State of the Apple

Maybe it's the Eden thing, but an apple orchard in autumn radiates a particular security. A walk among ageless trees laden with the mythical fruit is a trip through a special kind of garden. Apples come in many varieties, each cultivated for its own purpose. All have one thing in common; they are good for you. Apples are an excellent source of dietary fiber, which reduces cholesterol, aids digestion, and prevents certain types of cancer. Research indicates that, because apples contain flavonoids, they may reduce the risk of lung cancer and generally improve lung function.

More than half of New Jersey's apples ripen in September. Visitors are often content to roam traditional orchards. Some include wagon rides to the picking area and shops filled with baked goods; a few with fresh homemade cider.

Growing apples is always an adventure. Sometimes, extraordinary warm weather in March coaxes early blossoms from the trees. Then, an April frost threatens the orchards, and not all of the open flower blossoms survived the freezing nights. A hot, dry summer might follow, slowing the apples' growth, in between, violent hail storms that pummel the trees. Thankfully, the dry weather minimized disease and blight, and most local growers manage to survive. But be sure to call ahead to confirm an adequate supply of apples at your orchard of choice.

Of the thirty different apple varieties grown in New Jersey, the Winesap is the oldest, dating back to the late 1700s. Other popular varieties grown in New Jersey include Red and Golden Delicious, McIntosh, and Granny Smith. But to give consumers a larger assortment of this popular fruit, researchers are always testing for new varieties. Here are varieties you'll find this fall at Skylands farms.

  • CORTLAND: Slightly tart taste. Excellent for eating, salads, sauces, pies, baking. Good for freezing.
  • EMPIRE: Blend of sweet-tart taste. Excellent for out of hand eating, salads. Good to use in baking, pies, sauce, freezing.
  • FUJI: Very sweet taste. Excellent for fresh eating and salads. Good for sauce.
  • GALA: Mildly sweet flavor. Excellent for fresh eating and salads.
  • GOLDEN DELICIOUS: Sweet taste Excellent for eating out of hand, salads, sauces. Good to use in pies, baking, freezing.
  • GRANNY SMITH: Tart tasting Good for all-purpose use.
  • JONAGOLD: Sweet with a hint of tartness. Excellent for fresh eating, salads, sauces, baking. Good for use in pies, freezing.
  • JONATHAN:Slightly tart taste. Good for all purpose use.
  • MACOUN: Very sweet taste. Excellent for fresh eating. Good for sauces and salads.
  • McINTOSH: Sweet with a slightly tart taste. Excellent for eating out of hand and sauces. Good in salads and pies.
  • RED DELICIOUS: Sweet taste. Excellent for fresh eating and salads.
  • STAYMAN/STAYMAN WINESAP: Slightly tart taste. Good for all purpose use.

Tips for picking:

  • Choose apples that are bruise-free and firm to the touch
  • Handle gently to prevent bruising
  • Store in the refrigerator
  • To prevent them from ripening too quickly, store apples in a plastic bag
  • Coat apple slices and dices in a mixture of 1 part lemon juice to 3 parts water to prevent them from browning
  • Gently wash apples before eating

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture provides all kinds of useful information for your autumn picking pleasure through a series of brochures and at their website. The department's marketing efforts include the nationally-recognized Jersey Fresh marketing program which works throughout New Jersey's growing season to remind shoppers that the freshest, locally-grown products are waiting for them at supermarkets, farmers' markets and roadside stands around the state.

Pick Your Own Farms

  • Beemerville Orchard
  • U-Pick Apples: many varieties. Selling fresh cider from our press, pumpkins, mums, already picked apples, etc.. Mon-Sat. 9-6. Closed Sundays. Small groups welcome.

    73 Lusscroft Road, Sussex 07461, 973/875-1029

  • Brook Hollow Farm
  • PYO apples, several varieties including semi-dwarf trees (great for kids). Peaches from our orchards, pumpkins, farm market. Wagon rides on fall weekends. Near beautiful Delaware Water Gap, Rt 80 ex 4 to Rt 94 N, 3 1/2 mi to Frog Pond Rd. You'll be glad you found us!

    Frog Pond Rd., Hainesburg 07832, 908/496-4577

  • Ochs Orchard
  • Homegrown fruits and vegetables available when in season. Honey, peanut butter, jams and jellies, homemade hard and soft ice-cream. Cider made on site from Red Delicious for sweetness, Winesap for tang, McIntosh and Empire for body. Honey, peanut butter, jams and jellies, homemade hard and soft ice-cream. Market open June through January.

