Fall, which officially begins September 22, is such a perfect season. The trees are absolutely stunning in vibrant hues of red, orange, and yellow, and the air is crisp and clean. It is the perfect time to go apple picking! Apple picking is a fun, fall tradition for many families. The peak apple picking season in NJ runs from September 1 through October 25, so the apples are ripe and ready to be picked now! Whether you are planning to make applesauce, pie or some other wonderful apple dessert, spending time in the great outdoors gathering apples is a fun family activity for a weekend afternoon. Besides apple picking, many farms offer cider mills, pumpkin patches, hayrides, corn mazes and other activities.
Many local farms offer the opportunity to “pick-your-own” apples, and here is a list of some of the best places to go nearby:
Alstede Farms (908-879-7189) is located at 1 Alstede Farms Lane in historic Chester, NJ in Morris County. There are 47 varieties of apples to choose from that ripen in stages from the beginning of August through the middle of November. Check their website at www.alstedefarms.com to get the ripening schedule. They also have farm animals, pony rides, a corn maze, a wagon train, a hayride and other family activities.
Hillview Farms (908-647-0957) can be found at 223 Meyersville Rd. in Gillette, NJ in Morris County. This farm offers 11 varieties of apples that can be picked from late August through October. A tractor ride is offered to guests to access the picking areas in the orchards. They also have hayrides during the weekends in October. Visit their website at www.hillviewfarmnj.com for more information.
Riamede Farm (908-879-5353), which may be the first pick-your-own apple orchard in NJ, is located at 122 Oakdale Rd. in Chester, NJ in Morris County. They have 34 varieties of apples to choose from that range from the classics to specialty apples. This farm is a simple apple orchard with a pumpkin patch and free hayrides on the weekends. More information can be found at www.riamede.com.
Stony Hill Farms has two locations in Chester, NJ for apple picking. The first location, The Gardens, is at 8 East Mill Rd. (908-879-2696). The second, The Farm Market & Maze Fun Park, is located at 15 North Rd. (908-879-2908). Picking from among 22 varieties of apples is available weekends at the Maze Fun Park and daily at The Gardens. This farm has a lot of family friendly activities including a giant corn maze. Call ahead to see which varieties are ripe. Also, visit their website, www.stonyhillfarms.com, for more information.
Sun High Orchards (973-584-4734) can be found at 19 Canfield Ave. in Randolph, NJ in Morris County. Forty five varieties of apples are offered ranging from antiques to classics. Call ahead for the varieties that are being picked on any particular day. Weekend hayrides are a fun activity and the local farm animals enjoy visitors. Find more information on this farm at www.sunhigh.com.
Wightman’s Farms (973-425-9819), which is only open for picking on Saturdays and Sundays, is located at 1111 Mt. Kemble Ave. in Morristown, NJ in Morris County. They have 18 varieties of apples available to choose from during September and October. Additional family activities include a corn maze, pumpkin sling-shot, farm tours and hayrides. To get additional information, go to www.wightmansfarms.com.
Enjoy the beautiful autumn weather and go apple picking in a local orchard. It’s an activity your entire family will love.