For Kathy Bock, apple cider doughnuts are more than a fall treat—they're a family tradition. She's the second-generation owner of Honey Hill Orchard, where thousands of people come every autumn weekend to enjoy a day in the country, topped off with a glass of fresh-pressed cider and a doughnut. She told us the story of her family's farm and showed how she's keeping the tradition alive. The equipment may have changed, but she still uses mom's old recipe.
This interview has been edited for clarity.
The Story of Honey Hill
The orchard started as a hobby with my dad. In the mid-1960s they bought this farm. He wanted to plant just a few apple trees for the family. As the trees started producing, my parents started selling apples out of their garage in brown paper grocery bags. Neighbors would come and buy apples from us.
We consider 1977 the year that it became a business. Cider pressing started in 1977, and we opened up a little bitty store where we could sell apples and cider. From there it's just continued to grow.
About 35 years ago we put in a small kitchen and started frying doughnuts. We had to hand-crank the machine to have it drop doughnuts into a little square fryer, and then we had to flip the doughnuts with some sticks. Nothing was automated, and we'd make two dozen doughnuts at a time. In the early 2000s, we got another fryer that's more automated. It drops the doughnuts into the fryer and flips them.
When we needed more space, we decided to convert the barn, which was built sometime in the 1880s. People love to come and look at the barn—to look at the old beams and see how it was constructed. With this old barn, we keep the farm history. Every year we have so many people who say, "Please don't change a thing. We love being able to come to what feels like a farm." And we have people who say, "My parents used to bring me when I was a kid, and now I'm bringing my kids."
Today, Honey Hill Orchard is a family destination. We like to say that we help people make family memories. We've put in more apple trees, pumpkins and a fall raspberry. On weekends we do wagon rides out to the orchard and out to the pumpkin fields. And we have an area where we serve doughnuts and cider pies. In a weekend, thousands of people come out to enjoy a day in the country.