    4 Ochs Ln, Warwick 10990, 845/986-1591

  • Riamede Farm
  • Pick your own apples and pumpkins at our 250 year old farm. Simple, authentic and without the carnival. Thirty varieties of apples, traditional, heirloom and your modern favorites. Free hay rides on weekends through the scenic old orchards out to the pumpkin patch. Cider, donuts, jams, local honey & more. School harvest trips.

    122 Oakdale Rd, Chester 07930, 908/879-5353

  • Sussex County Strawberry Farm
  • U-pick strawberries (June), raspberries (late August), and pumpkins (October). Greenhouses with wide selection of hanging baskets and bedding plants. Outdoor wood and poly furniture.

    565 Rt 206 N, Andover 07821, 973/579-5055

Pressing Engagements

The cider you find in the supermarket is "flash pasteurized" and often loaded up with preservatives and sweeteners to extend shelf-life. But you can still find fresh cider here and there at local farms. Even more unusual is the local farmer who makes his own. Making cider is relatively simple but has always required skilled craftsmen. Picking apples at the right time, storing them properly, and processing in a timely fashion are all critical. And a skilled cider miller might blend a variety of fruit--one for sweet, one for tart, one for fragrance--to create cider to write home about. Fortunately there are a few fine local cider-makers in our area.

Beemerville Orchard in Sussex (973/875-1029 or email), and Ochs Orchard, just over the Sussex County line in Warwick, NY (845/986-1591), both make cider until their supplies of apples run out, usually well into the winter or early spring. It takes one bushel of apples to make three and a half gallons.

The process is pretty much the same as in the "old days." The apples are sorted and washed, ground into pomace and pumped into frames. The cheeses are stacked fourteen high in hydraulic, rather than purely mechanical, presses. And the cider squeezes out into stainless steel tanks. On a fast day these local presses can put out 1,000 -2,000 gallons, most of it available only for their own customers.

At Ochs Orchard the new cider is pumped into a filter system and passes through an ultra-violet processor to kill any possible bacteria. The UV also kills some of the yeast in the apples yielding 8 to 10 extra days before fermentation. At Pochuck, the cider is pumped into a holding tank with no other processing. The entire process is done cold to preserve the taste and flavor of the apples and to inhibit fermentation. Even so, it takes three weeks before hardness starts.

Fresh local cider gets tastier as fall progresses, as more kinds of apples become available, and as they sweeten in storage. For example, Winesap, introduced to the mix for tang, doesn't ripen until later in the fall. Among others, Red Delicious is added for sweetness, McIntosh and Empire for body. In any case, you'll get the best cider after Halloween.

