Cider Bellies Doughnuts

Get 'em while they're hot!

Doughnuts, made fresh, at Cider Bellies located at Moulton Farm

There's a treat in store for you if you happen to be driving along Route 25 in Meredith. Turn right off 25 into Moulton's Farm Stand on Quarry Road. Next to the farm stand you'll see the newly constructed Cider Bellies Doughnut Stand, owned and operated by Jessica Stevens, wife of farm stand manager Rob Stephens. Jessica, an attractive, young and energetic entrepreneur, brought the concept of the cider bellies from her hometown of Albany, N.Y. Upstate New York is famous for its apples. (It was when living in Buffalo and Rochester I first heard the residents referred to as "Upstate Apple Knockers"!)

While revisiting Albany with her husband Rob, she introduced him to the Cider Bellies, an upstate phenomenon. Seeing people lined up to purchase them, the couple got the idea of "why not in New Hampshire?" And what better spot to feature the delectable pastries than at Moulton Farm, where cider is sold. As a mom (baby Gracie is now 4), Jessica wanted to find a "stay-at-home" job, so the doughnut concept was very attractive. Her whole family became enthusiastic about the idea; her brother designed the logo, her father and siblings travel from Albany on weekends and can be seen at the stand sugaring the doughnuts, passing out samples and assisting with packaging and selling.

What makes the Cider Bellies so special? Jessica says she currently uses 50-pound bags of commercial mix, but then, smiling, says "I do have special ingredients that I add to the mix, and then, of course, there's the cider." The special ingredients remain secret! The batter is mixed in a commercial mixer and then fed down a tube that shapes the doughnut and drops it into the hot fat. It travels along the bubbling fat and emerges as a perfectly fried doughnut. They are sold plain or hand-dipped in a cinnamon-sugar mixture. They are best eaten when still warm. The tangy, almost-nutty flavor is unlike any other doughnut I've eaten. (A friend confessed she had bought three for her husband but the doughnuts never made it home.) The machine is capable of producing 31 dozen doughnuts an hour.

Cider Bellies is open Thursday-Sunday from 8 a.m.- 2 p.m.

I can't think of a better way to celebrate a glorious New Hampshire fall morning than with a cup of Moulton's Woodshed Roasted steaming hot coffee or a cup of cider, and a warm, sugar-cinnamon coated crispy cider bellie (or two!).

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