The Cider Donuts Left Behind
I’m doing a terrible job at separating myself from the Capital Region. What can I say, I’m a creature of habit. And one of my habits, thanks to Stanford Steph, is that every fall I organize a tour of regional orchards to evaluate their apple cider donuts.
These donuts are a regional treasure. But donuts are also terrible for you. So, it you are going to indulge, I think it’s important to make sure you are eating something that is truly worth the calories. Most of them are, as the experience of eating warm cider donuts on a crisp autumn day is generally more about the feeling of the season than its culinary potential.
Still, not all cider donuts are created equal. Some are great. However, in order to find the great ones, an intrepid band of eaters has to head into the wilderness and spend a day eating donuts. Maybe this year you will join the FLB and its special guest tour director.
But before any of that can happen, it’s time once again for cider donut nominations.
First, we have to consider the cider donut tours that have already been decided. The inaugural year we went to Indian Ladder Farms, Altamont Orchards, Fo Castle, Lakeside Farms and Bowman. Indian Ladder narrowly won over Altamont Orchards.
Year two sent our group east of the Hudson to Zachary’s, Goold’s, Golden Harvest, Samascott and LoveApple Farm. Golden Harvest won handily, but Goold’s might have been a contender had their donuts been served warm.
Year three went a little crazy with a 120 mile loop of Liberty Ridge, Saratoga Apple, Reggie’s, Hicks-Wilson, Sutton’s. It was worth it for Hicks-Wilson’s awesome warm oil-poached specimen.
So where haven’t we gone? Plenty of places that many people love and have sworn by for years. Just because they may be smaller, or a little off the beaten path, doesn’t make them any less good. In fact, smaller is often better.
Yes, there are some places east of the Hudson or even further upstate that were passed over. However, I want to stick a little bit closer to home on this go around. What I learned last fall is that if we don’t keep the driving manageable, only the hardiest of the hardy come out to play.
There are two actual apple orchards that were left out from previous rounds, and they deserve a spot on the tour. Perhaps there are even more that I’m missing.
Riverview Orchards – Rexford
Devoe’s Rainbow Orchard – Clifton Park
Riverview has their donut making operation behind glass so visiting throngs of onlookers can be mesmerized by the machinery making the memories. There are also a whole heap of farm stands that are part of our seasonal landscape which may also be worth a shot.
Shaker Shed – Albany
Gade Farm – Guilderland
Yonder Farms Cider Mill – Albany
Ellms Farm – Ballston Spa
Lansing’s Farm – Niskayuna
West Shaker Farm – Albany
Lindsey’s Country Store – Clifton Park
In the past we’ve let bakeries compete. Both Schuyler and Bella Napoli have outposts east of the Hudson. These could make the competition interesting. But I think we have enough ground to cover with the farm stands and the orchards. Maybe next year we can do a tour just of the bakeries and the remaining farm stands.
The question was raised about the Apple Cider CroDo from The Crisp Cannoli. I’m sure it’s delicious. It sounds remarkable. And I’m sure it would blow the cheap, simple and plentiful cider donuts out of the water. But that would be like racing a Ferrari against an MG. The MG is a handsome machine, but it just can’t compete.
It’s time to get excited. It’s time to get hungry. Once I get a better sense of the crowd favorites, I’ll work on a footprint, reveal the mystery guest tour guide, and share the date.
Now it’s time to hear from you. Which five places that we’ve missed in the past should we try to evaluate this year? Feel free to use my list, or add to it. And please remember, this isn’t voting. The ultimate decisions are going to rest with me and the mystery guest tour guide. But all input is given serious consideration.
So as always, no whining.