It has been unseasonably (and bitterly) cold for the last week or so here in the Pioneer Valley. The high yesterday might have been 30 degrees - in the sun. And with the windchill, it feels even colder - more like 20. So we're looking for any and all ways to stay warm. Today that amounted to a drive in Mr. valleywriter's car that has heated seats (or "butt warmers" as I like to call them) out to Bashista Orchards & Cider Mill in Southampton for some local apple cider and freshly made cider doughnuts.
Bashista Orchards & Cider Mill is located on East Street in Southampton. Bashista's grows its own apples, peaches, pears, plums and cherries. A large white barn houses the farm stand, which sells not only the fruits from the orchards, but also seasonal vegetables, jellies, pies, salad dressings, honey and more.
In the fall, Bahsista's also makes and sells its own apple cider and cider doughnuts. If you don't know what a cider doughnut is, I seriously feel for you. Come September, they are a New England institution. These wonderful little brown circles of goodness are brown and crispy on the outside and soft and cakey on the inside. They're made with apple cider (hence the name), so they have a slight hint of apple flavor and are perfect for munching on while sipping a cup of warm milled cider.
I think Homer Simpson's "Mmmm... doughnuts...." saying may have come from the experience of smelling fresh cider doughnuts hot out of the pan. At least, that's how I felt the minute I stepped into Bashista's. We followed our noses to the back counter, where we found an array of freshly made doughnuts. Bashista's has the two main types of cider doughnuts - plain and sugar coated - as well as some new-to-us varieties like "apple crisp" and "pumpkin." We picked out a small pack of the traditional sugar and a small pack of pumpkin, along with a quart of apple cider, and headed back home to enjoy.
We mulled the cider by letting it simmer in a saucepan with a packet of mulling spices for about 20 minutes. We sat down and dug in (after Mr. valleywriter set up this beautiful shot for you):
The doughnuts tasted just as wonderful as they had smelled in the shop. The pumpkin variety had just the slight hint of pumpkin, certainly not overpowering. They were a nice change of pace, but I have to admit the traditional sugar doughnuts still have a special place in my heart and always will.