Autumn is a favorite season for many people. Cozy sweaters, hayrides, pumpkins, corn mazes, crunchy colorful leaves, fresh crisp air… are so welcome after a hot and humid summer. So let’s dive right into the season and enjoy one of autumn’s treasures: apples!
Here are three suggestions for central New Jersey farms to visit and enjoy this season’s bounty:
Alstede Farms, Chester
Pressed right at the mill using its own apples, Alstede Farms in Chester is known for its homemade apple cider which can be purchased at its farm store or at one of its farmers' markets.
If you want to watch the Alstede Farms cider-making process firsthand, the cider mill is open to the public on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for tours, which is included in its daily admission price.
1 Alstede Farms Lane, Chester; 908-879-7189, alstedefarms.com.
Ralston Cider Mill, Mendham
Ralston Cider Mill offers an historical experience, offering guided tours of the mill, where you can hear about its history from grist mill to cider mill and applejack distillery. Learn about the significant importance of apples not only to colonial America, but specifically to those in New Jersey. Built in 1848, the structure maintains it’s massive stone walls and heavy timber, and is a treat to explore.
The mill often hosts special events, where visitors can taste the fresh cider made from its facilities — check their website for details on upcoming events.
336 Mendham Road W., Mendham; ralstoncidermill.org.
Hacklebarney Farms Cider Mill, Chester
This 168-year-old farm's wood-pressed cider is made fresh on the premises all day long. If you're curious about the cider-making process, you can enjoy demonstrations on most weekends through October.
The mill is located about a half a mile from Hacklebarney State Park, and if you’re adventuring there, you just might wonder if you're going in the right direction — until you see the gathering of cars lined up, patiently waiting for apple cider, cider doughnuts and other goodies from its bakery and farm store. Do not let this crowd discourage you though. It’s well worth the wait!
104 State Park Road, Chester; 908-879-6593, hacklebarneyfarm.com.