That oh so crisp feeling is in the air. You breathe in and your lung takes in air that seems to be so fresh, so pure. Leaves crinkle beneath your feet and you crave that hot cup of cider. Your mind immediately turns to getting your pumpkins, your gourds, your Indian corn, getting jugs upon jugs of cider, and baking some amazing apple pies. Normally, we’ll head out to take part in our fall festivities near the middle of October, but we needed our autumnal fix early.
Pigs, Pumpkins, Gourds, Corn, and Mums
We first hit up Jones Pumpkinseed Hill, about 1.7 miles away from Jones Vineyard in Shelton. Parking wasn’t too bad even though it was busy, so that was nice. We immediately grabbed a rolling cart so we could haul away our prized finds and then we entered. There’s a little store to the left where you purchase all your goods, to the right you can find gourds, flowers, and even buy Jones Wines. You can’t sample the wines, though…you’ll have to check out their vineyard for that. Then, a little bit farther back to the left are seemingly limitless pumpkins. To help you out, they are arranged by size: small, medium, and large. There’s even a pumpkin patch…is this where The Great Pumpkin is, Charlie Brown?
Also, all around Jones Pumpkinseed Hill you’ll find many fun things for kids to do, so it’s a nice place to take the family if you so choose. While everything was beautiful and popping full of color, three little piggies stole the show and our heart. These little guys were in their pen and were digging through the mud, trying to find a snack. Their tails wagged back and forth at supersonic speeds. The kids and the big adult kids couldn’t help but stare at them. We probably spent about 15 minutes just watching them.
By the time we were done, we had purchased two large pumpkins, a small pumpkin, a set of Indian corn, various gourds, and even two sets of mums. All of this didn’t cost that much…definitely not as much as we would have paid if we hit up our local grocery store. We pulled the cart back, loaded up the car, then set the navigation to Beardsley’s Cider Mill.
Cider, Donuts, Pumpkin Butter, and Apple Crumb Pie
We arrived at just the right time: a spot opened up. Yes, the apple gods had come through for us again. Immediately, we got on line, then began to think of our strategy. See, our friend David Plain (we hung at Bodega for a review) told us about how they had killer cider, amazing pies, and some of the best apple cider donuts that man has ever created. We trust him (especially all his info on Breaking Bad), so we made sure that we got a little bit of everything.
We got hot apple cider that was full of spicy flavor and hit the spot. This helped us while we waited, giving us the energy and the fortitude to survive a few minutes before we bit into those donuts. Along the way, we saw there were fresh jams and preserves from their farm, as well as other jams, maple syrup, honey and even more from other local farms. So, we’ve got hot apple cider, we’ve got some cold apple cider, and we’ve got pumpkin butter, and we’ve got apple butter. Just a note: their apple cider is treated by UV to kill off possible contaminants, it isn’t pasterurized. You can even ask for your apple cider totally pure, totally untreated. This is the good stuff you’d use to make some hard apple cider of your own.
Ah, and wouldn’t you know it…we got to order! We got two apple cider donuts to share and an apple crumb…oh man, the lady before us took the last apple crumb pie. Easy, easy, says the woman behind the counter. She suggested that we just buy one of their frozen apple crumb pies and just bake it. So, we followed her advice.
When we got back to the car, it was on like Donkey Kong. We opened up the donut bag and it seemed that we heard trumpets play, far off in the distance as a light shone upon us. Seriously people…these donuts are great. They are light, have lots of give, and are so moist. Best part, though? They actually taste like apple cider was used in making them. That’s always been a disappointing discovery: apple cider donuts that don’t taste a thing like apple cider.
Later that night, we gently placed our apple crumb pie on a cookie sheet then put it right in the middle rack of the oven. We baked it for around 1:20, though it could have probably gone a bit longer for us. What came out was great, despite having been frozen. The crumb topping was big and crunchy and added such a nice contrast to the sweet apples inside that were coated in a nice and thick buttery sauce.
One last thing: they are also well known for their apples, so pick up some of those and even pick your own! Well, we needed to get home, but just a few minutes away you could also stop by Jones Family Vineyard for some tastings and to check out the beautiful property. All in all, this is the perfect plan for the perfect fall day.
Jones Pumpkinseed Hill? Check.
Beardsley Cider Mill? Check.
Jones Family Vineyard? Check.
Three more reasons to enjoy the season? Check, check, check.
Jones Pumpkinseed Hill Farm
Address: 120 Beardsley Road
Shelton, CT 06484
Phone: (203) 929-8425
Beardsley’s Cider Mill and Orchard
Adress: 278 Leavenworth Road
Shelton, CT 06484
Address: (203) 926-1098