance to stain the paper.

Fairview Farm at Mecox, 19 Horsemill Lane, Bridgehampton, (631) 537-6154, open Thursday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in season. 

3. Wickham’s Fruit Farm

Yes, Wickham’s is the go-to destination for u-pick fruit (they’re the only u-pick cherry orchard on the East End), and their shortening-based fruit pies are practically perfect in every way. But don’t discount the donuts! Fresh-baked cider donuts are small and moist, and they’re not too sweet. Bags filled with six of these little guys are made fresh every day except Sunday. If you’re anything like me, you’ll need an extra bag—you know, for the drive home.

Wickham’s Fruit Farm, 28700 Main Road, Cutchogue, (631) 734-6441, open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

4. The Milk Pail

Known for their incredible homegrown apples, Water Mill’s Milk Pail is the South Fork standard-bearer for apple cider donuts. If you’re thinking of doing something crazy, like picking your own apples and attempting your own donuts, this is the place to find your fruit. But if you’re far less adventurous and prefer your donuts already made, Milk Pail is for you. Donuts are more cakey than doughy, and don’t suffer from too much sugar. Best of all? You can get these treats all year long, even when it feels like every other vendor has abandoned the Hamptons for warmer climes.

The Milk Pail, 1346 Montauk Highway, Water Mill, (631) 537-2565, open Wednesday through Monday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. 

5. Shade Trees Nursery

Does a nursery seem like a strange place to grab a cider donut? Well, I don’t care, because these donuts are incredible, and also, they have a pet pig named Bit who likes to bask in the sun near the front door. These donuts are thick and airy and taste exactly like apple cider. Be careful when leaving—Bit’s a fan of donuts, too.

Shade Trees Nursery, 1875 Main Road, Jamesport, (631) 722-4041, open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

6. Hank’s Pumpkintown

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You may not be in the mood to fight the throngs of people to get a parking space at Hank’s, but the $1 donuts really are worth it. Hank’s is a daylong experience. In between corn mazing, apple picking, pumpkin picking, and gold mining, hungry fall lovers can make their way to the giant concession building, where, among cupcakes, ciders, and other assorted treats, are some really affordable, really fresh, and really delicious apple cider donuts, home made—as the sign will tell you—since 2008.

Hank’s Pumpkintown, 240 Montauk Highway, Water Mill, (631) 726-4667, open daily 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. in season. 

7. Greenport Harbor Brewing Company

A brewing company might not be your first destination when you’re thinking apple cider donuts, but really, maybe it should be. Donuts here are bigger-than-fist-sized, with a flaky brioche center and a drippy dollop of apple butter on top. Are they actually made with cider, or are they just super apple-y? Truthfully, I don’t care, because this is an excellent donut that you should probably eat several times before the season is over.

Greenport Harbor Brewing Company, 42155 Main Road, Peconic, (631) 477-1100, open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday through Sunday 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.