Yankee Magazine honors Red Apple Farm doughnuts

Barbara M. Houle
 |  Correspondent

Apple cider doughnuts from Red Apple Farm in Phillipston won big in the recent 2020 Yankee Foods Awards: Celebrating the Makers of Iconic New England Foods, focusing on companies that ship their regional treats around the country.

The farm is one of 10 winners, six of which are Massachusetts-based food companies.

Congratulations go out to proud owners Al and Nancy Rose, who operate the fourth-generation family farm located at 455 Highland Ave., Phillipston. The entire farm team was “surprised, thrilled and flattered” to learn of the award, said Al Rose, who is a third-generation family member to live on the farm, started in 1912. His family took over the farm in 1929.

Last year, 100,000 of the cider doughnuts were sold at Red Apple Farm’s Country Store, 290,000 at the Boston Public Market and more than 43,000 at Wachusett Mountain ski area, according to Rose. Note: Red Apple Farm is a vendor at the Boston Public Market (https://bostonpublicmarket.org) four days a week.

Al Rose said the farmhouse and barn date back to the 1700s. He and his wife, Nancy, live in the original farmhouse. More than 50 varieties of apples, in addition to fruits and pumpkins are grown on the property. Open to the public year-round, the business includes a Country Store and the Brew Barn, where the farm’s hard cider is sold. Customers also can buy Moon Hill Brewing Company’s (Gardner) beer. The Brew Barn is open weekends during the fall season.

Call Red Apple Farm, (978) 249-6763, for more information about special events and weddings. Visit the website for family and farm history, photos and fall and winter hours.

Rose said while 2020 has been challenging amid the coronavirus, there also have been bright spots. Pick-your-own is an outdoor activity high in demand, he said. “We have all the systems in place to support a safe environment for our guests,” said Rose.

The business is a popular spot for fall barbecue and Thanksgiving harvest festivities, held this year with state guidelines and social distancing. Good news is that the farm’s Thanksgiving pies can be pre-ordered. Check the website and social media posts. Add a dozen or more doughnuts to your order!

The farm is a pickup site for Thanksgiving turkeys pre-ordered from Jordan Dairy Farms in Rutland (https://jordandairyfarms.com).

As for the Yankee Magazine awards, senior food editor Amy Traverso with two staffers chose the winners, with products ranging from sweets to seafood, to special-occasion splurges and supermarket staples. The goal was to bring the best flavors of New England to consumers, “food that we love to eat,” said Traverso. Samples from numerous companies were ordered and tested and winners were first alerted before Yankee Magazine officially made the announcement last month on its website, https://newengland.com/yankee-magaazine.

The Yankee Food Awards began eight years ago with lots of categories and 30 award winners the first year. The list is shorter now, said Traverso, whose decision “to go all in” with iconic foods from across New England in 2020 was mindful that this year is Yankee’s 85th anniversary. Yankee’s subscribers and nonsubscribers love all things New England, she said.

The magazine staff works a year ahead of publication and no one could have predicted that the food awards would coincide with a national surge of online shopping as a result of a coronavirus pandemic, said Traverso. “Local food in New England has always been in the spotlight, but now more than ever,” she said.

Traverso, who lives outside of Boston, said in a telephone interview that she is familiar with many of the state’s orchards and farms. “I’m a big fan of PYO orchards,” she said. She also shops farmers markets, and as a food editor and writer, knows the local restaurant scene inside and out. She said she once worked in Worcester at a local hospital.

About Red Apple Farm’s apple cider doughnuts, Traverso wrote: “While mail-order doughnuts may never beat the ones fresh out of the fryer (likely purchased as a pick-me-up on an afternoon spent wandering through the orchards), Red Apple Farm’s version holds up to the rigors of long-distance travel. Red Apple Farm makes its cider doughnuts fresh daily, year-round, using its own farm-pressed cider.”

Hot apple cider has no trustier sidekick than the apple cider doughnut, according to Traverso.

The photograph of Red Apple Farm’s cider doughnut in Yankee will move you to head out to the farm, if you haven’t already.

Massachusetts-based food award winners: Clam Chowder, Legal Sea Foods; Whoopie Pies, Chococoa Baking Company; Stuffed Quahogs, Cape Cod Stuffed Quahog Company; Fried Clams, Woodman’s; South Shore Bar Pizza, Cape Cod Café.

Also, Lobster Roll, The Clam Shack in Maine; Sharp Cheddar, Shelburne Farms in Vermont; Blueberry Pie, Michele’s Pies in Connecticut; Boston Brown Bread, B&M in Maine.

A self-described “New England gal,” Traverso worked for Yankee Magazine from 2002-2005, returning to the staff in 2011. She is co-host of the national public television series “Weekends with Yankee” and the award-winning author of “The Apple Lover’s Cookbook,” published by Yankee. She is former food editor of Boston Magazine and her work has been published in The Boston Globe, Salon.com and Travel & Leisure. She has appeared on “The Martha Stewart Show,” the Food Network’s “Throwdown with Bobby Flay,” Hallmark’s “Home & Family” and Gordon Ramsay’s “Kitchen Nightmares.”

I look forward to sharing several holiday recipes from Traverso and Yankee Magazine in a future column.

This year more than ever, it’s a good idea not to wait until the last minute to pre-order online food gifts. Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and you know what’s up next.

Thai Corner coming

Thai Corner is the new outdoor sign at space formerly occupied by Friends Café, 120 June St., Worcester.

The West side has had its share of restaurants at this location, including Dianna’s Neighborhood Bistro, which had a much longer run than Friends.

It’s a wait-and-see situation with this new one.

110 Grill has deal on kids meals

Kids eat free on Oct. 31 at 110 Grill locations.

The deal: Dine at 110 Grill and receive a complimentary kid’s meal (select from kids menu) with the purchase of an adult entrée. Show or mention the promotion to receive the discount. The offer cannot be combined with any other promotion.

If you have a tidbit for the column, call (508) 868-5282. Send email to [email protected]

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