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Comments

Casslyn Alladin
17 Oct 2015, 16:27
i would like to know what stop on the new jersey train.and how much does it cast could someone contract me at 347-260-6040
angelina
06 Dec 2011, 10:55
i have a small health food store with juice bar, need a fram that will supply with organic vegies and fruits can anyone recommend something please\r\n\r\nfamilyorganics@hotmail.com
John
04 Oct 2010, 17:51
Any orchard in wet NJ & NY that says they are organic is lying. It is not possible to grow organic fruit in the eastern wet climate. The apples would be covered with fungus - scab, sooty blotch, flyspeck, etc - and full of bugs inside, decidedly unclean. Old fashioned ineffective sulfur sprays qualify as organic...so organic apples may be covered with a sulfur film. So-called US organic apples found in the supermarket are grown in the western desert (dry and bugless) using pumped in water, an environmental waste of scarce water resources. An orchard managed with scientifically proven integrated pest management practices produces clean and healthy fruit in a wiser environmental manner.
john
06 Oct 2009, 17:42
can you please tell me where I can go apple picking in NJ \r\ncan you supply me with some orchards name and location\r\nthank you
Michelle
04 Oct 2009, 19:17
SERIOUSLY PEOPLE I PUT UP THIS LINK, AND STILL PEOPLE ASK ABOUT WHERE TO GO. CHECK THIS LINK OUT!!\r\n\r\nhttp://www.state.nj.us/jerseyfresh/searches/apple.htm \r\n\r\nJUST CLICK ON YOUR AREA AND POOF LOTS OF PLACES TO PICK!!
Rose Ann
04 Oct 2009, 18:15
I would like to find organic apple orchards in the northern New Jersey area.\r\nThanks,\r\nRose Ann
sforte
28 Sep 2009, 11:25
Do you have a list of orchards to visit in NJ?\r\nThanks.
Payal
21 Sep 2009, 11:45
I live in Jersey city. \r\nI'm trying to plan an apple picking outing with my family (including tolddler) in New Jersey. Can you please tell me times and places? Preferably places that I can get to with public transport/cab - I don't have a car.\r\n\r\nThanks a lot.\r\n\r\n\r\n
Michelle
21 Sep 2009, 05:41
I know these post are from last year, but here is a really great site for finding places near you, not all of them are U-Pick ones so pay attention.\r\n\r\n\r\nhttp://www.state.nj.us/jerseyfresh/searches/apple.htm
Amy
14 Sep 2009, 06:18
I am trying to locate an organic u-pick apple orchard in NJ (preferably central or southern but will take any) or southeastern PA. Any suggestions? Thanks.
Kathleen
12 Sep 2009, 09:54
I need to know the best time to go apple picking at riamede farm. Is it the end of September or Early late October.\r\nThanks
hudie
06 Sep 2009, 07:03
i want to take a small group of children from a day care to pick apples were is the nearest place we can go we live in lakewood nj thank you!!
beulah
21 Aug 2009, 19:17
beulah \r\n\r\nHi, I,m trying to plan a trip apple picking in New Jersey,for a group of children at a daycare. can you please help me with time and places.\r\n\r\nyou can contact me at this #862-588-8920\r\n\r\nTHANK YOU\r\n\r\nmy e-mail is beulah,dawson@yahoo.com
beulah
21 Aug 2009, 19:17
beulah \r\n\r\nHi, I,m trying to plan a trip apple picking in New Jersey,for a group of children at a daycare. can you please help me with time and places.\r\n\r\nyou can contact me at this #862-588-8920\r\n\r\nTHANK YOU\r\n\r\nmy e-mail is beulah,dawson@yahoo.com
daycare
21 Aug 2009, 19:00
looking to take children from the daycare apple picking in new jersey. please tell me times and places. thank you very much.\r\n\r\nif you need to call me my # is 862-588-8920\r\n\r\nmy e-mail is beulah.dawson@yahoo.com
daycare
21 Aug 2009, 19:00
looking to take children from the daycare apple picking in new jersey. please tell me times and places. thank you very much.\r\n\r\nif you need to call me my # is 862-588-8920\r\n\r\nmy e-mail is beulah.dawson@yahoo.com
azad
22 Jul 2009, 16:20
hi/ please send me the address of apple garden and vegetables farm,within 50 miles. i live in new york
arifa
22 Jul 2009, 16:11
hi, please send me the adress of the apple garden, and vegetables garden.
alex
06 May 2009, 16:26
Hi please let me know when is the best time and day and month to go apple picking. I live in north jersey. Thank you\r\nalex
padmasree
27 Apr 2009, 11:39
Hi,\r\n\r\nIt Could be very helpfull if you please let me know the best farms for apple picking in plainsboro, new jersey 08536 within 10 miles.And which is the best season to go..
Shon
13 Apr 2009, 06:35
I'm looking for apple picking places.Could you please let me know the list of places in PA and NJ.
VIDYA
27 Oct 2008, 17:35
Hi,\r\n\r\nCould you please let me know the best farms for apple picking in plainsboro, new jersey 08536 within 10 miles.I want to go with my family tomorrow. Please send me the names and contact numbers and timings too for week days.\r\n\r\n
