There's no mistaking what's in season at Cherry Hill Farm and Orchard's market in Clinton. In mid-August, white and yellow peaches, freshly picked from trees just outside its doors, are in baskets, in ice cream, in pies, even in the doughnuts.
"We specialize in fruits of the season for everything," says Susan Gallahan, who runs the market's bakery with her husband, Mike, the baker.
Even with eyes closed, it's hard to miss the barnyard red building on two-lane Gallahan Road, named for the family that's owned 130-acre Cherry Hill for five generations. The bakery's exhaust fans fill the air outside with the sweet scent of the more than 20 varieties of cake and yeast doughnuts ($4.75 per dozen, $2.75 for a half-dozen, 50 cents each) baked each morning. Caramel nut, lemon, double chocolate, strawberry cream, carrot cake and toasted coconut and other hand-dipped and glazed doughnuts glisten in the glass case.
Also on sale are raspberry pies ($9), peach pies ($7.25) and apple caramel walnut pies ($7.50). "They are all my husband's recipes," says Susan. "He just gets these ideas."
Mike Gallahan's most popular idea was also one of his first: an apple cider doughnut, which he's been making since 1990. With its subtle apple tang and moist, cakey crumb, no wonder folks fuss over them and cuss when the bakery is in short supply. "People bargain with each other in line to get theirs," says employee Elzanne Coetzee. "In the fall, they go faster than we can get them out."
Shirley Jenkins's favorite doughnuts are laced with little bits of blueberries. The Accokeek woman stops in with her family for a half-dozen on Sundays after church. Surveying the baskets of fresh fruit and vegetables and the nearby counter selling soft-serve ice cream made by Pat Gallahan, Mike's mom, she says "everything is great -- I'm serious."
Cherry Hill Farm and Orchard 12300 Gallahan Rd., Clinton; call 301-292-4642 or go to www.cherryhillfarm.net. Open Monday through Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Sunday 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. From Nov. 25 through April 30, only the bakery will be open, Friday through Sunday 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
-- Matt McMillen
Matt McMillen last wrote for Food about the Ice Cream Factory and Cafe in Brandywine.