Where To Go Apple Picking With Kids at NJ Farms and Orchards
Fall is on the horizon, and in the Garden State, that means it's time to go apple picking. No matter where you live in New Jersey, there's bound to be a pick-your-own farm nearby. In addition to apple picking, many of these local farms also offer other fun, seasonal activities like corn mazes, hayrides, and petting zoos.
So, grab a few baskets and head out to one of these great New Jersey apple orchards and farms.
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Note: Please contact the orchards before heading out to confirm hours and available amenities. Keep in mind most venues require face coverings and social distancing, and many orchards are small, family-run establishments that can close suddenly. Weekday hours are often limited and vary greatly. Also, please leave animals at home, or you may be asked to leave apple-free.
Where To Go Apple Picking in Northern New Jersey
1. Demarest Farms – Hillsdale
This popular farm boasts 14 varieties of pick-your-own apples. Apple picking is permitted on Saturdays and Sundays, beginning in early September. The $7 per person entrance fee gets you playground access and face time with the farm animals; pay an additional fee for a bag to hold all the apples you can pick. Stop in the farm store before leaving for some treats, including ice cream and apple cider doughnuts. The 2021 picking season opens September 4, and reservations are required. Tickets for specific time slots must be purchased in advance; in-person tickets will not be sold, and hayrides won't be available this year.
Alstede Farms is a family favorite for apple picking and plenty of "agritainment." Photo by Rose Gordon Sala
2. Alstede Farms – Chester
Talk about agritainment: In addition to being open for daily apple picking, the farm offers special attractions (like an evergreen maze, hayrides, and a giant hay pyramid) every single day—not just on weekends. The farm does charge an admission fee (which includes a hayride), and certain activities like pony rides and moon bounce house are not included. Keep in mind the farm tends to get very crowded on peak fall weekends.
3. Riamede Farm – Chester
Choose from more than 30 varieties of apples, ranging from traditional classics to heirloom specialties to modern favorites. Picking generally starts in early September. There are no bouncy castles or petting zoos here. Riamede is all about the apples. The only extra is a complimentary wagon ride on weekends, though depending on crowd size, they may have to be cut. Masks are required for entry to the farm. For tried-and-true apple lovers, a weekly trip to Riamede is necessary to catch each variety at its tree-ripened best. The best thing to do is call the farm early every day—Riamede’s telephone message always tells you what is ripe and being picked on any day. Note that a farm pass is required to visit the farm, and it must be purchased in advance.
Each mile-high apple pie is made with 5- to 6-pounds of apples at Mackey's Orchard! Photo courtesy of Mackey's Orchard
4. Mackey's Orchard – Belvidere
Mackey's Orchard offers apple pickers a 15-minute hayride with scenic views to the apple picking orchard, located behind the farm. There’s also a playground and a full apple bakery that offers apple cider doughnuts, dumplings, and more, including a mile-high apple pie. And don't forget the homemade ice cream! Mackey’s grows more than 100 varieties of apples that ripen between August and November. Pick-your-own is offered on weekends in September and October. Owner Holly Mackey advises visitors to call in advance before coming—because Garden State residents know how wonky the Jersey weather can be.
5. Sun High Orchards – Randolph
Kids love visiting the animals at this farm. A variety of apples, including Cortland, Macintosh, Honeycrisp, and Empire, are sold by the pound, so grab only what you want to buy. Apple picking will be held on weekdays only in 2021, and the season kicks off on Monday, September 20. Cap off the day with a trip to the farm stand for some homemade ice cream.
Purchase a membership at Wightman Farms for access to its fields all season long. Photo courtesy of the orchard
6. Wightman Farms – Morristown
Heads-up: A per-person membership is required to enter this orchard, but it grants you access all season long. Though Wightman Farms grows 29 varieties of apples for picking, the farm is far more than just a pick-your-own destination. On weekends, enjoy attractions like hayrides, a giant corn maze, the pumpkin slingshot, a hay bale maze, the Rick labyrinth, a paver maze, and a picnic area. All run Labor Day weekend through the end of October. Before leaving, try some freshly squeezed apple cider, pressed from apples picked right at the farm. Apple picking is permitted on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Where To Go Apple Picking in Central New Jersey
7. Battleview Orchards – Freehold
Battleview Orchards, a family-owned and operated farm, invites you to pick your own apples beginning at the end of August. Enjoy a family hayride on the weekends beginning in late September. Battleview is also known for its adorable Country Market & Bakery, which features a variety of treats, including its popular apple pie.
Enjoy non-GMO apples at Giamarese Farm and Orchards. Photo courtesy of Giamarese Farm
8. Giamarese Farm and Orchards – East Brunswick
Enjoy apple picking at Giamarese Farm from the end of August to Columbus Day. All of the apples grown at the farm are non-GMO. Hayrides are available during the farm's Fall Harvest Weekends, which also feature pony rides and a corn maze. The farm is closed Mondays. Follow the farm on Facebook for current news and farm photos.
9. Eastmont Orchards – Colts Neck
Eastmont Orchards has been growing apples since 1923. The farm, which is open daily, offers 19 different types of apples. Call ahead or visit its Facebook page to see which apples are available. Pricing is by the pound, and payment is cash or check only. Apple picking season starts in late August.
Perhaps the best part of the apple picking season: apple cider doughnuts. Photo courtesy of Johnson's Corner Farm
10. Johnson's Corner Farm – Medford
Apple picking at Johnson's Corner Farm begins in early September when the Fuji apples ripen. Nine additional apple varieties are ready for picking throughout September and October, including Red Delicious and Granny Smith. Apple-picking hayrides begin in September, and the farm's popular Fall Festival Weekends include live music, a corn maze, moon bounce, and a food tent. Its animal farm and discovery barnyard (tickets required) are also fun to visit, and the farm market sells freshly baked pies, caramel apples, and cider donuts. Stop at one of the ice cream windows for an apple cider slush or some pumpkin ice cream. Be sure to buy tickets online in advance.
11. Krowicki's Farm Markets & Greenhouse – New Egypt
Bring your own bags or bushels to collect apples at this small farm, open seven days a week from 9am-6pm. Don't forget to stop by the farm market for other fresh produce and baked goods. Krowicki's visitors can also take advantage of the corn maze and pumpkin patch from the end of September through October.
A fall trip to Terhune Orchards is sure to put a smile on little apple lovers' faces! Photo courtesy of the orchard
12. Terhune Orchards – Princeton
Beginning in September, Terhune Orchard's pick-your-own-farm on Van Kirk Road, just around the block from its home farm, is open every day. Sold by weight, the farm's apples are juicy, crisp, and delicious. Enjoy its Fall Family Fun Weekends beginning Saturday, September 18.
13. VonThun Farms – South Brunswick and Washington
VonThun Farms offers apple picking from mid-September through the end of October. Apple trees at the farm are dwarf trees that grow very close to the ground, making picking easy for kids. Family activities include a corn maze, an inflatable obstacle course, hayrides, face painting, pony rides, and a pumpkin blaster.
Are you in South Jersey? Check out these apple orchards recommended by our Philadelphia Mommy Poppins team.
This article was first published in September 2009 and has since been updated.