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Cider and Doughnuts

By Phyllis

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

In the Midwest and on the east coast, cider and doughnuts are a fall tradition. I’m not sure how they came to be paired; it may just have been the discovery of how well they complement each other. There’s nothing like any icy cold glass of cider and a warm doughnut, preferably a donut covered in cinnamon sugar. I did find, however, a little bit about the origin of donuts and cider.

Fried dough has a long history, going back to ancient Romans and Greeks. In the United States, Native Americans also made round, thin disks of fried dough called fry bread. Some historians think the current shape of the donut dates back to the 16th century when Dutch immigrants in New York made fried balls of dough. There was a problem: the dough often did not cook all the way through. Their solution was to stuff the middle with fruit and nuts. Other historians, however, think the doughnut originated in England, with cookbooks dating back to the 16th century.

The doughnut shape we’re accustomed to, with a hole cut out in the middle to allow for the dough to cook all the way through, has been credited to an American sailor who poked a hole in the dough with the spoke of a wheel or a tin pepper can, although this theory has not been authenticated. In any case, doughnuts had become an integral part of American culture by 1850. Doughnuts were handed out to soldiers in both WWI and WWII; some women actually made doughnuts near the front lines in portable trailers equipped with coffee makers and a doughnut machine.

Cider also has a long history. The first recorded mention of doughnuts dates back to Julius Caesar who, in 55BC saw Britons making cider from crab apples. However, both the Britons and the Spanish were making cider before the birth of Christ.

Now that you’ve learned some history, we can get down to the good stuff: where to sample cider and doughnuts for yourself.

Dexter Cider Mill

3695 Central, Dexter, Michigan. Open 8-5 Wednesday through Sunday.

The mill has a store with fresh cider and doughnuts along with products made with apples and other fall fruits.

Blakes’s Lyon Township

1475 Silver Lake Rd, South Lyon, MI, Open Sunday through Thursday, 8-7, Friday and Saturday, 8-8

I went to Blake’s recently for an excellent glass of icy cold cider and warm doughnuts. My grandkids had cotton candy and we all shared some caramel kettle corn. A tip: Take cash. They have a store where you can use credit cards, but the line is usually long. For those with cash, there’s an outdoor booth where you can get cider, doughnuts, caramel apples and caramel corn if you have cash. There are picnic tables all over the grounds for you to sit and enjoy your purchases. They have a barn where you can buy chilled cider, a bunch of different kinds of hard cider, fresh apples, and other fall-themed treats using a credit card. They have plenty of activities for kids (for a fee), and a tent with hard cider, beer and wine for adults. You can also take a wagon out to the fields to pick your own apples. Blake’s has food trucks on the weekend and music Friday and Saturday evenings.

Wiard’s Orchard

5565 Merritt Rd, Ypsilanti Charter Twp, MI 48197, Open 9-6 Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday, Friday, 9am-11pm, Saturday 9am-10:30pm

You can get cider and doughnuts and visit the store for free. For a hefty entry fee, you can go to what they call a country fair with activities like a corn maze, petting zoo, miniature golf, etc.

Plymouth Orchards and Cider Mill and the Red Shed Market

10685 Warren Rd, Plymouth, MI 48170, Orchard open 9-7 daily; Market open 10-6 daily

Along with cider and doughnuts and the market, you can take a wagon ride to explore the farm and pet the animals; there is also a hay bale climb for the younger kids. Most weekends feature live music.


“The Country Housewife’s Family Companion” by William Ellis, 1750.

The Receipt Book of Baroness Dimsdale”, c. 1800 (2013; edited by Heather Falvey).”

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