NEW JERSEY - The calendar says September and pumpkin spice is back, which means fall is right around the corner. Before heading out to get those Halloween pumpkins be sure to plan an outing to go apple picking.
The Garden State is home to an abundance of apple orchards and grows 30 different varieties of the popular fruit. Many of New Jersey's apple orchards celebrate apples with an array of family-friendly activities like hayrides and corn mazes. Here's are the top New Jersey farms and orchards ripe for apple picking this September.
- Battlefield Orchards in Freehold starts welcoming visitors to its family-owned farm to pick apples at the end of August. Picking hours are from daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., weather permitting. The orchard also offers hayrides on weekends. Book a group tour and learn how to make cider. Be sure to leave time to stop by the Battlefield Orchards' Country Market and Bakery for some delicious apple pie and other homemade treats.
- Giamarese Farms and Orchards in East Brunswick offers apple picking from now through Columbus Day. On weekends, the farm offers hayrides, ponyrides and walks through the corn maze. Giamarese is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The farm is closed on Mondays except for Columbus Day. Giamarese does not charge an admission fee, but tickets are required for rides and the corn maze.
- Terhune Orchards in Princeton is a popular fall spot in the Garden State. It is open daily and is offering apple picking from now through the end of October. Terhune's Apple Days Fall Harvest Festivals start on September 14 and run through October 27. The farm is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on festival weekends. The admission fee on festival weekends are $10. Children under three are free. Admission includes most of the activities though some like the pony rides are extra.
- South Brunswick's Von Thun Farms opens for apple picking on September 21. Von Thuns is open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The farm's popular Fall Festival Weekends begin on September 21. Activities such as the corn maze, hayride, face painting, pony rides and a pumpkin blaster are available on festival weekends. Different price packages are available for the farm's Fall Festival Weekends and can be purchased online.
- Chester's Alstede Farms offers visitors apple picking and extras activities every day along with a full calendar of events all year long. Pick-your-own apples is available daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. An admission fee is required. Fall weekends can get very busy.
- Eastmont Orchards in Colts Neck is open for apple picking Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on weekends from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastmont does not charge an admission fee and visitors pay by the pound for the apples picked. Plastic bags are provided for picking.
- Wightman Farm is open for apple and peach picking this month. The Morristown farm is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. In order to pick your own apples or peaches, visitors three years of age and up must purchase a membership card for $7. The membership card lasts from strawberry picking season through the end of apple picking. Picking containers are provided and the price is determined by weight.
- Sun High Orchards in Randolph opens for apple picking this weekend. The orchard charges a $2 fee to pick apples. The farm is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pack a lunch, picnic tables are available. Snacks like apple cider donuts are for sale in the orchards' market.
- Chester's Riamede Farms offers a walk-in orchard for apple picking. The farm is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Hayrides get rolling on weekends and are free. Hayrides are also available on Columbus Day.
- Apple picking is on at Longmeadow Farm in Hope. The farm is open on Saturdays and Sundays in September and October from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fifteen varieties of apples are on hand.