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13 Eats: Donut Hunt at Moelker Orchards

For the next few weeks, we’re hunting for the best apple orchard donut. We’re starting the hunt at Moelker Orchards & Farm Market in Grand Rapids.
Credit: 13OYS

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — There is no shortage of incredible apple orchards in West Michigan. But with so many options, how do you choose where to indulge? We — 13 ON YOUR SIDE digital producers Riley and Amy — have set out to find the tastiest spots in the area and are documenting our journey with a new series called 13 Eats.

13 Eats is all about highlighting the best, locally owned eateries in the Grand Rapids area. And for the next few weeks, we’re hunting for the best apple orchard donut. We’re starting the hunt at Moelker Orchards & Farm Market. For all those who love Michigan autumn, you’re in for a treat. 

About Moelker Orchards & Farm Market

Located in southwest Grand Rapids, Moelker Orchards is an adorable, down-home business rooted in family, community, fresh produce and alllll the fall goodies. 

The orchard is located on a large piece of land that has stood the test of time and even homes a 300-year-old tree. It’s HUGE and awesome and we fell in love with it immediately. According to owner Tom Moelker, his family bought the farm back in 1907, and it’s been the family business ever since — for over a century!! 

Credit: 13OYS

Today, Tom Moelker runs the beloved farm and market, and his daughter runs the on-site bakery, which is filled with everything from gooey fudge to the very sought-after fall donut.

Learn more about the farm here. 

The Most Important Part... The Donuts

We’ve summarily decided that the Old Bell Bakery at Moelker Orchards may be the best bang for your buck in West Michigan. Each donut is $1, or for those with a bigger appetite (much like us), you can get 6 for $5 or 12 for $10. 

But the donuts don’t taste like any expense was spared. We each selected an apple cinnamon donut, an obvious fan favorite, and sat down at their outdoor eating area to enjoy.

The outer layer was coated in crispy, crunchy cinnamon sugar. The inside tasted like a soft cake. The spicy cinnamon flavor was the winner, with the sweet sugar finish as a close second. 

We did feel that the donuts lacked the apple taste we thought would be the most powerful flavor based on our surroundings. But mostly, this donut is the perfect fall treat for cakey donut lovers. 

We enjoyed the sugary goodness so much, we each returned to the glass counter once more to buy a bag full of the treats, carrying them back to the car like a prize. We were definitely the crowd favorites when we returned to work with the crisp white bags in hand!

Learn more about the bakery here.

The Vibe

As soon as you enter the doors of the Old Bell Bakery, you’re hit with the aroma of fried dough and cinnamon sugary goodness. The scent wraps you in a warm hug and guides you straight to the glass case housing all the treats. The bright lights shine down on the donuts and their shiny coating smiles back at you.

The bakery feels like all your fall dreams come true. The employees are kind and obviously take pride in their work. As a smiling worker takes your order and scoops up your donuts from the glass case, another is making dough in an industrial mixer behind her. 

But the autumn dream doesn’t end there. Through a pair of glass doors, the room opens into the market. It’s a bright, cheery space filled with piles of beautiful produce and handmade goods. Need apples? They have them. Want premade mixes? Those are in stock. Everything your homemade heart desires is right at your fingertips. 

But we can’t forget about the beautiful surrounding land, which is filled with apple trees and pumpkin patches. Walking through the rows is a breath of fresh air. And if we weren’t already feeling the autumn vibes, the spots of bright red apples and the smell of overcast air certainly plopped us directly into the season. 

Special Mention

As if this place didn’t already feel like your classic, family-owned-and-operated neighborhood farm, we ran into another friendly face welcoming us onto the grounds. Kiki, a black, white and orange Calico cat, was our first greeter as we made our way to the market.

She walked directly up to our feet, looking up expectantly at us. It was obvious that visitors are used to giving in to Kiki’s frequent need for pets. 

Riley picked her up and scrubbed her belly before we made our way to the orchard. She joined us again as we ate our donuts, sitting in a chair with her cute little pink feet hanging off the sides. We truly credit Kiki for making the experience that much more enjoyable. 

The Verdict

Moelker Orchards & Farm Market is a little pocket of coziness. The calming, homey atmosphere made us feel nostalgic, like we were back in a sweet, secret place locked away in early childhood memories. We loved the people who worked there and how they exuded absolute love and passion for their work. 

And of course, we loved the product. The donuts were absolutely delicious and proved to be a fan favorite as a steady crowd flowed through the door to collect their doughy treats on a Monday afternoon. The donuts were a perfectly cakey texture with a beautiful, dusty cinnamon sugar finish. And the cheap price only adds to the decadence. 

Overall, the experience was just what we were looking for: it was homey, cozy and delicious! If you’re looking for a little piece of autumn, this is the place to be. 

► Moelker Orchards & Farm Market is located at 9265 Kenowa Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49534

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