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10 Plus: Enjoying Cider Doughnuts in the Lakes Region

Kathi Caldwell-Hopper - June 14, 2013


Jessica Stephens runs the doughnut shop on the premises of Moulton’s Farm off Route 25 on Quarry Road in Meredith.

If you have never had a cider doughnut, you don’t know what you are missing. That is the opinion of Cider Bellies Doughnuts owner Jessica Stephens. Jessica runs the doughnut shop on the premises of Moulton’s Farm off Route 25 on Quarry Road in Meredith. She is always busy making doughnuts, talking with customers, and dreaming up new doughnut toppings. See or stop by the shop at Moulton’s Farm off Route 25 in Meredith.

1. How long have you lived in NH and what brought you here?

“I have been here for seven years. I am originally from Albany NY. I came here to go to Plymouth State University. I stayed after graduating and I now live in Meredith.”

2. What is your background; are you a chef?

“I was not a chef. I kind of always wanted to be a teacher. I had thought I would go back to Albany after college but I met and married my husband here. He is a manager at Moulton’s Farm and his career is here. So, we stayed in New Hampshire. We have two children and my 12 year-old son loves to work at the window of the shop selling doughnuts.”

3. How did you get interested in making cider doughnuts?

“I grew up having cider doughnuts. It’s a popular treat in New York. Where I come from, it was a fall tradition to go apple-picking and get a gallon of cider and have cider doughnuts. I asked my husband why Moulton’s Farm didn’t sell cider doughnuts and he had no idea what cider doughnuts were! He had never had them. Moulton’s said if I ever wanted to start up a business making and selling cider doughnuts, I could do it on their property.”

4. How does on make cider doughnuts? Where does the cider come from?

“When I decided to make and sell cider doughnuts, it was a learning curve. When we bought the doughnut machine, the owner came to our house and did a demonstration. We learned from that. Then we got together as a family and made doughnuts ’til we got a recipe that worked. It was a lot of trial and error and taste-testing. When we found a recipe that was as close to what we recalled having as kids, we latched on to it. We try our hardest to get cider from local orchards for our doughnuts.”

5. Why this kind of doughnuts? Are they popular with people?

“They are hard to come by around here, so they are more of a specialty item. A lot of people haven’t had fresh doughnuts. It’s a big difference; when you taste them you get hooked.”

6. How long have you been doing cider doughnuts at Moulton’s? How did you come upon this location?

“We started about September of 2011. This is our third season. We are open Friday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and in the summer we are also open on Thursdays. We only take the month of January off. We are open 11 months out of the year. We have a large following and we stay open at the Moulton’s Farm location in the winter.”

7. Are you busy in the summer, and what sort of people come back often for your doughnuts?

“In the summer, we have about a 45-minute wait, so that shows you how busy we are! As to what sort of people come, it’s locals and a lot of Massachusetts vacationers.”

8. Do you make other kinds of doughnuts too?

“We just do cider doughnuts. We put a variety of toppings on them. New this year we have chocolate, vanilla, and maple frosted doughnuts and we also do a cinnamon sugar topping.”

9. What do you do the rest of the week for work?
“I actually work seven days a week. I do childcare out of our home the rest of the week. I also work for my brother doing bookkeeping for his business, Stephens Landscaping.”

10. What do you love about the Lakes Region and what keeps you here?
“I love meeting new people, and the locals are so great here. In the off-season, the locals stay and talk to me when they stop by for doughnuts at the doughnut shop. I grew up in the city; I am used to walking around and not talking to people and not having the personal experience, so I love talking with friendly people.”

11. Is there anything new at the doughnut shop this year?

“The chocolate and vanilla frosted doughnuts are new. We just created those a few weeks ago. I try to focus on donating to local charities and we have already done a fundraiser for the Lakes Region Food Pantry. We call the charity events Doughnut Days; we raise money for charities.”

12. What do you think the Lakes Region will be like 10 years from now?

“It is hard to say. My stepfather was the superintendent at the Moultonborough School District. They did a lot of studies on people my age, in their early 30s. They found that many young people are leaving and more retirees are moving here. So I think we will see more retirees living here 10 years from now.”

13. What was your busiest day ever selling cider doughnuts? What time of year and how many customers?

“Our biggest week is Columbus Day Weekend. From Thursday through Sunday, we average 2,000 doughnuts a day during that particular weekend. We don’t have other locations right now, but we do events such as parties all the time.”

14. What plans are in your future?

“My sister and brother are in the process of opening their own Cider Bellies. We may franchise in the future. People are always asking if we are franchised.” 

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