New Jersey Date Night is a series on NJ Flavor by relationship writer Craig Rogers.

When you date someone not from New Jersey they might ask why we’re known as the Garden State. Typically the answer can be found with one visit to a local farmer’s market, but if doubt persists all you have to do is take them to a New Jersey orchard. 

A beautiful fall afternoon becomes magical when you visit one and when you get into the action of apple picking, your magical date becomes memorable. Apple picking is a great activity for two, and afterward you can make things with your bounty or enjoy them straight up.

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Get ready for a New Jersey Date Night that’s Johnny Appleseed-approved!

Pick a Little, Love a lot!

When you visit Giamarese Farms in East Brunswick, you’ll totally understand why Jim and Sue Giamarese have received so many accolades, including Vegetable Growers of the Year.  Picking at their farm can happen way before apple season and you should consider going earlier in the year to stock up on peaches and strawberries. 

When it comes to apples you’ll find 16 varieties from Crimson Crisp to Winesap. Be sure to check out their Fall Harvest Weekends featuring pumpkin picking, gourds and other décor items and a range of food trucks on the ready to satisfy your post-picking munchies. 

For more information on Giamarese Farms, visit their website at

Family Farmed and Approved

Wightman Farms in Morristown has been family owned and operated since 1922, and the third generation of Wightmans has done their family tree proud. The beautiful orchards will inspire you to pick favorites, including McIntosh and Greening. 

Wightman Farm’s General Store is not to be missed as it features locally grown and made jellies and jams, honey, granolas and delicious baked goods.  Be sure to check out the doughnut maker in action … bet you can’t have just one!   

For more information about Wightman Farms, visit their website at

A Date with History

There’s a lot to see when you go apple picking at Hillview Farms in Gillette. This 57-acre farm has been growing a variety of Jersey’s best produce since 1865. You and your date will enjoy picking apples from trees with history (Macouns from 1923 and Winesaps from the 1800s) as well as some newer varieties including Honeycrisp, Suncrisp and the Bumpy Mac. 

In addition, you can pick up some farm-fresh eggs and other Jersey produce from their roadside market and you might just spot some free-range chickens and peacocks! 

For more information on Hillview Farms, visit

Pickin’ and Grinnin’

Breathing in the outdoor air and seeing the countryside at Battleview Orchards in Freehold makes for an unforgettable date. Farmed by the Applegate family since 1908, their choices of apples are impressive, as is the fact that the peak picking times for each variety is spread out through fall.

Visiting early in September for Galas and Jonamacs and again in mid-October with Granny Smiths and Braeburns is a fantastic option! Be sure to visit their Country Store, filled with baked goods, produce and some of the best cold-pressed apple cider in the state.

For more information on Battleview Orchards, visit

The Art of the Pick

Spending an afternoon enjoying the outdoors, apples and each other makes for a great date.  It also serves as a perfect analogy for singles in the process of finding “the one.”

Many on the dating scene find the process of dating to be a frustrating climb up a fruitless tree. During the climb, empty branches are encountered and rotten fruit discovered. Sometimes you find what you think is the perfect apple but upon further inspection you realize that the fruit has a limited shelf life. 

The disappointment makes you want to give up the quest and climb off the ladder, but you know that if you want the right relationship you’ve got to continue the mission. Keeping your eye on the prize (or when it comes to apples, the pies) fuels your quest and eventually you’ll find the perfect one. 

Craig Rogers is the guy who gets relationships write. Author of The 49th Challenge, Craig has written countless articles on dating, relationships and breakup recovery. To learn more about Craig, visit

What’s your idea for a great New Jersey Date?  Tell Craig all about it at


More Date Night Ideas:

Cookies Aren’t Just for Kids

Going Vegan in the Garden State

With Al Fresco Dining, the Sky’s the Limit

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