There's a chill in the air, the kids are headed back to school, and you know what that means... That's right, it’s finally apple picking time! No matter where you live in New Jersey, there's bound to be a u-pick farm nearby, many of which also offer fun activities like corn mazes, hayrides, and petting zoos.
So grab a few baskets and head out to one of these great farms this fall.
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Note: Please contact orchards before heading out to confirm hours and amenities. 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.
Northern New Jersey
Alstede Farms offers apple picking and tons of special attractions. Photo by Rose Gordon Sala
Alstede Farms – Chester
Talk about agri-tainment: In addition to being open for daily apple picking, the farm offers all of its special attractions (a corn maze, pony rides, hayrides, a bouncy house) every single day—not just on weekends. The farm does charge an admission fee (which includes a hayride). Keep in mind that the farm tends to get very crowded on peak fall weekends.
Demarest Farms – Hillsdale
This popular farm boasts 14 varieties of pick-your-own apples. Apple picking is permitted on Saturday and Sunday, beginning in early September, and the entrance fee gets you a hayride, 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 donuts.
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Each mile-high apple pie is made with five to six pounds of apples! Photo courtesy of Mackey's Orchard
Mackey's Orchard – Belvidere
Mackey's Orchard offers apple pickers a 15-minute hayride with scenic views to the apple picking area, located behind the farm. There’s also a playground and a full apple bakery that offers apple cider donuts, dumplings, and more, including a mile-high apple pie! 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 people to always call in advance before coming—because we Garden State residents know how wonky the Jersey weather can be.
Riamede Farm – Chester
Choose from more than 30 varieties of apples, ranging from traditional classics to heirloom specialties to modern favorites. No bouncy castles or petting zoos here. Riamede is all about the apples, with the only extra being a complimentary hayride on weekends. For tried-and-true apple lovers, a weekly trip to Riamede is necessary to catch each variety at its apple-tree ripened best. The best thing to do is call the farm early every day—Riamede’s telephone message will always tell you what is ripe and being picked on any day.
Sun High Orchards – Randolph
Kids will love to visit the animals and take a hayride at this great family-friendly farm. A variety of apples, including Cortland, Macintosh, Honeycrisp, and Empire, are sold by the pound, so grab only what you want to buy. Before visiting, be sure to check to see if there are any online coupons. Cap off the day with a trip to the farm stand for some homemade ice cream.
Wightman Farms – Morristown
Heads-up: a membership is required to enter this orchard, but it buys you access all season long for up to five people. Membership privileges include discounts on purchases and weekend attractions like a pumpkin slingshot, hayrides, and a corn maze. Before leaving, try some freshly squeezed apple cider, pressed from apples picked right at the farm. Apple picking is permitted only on Saturdays and Sundays.
Central New Jersey
Enjoy a family hayride on the weekends at Battleview Orchards. Photo courtesy of the farm
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, or schedule a group tour and learn how they make their delicious apple cider. Battleview is also known for its adorable Country Market & Bakery, which features a variety of treats, including its popular apple pie. Call ahead or visit Battleview's Facebook page before visiting to confirm current crops and picking hours.
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 types of apples are available. Pricing is by the pound, and payment is cash or check only.
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Enjoy non-GMO apples at Giamarese Farm and Orchards. Photo courtesy of Giamarese Farm.
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 Giamarese 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 on Mondays. Follow the farm on Facebook or subscribe to its newsletter for current news, farm photos, and coupons.
Who doesn't love an apple cider donut? Photo courtesy of Johnson's Corner Farm.
Johnson's Corner Farm – Medford
Apple picking at Johnson's Corner Farm begins in early September, when the Fuji apples ripen. Throughout September and October, nine additional apple varieties will be ready for picking, 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 are also fun to visit, and the farm market sells fresh 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.
Krowicki's Farm Markets & Greenhouse – New Egypt
Bring your own bags or bushels to collect apples at this farm, open seven days a week from 9am to 6pm. Don't forget to stop by the farm market for other fresh produce and baked goods. From the end of September through October, Krowicki's visitors can also take advantage of the corn maze and pumpkin patch.
Pick apples and enjoy family-friendly events at Terhune Orchards. Photo courtesy of Terhune Orchards.
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. Celebrate Apple Day, a family-friendly event featuring pony rides, hayrides, a corn maze, plenty of food and live entertainment. In addition, Fall Family Fun Weekends take place during the month of October.
VonThun Farms – Monmouth Junction
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, which makes picking easy for kids. Family activities include a corn maze, an inflatable obstacle course, hayrides, face painting, pony rides, and a pumpkin blaster. The farm is open daily from 10am to 5pm and accepts cash and credit cards.
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 but has since been updated.