New Jersey is the Garden State for a reason. For more three centuries, the state’s fertile fields and valleys have fed America’s cities and armies. Indeed, Central Jersey was the site of the “forage wars” of the American Revolution, in which winning the loyalty of local farmers as a key to the American victory.
Today Central Jersey’s farmers welcome millions of visitors from near and far to partake in the bounty—and fun—of harvest season. Just an hour from New York and Philadelphia by train, car, or bus, Central Jersey is one of the most accessible agricultural areas in America. At DiscoverCentralNJ.com you’ll find farms and orchards to please everyone, including families, friends, couples and seniors.
The biggest crowds are drawn to harvest festivals, beginning Sept 14 an running through October:
- Terhune Orchards and Winery, near Princeton, is the region’s agritourism leader, inviting hundreds of thousands of visitors every year to a 200-acre family-owned and operated farm. Autumn brings Terhune’s Apple Days Fall Festivals, featuring cider, pick-your-own apples and pumpkins, pumpkin painting, pony rides, pedal tractors, wagon rides, corn stalk maze, adventure barn, and a barnyard of farm animals. Every Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 14 to Oct. 27. Admission $10 per person.
- Snyder Farm in the Somerset section of Franklin Township offers a family-oriented Farm Festival weekends starting September 27. Activities include hayrides, pumpkin moon bounce, hippity hop, potato sack slide, corn maze, hay bale maze, spider web, pedal carts, corn hole games, bowling, hay bale activity center and more. General admission of $13 is required for pumpkin picking, plus cost of pumpkin.
- Suydam Farms is operated by the family’s 12th generation of farmers in Somerset, located on State Route 27 and served by the 100 bus out of New York’s Port Authority. The history of local farming is a big theme of Suydam’s Fall Fest Weekends every Saturday and Sunday in October. Pick your own pumpkins, hayrides, apple cider, apple cider donuts and more! Free admission. Pumpkins, produce, and food for purchase.
- Hillsboro Farm Country Market in Hillsborough hosts Fall Family Fun Days every weekend in October. Activities include hayrides, pumpkin picking, corn maze, face-painting, pumpkin decorating,
and more! The season’s festivities kick off October 5 with a special Antique Tractor Show and Pig Roast starting at noon. Free admission, food and produce available for purchase.
Though not offering festivals, many other Central Jersey farms offer a bounty of fresh food and experiences
you will enjoy.
- Bobolink Dairy & Bakehouse in Milford produces 100% grass-fed, raw cows’ milk cheeses, pastured meats, and rustic breads baked in a wood-fired oven. The farm has 60 mature cows, plus a new generation of Bobolink Grazers, the result of crossing modern dairy breeds with the ancient Kerry cattle of Ireland. Farm store open daily except Tuesdays. Tours Saturdays and Sundays.
- Cherry Grove Farm is a sustainable dairy farm and creamery on 480 acres in Lawrenceville, making award-winning farmstead cheeses from grass-fed raw cows’ milk. The farm also raises heritage breed pigs, lambs, chickens and beef cattle, raised without hormones, antibiotics or steroids. Farm Store open daily April through December.
- Griggstown Farm Market near Princeton sells its famous “Griggstown chicken” and other farm
products using all-natural methods. The market sells seasonal fruit pies, pot pies, poultry sausages,
quail eggs, and fresh seasonal soups. All products prepared in a USDA kitchen at the Farm. Thanksgiving
and holiday menus complement the farm-raised turkeys sold in November & December. Store open daily.
- Hidden Spring Lavender Farm grows fields of lavender for bouquets, buds, oil, and culinary products made with their own lavender plants. The shop offers plush Buena Bears™, lotions, creams, moisturizers, hand soap, aromatherapy and bath and body items, lavender wreaths, dried Lavender, and more. Say hello to the friendly alpacas, raised for alpaca fiber products. Open Saturdays and Sundays.
- Ironbound Farm in Asbury, off route 78 in Hunterdon County, grows apples for its hard cider using
fresh-pressed fruit to make complex, perfectly balanced ciders. Visit the Tasting Room to enjoy
limited-edition ciders, wines on tap, and farmed-up Jersey street food made with ingredients raised
and foraged in the Garden State. Open Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday.
Central Jersey is also home to tremendous farm-to-table restaurants, wineries and craft beverage makers, and wonderful hotels if you’d like to stay the weekend. Bring your family, tell your friends: Central Jersey is the place to be during harvest season — festivals and farms, just an hour from New York and Philadelphia!
Check out http://www.DiscoverCentralNJ.com for more events and getaway ideas!