September begins apple picking season. This fall, some of New Jersey’s oldest and most popular farms are open for business. These top locations are scattered throughout the Garden State and are each known for various attractions and produce. One thing they all have in common, though, is their outstanding orchards and ‘pick your own’ apples. So if you’re wondering where to go apple picking in New Jersey in 2020, look no further! Please note: each of these farms and orchards has asked that all guests wear masks at all times and abide by the state’s social distancing rules and regulations.
1. Sun High Orchards in Randolph, NJ
Ranked number 1 out of the best farms to go apple picking in New Jersey is Sun High Orchards. This fall, the farm is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. They pride themselves on their fresh produce, ice cream, fruit pies, salads, fresh milk and farm animals! While shopping at the farm, The Digest online wants you to remember how important it is to know how to pick and store your produce this fall.
Starting in September, Sun High will be giving $8 tours of the farm. The one-hour tour will bring guests through farm stations where they will be able to pick two apples and one small pumpkin. Following tours, Sun High Orchards has tents for cider tasting and time for children to visit the animals. The apple bags are free and no matter the type, all apples are $1.99lb. At this time, Sun High Orchards are strongly enforcing the ‘you pick it, you buy it rule’.
2. Riamede Farm in Chester, NJ
Riamede Farm is advertised as an old-fashioned apple farm from 1952; it is New Jersey’s oldest ‘pick-your-own farm’ (its first fall picking season dated back to 1974). Their trees were planted half a century ago and they offer over 40 types of apples to be picked. Prior to going picking, guests are welcome to visit the website to learn about what types of apples they can pick. The Riamede Farm’s website organizes the apples. They are listed by heritage, taste and use for the season to help guests prepare for their picking.
The farm opens September 3rd to kick off the ‘pick-and-bake’ season, beginning with fuji apples entering their prime time of the season. The Digest online has a great recipe for apple cinnamon muffins to pair with your recent pickings. Each week, the farm will advertise which apples are ripest that week upon entering their store and picking.
3. Demarest Farm in Hillsdale, NJ
If your family is looking for a farm that checks all the boxes, Demarest Farm is known for putting on a show! The farm’s greater attractions include a haunted orchard and movie nights. Reservations are needed to enter the farm. For updates, visit their Facebook page. All reservations must be made online—no tickets or admission will be offered at the doors. Entry costs $7, and admission for kids under 2 is free. The farm charges $12 for a bag that will hold 10 to12 lbs of picked apples. During COVID-19, there will be hand-washing stations scattered throughout the farm. Demarest suggests that guests wear comfortable shoes that are recommended for walking on uneven surfaces and no strollers, backpacks or purses are allowed while picking. It is also important to note that in order to keep everyone safe, there is no sampling or outside food or beverages allowed.
4. Battleview Orchards in Freehold, NJ
Battleview Orchards is open for the fall! This orchard takes pride in their fresh New Jersey produce, baked goods and rich history. The Applegate family has been operating and running the orchard for four generations and has maintained the love, dedication and retail value as those before them. Current owners, Scott and Lisa, have three children to hopefully continue as the fifth generation of growers! Battleview is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. but closed on Tuesdays. This orchard strongly suggests checking their Facebook page for constant updates on what is happening this fall season and new regulations regarding COVID-19. Picking will begin the first week of September. Battleview is only allowing groups of eight or less, and if the orchard is full, there will be a wait. Battleview will provide bags for all guests.
5. Melick’s Town Farm located in Califon, NJ
Melick’s Town Farm has four locations and sells its produce at various farmer’s markets throughout the state. Current running farms include Oldwick Farm Market, Cider Mill and Orchard, Bridgewater Market and Califon Orchards. The Califon farm is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and requires a reservation. This farm has over 24 types of apples to pick and more than 20,000 apple trees planted on the property. Making and selling their own apple cider is their signature product. Weekends in September and October is the time to catch a free wagon ride in Oldwick Farms, and a horse-drawn wagon ride in Califon Orchards! Beginning in mid-July and running through the second week of November, guests are welcome to enjoy picking peaches, pears and of course, apples!
6. Mackey’s Orchard in Belvidere, NJ
Mackey’s Orchards is an eighth-generation family farm. Mackey’s Orchard takes pride in the fact that some of the fruit trees that still stand today were planted by the earliest generations and date back to the early 1900s, placing them in the ranking for one of the best farms to go apple picking in Jersey. This fun-filled farm is known for its apple bakery, homemade ice cream, greenhouse and seasonal activities for children. Mackey’s is known for its bargains, as well as offering online ordering and delivery for fresh produce and baked goods. Guests are able to visit their website for more information regarding the services they offer. This forty-five-acre farm has a great view of the Delaware Water Gap—perfect for pictures! In doing their part to keep safe, Mackey’s guests are encouraged to use the hand-washing stations that are posted all around the orchard.
7. Race Farm in Blairstown, NJ
Race Farm has been operating for 70 years and has seen four generations of Race family members pass on the gift of Jersey-fresh produce. With each generation, there have been minor tweaks to modernize the farm and increase production. There is no admission fee to enter the farm, as well as free hayrides on weekends during the fall season. Having maintained this welcoming and traditional feel for many generations, Race farm has earned their place for one of the best farms to go apple picking in New Jersey. Guests are also welcome to the picnic areas to share a meal and enjoy the great foods the farm has to offer. Race Farm’s pick-your-own apple season will run from August 8th to October 31st this year. During this time, Race farm will be open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily.
Main photo courtsey of Priscilla Du Preez.