RHONDA
23 Oct 2008, 07:14
I AM TRYING TO PLAN A FAMILY TRIP FOR THIS WEEKEND TO GO APPLE AND PUMPKIN PICKING, CORN MAZE, FACE PAINTING,AND HAY RIDING IN NEW JERSEY. WILL I HAVE TO BOOK IF ITS ONLY 8 OF US?
Anna
22 Oct 2008, 16:43
i am a trying to plan a class trip to an apple orchard for a high school group. do you have any suggestions for places to go near North Bergn (Hudson County), New Jersey?
lee
22 Oct 2008, 08:10
HI,\r\n\r\nIf I want to go there without the car from New york, how can I get there?\r\nwhat's the stop from port authority 42nd, new york.?\r\n\r\nI would like to go with friends and should I have to book?\r\nis there anywhere I can stay for one night? (Saturday night?)\r\n\r\nthanks\r\n\r\n
appledelicious
19 Oct 2008, 16:18
Hello,\r\n I am looking for a really good place to go apple picking. I live in central new jersey, somewhere nearby would be nice. Also, somwhere good for little kids, they will be coming also. Thanks
AC
15 Oct 2008, 19:33
Can you please recommend the best apple farm in NJ to go to? It will be great to know also if they sell pies and donuts. Thank you.
Gayoung Lee
15 Oct 2008, 19:15
I live in Edgewater, NJ.\r\nI would like to go apple picking on coming Friday.\r\nBased on the info provided on the web, most orchards allow apple picking only on weekends. Is there any place where I can pick apples on Friday?
emma
13 Oct 2008, 04:46
WE'RE PLANNING TO GO APPLE PICKING TODAY OCT 13 CAN U SUGGEST WHERE WE CAN GO THNX
Naren
12 Oct 2008, 15:38
I am looking for a good apple picking farm in NJ and I would like to visit the farm this month (October 2008)
Kasey
12 Oct 2008, 07:52
We're also looking for ORGANIC in NJ. Find any? Open to NY state also.
Nick
12 Oct 2008, 06:01
Hi, I would like to go apple picking in NJ today. Organic only. Can anyone help me with a farm? \r\n
Ray
11 Oct 2008, 11:56
Hello,\r\n Were planning to go apple picking this monday (13th) we have kids with us. Pls. any suggestion where to go with kids activity @ the same time?
Shadoya
11 Oct 2008, 11:40
jonas brothers rule!!!!!!\r\nJoe jonas rox!!\r\n♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
kathy McEntee
09 Oct 2008, 15:40
Hi, I would like to go apple picking in NJ. Organic only. Can you help me with a farm?
Jeff Cedeno
08 Oct 2008, 10:20
I'm looking to go apple picking this weekend 10/11 with a couple of kids and some adults. Can you let me know of organic farms close to Essex County that also have other activities for the kids?
Millie
07 Oct 2008, 18:02
Would like to take some kids apple picking is it too late in the season & where can I go in New Jersey.
Paulina A. Parker
06 Oct 2008, 06:11
Please send me information on planning an apple picking event. Thank you
Daniel
05 Oct 2008, 09:53
This is a perfect place to go with the family.
FDC
04 Oct 2008, 12:07
Live in Denville, looking for nearby places (10-15 miles) for u-pick apple orchards. Perfer organic orchards. Thanks
Chio Kwon
02 Oct 2008, 11:49
I am searching for good place to pick apples with my kids on coming 4 October. I am in Paramus. Please recommend close place to visit. I prefer organic places.
awilda rivera
30 Sep 2008, 20:52
I would like to go in this weekend to apple picking with my children (3) please send me e-mail and address where can I go.tnk you.
heawon kim-stuckenbruck
29 Sep 2008, 05:04
When is the best time to go for apple picking. We want to go tomorrow (9/30, Tues) Is this a good tome to go and any place open on Tuesday? Thank you very much
MINA
26 Sep 2008, 14:21
NEED TO FIND A GOOD APPLE PICKING FARM FOR SIX LADYS AND FEW KIDS
Amee
22 Sep 2008, 08:05
Could you please tell me where I can go apple picking at Organic farms only that are in nj. Would greatly appreciate it.\r\n\r\nThanks\r\nAmee
dawn
18 Sep 2008, 14:02
i will like to know when is the best time for apple picking. and what time are the best to go up there
Jeffrey
17 Sep 2008, 22:55
I just saw your request for places to pick apples. The web site it was linked to seemed to fit the bill for what you needed. If you need help finding more locations I would be more than willing to help your group. I would be willing to help you and your group make this trip. I have several friends who feel the same way. We usually enjoy the available activities in New Paltz, NY.
V
14 Sep 2008, 08:58
http://www.state.nj.us/jerseyfresh/searches/apple.htm\r\n\r\nThey that link.
Christine
13 Sep 2008, 05:15
I would like to know the best time to pick apples in NJ and if there are an organic orchards. Thanks
kakoli bhowmik
10 Sep 2008, 22:14
pls let me know where we can go with kid fro apple picking and when is the best time for that.\r\nthank you\r\n\r\nKAKOLI
Idella Coleman
10 Sep 2008, 12:15
I would like to take my Consumers Apple Picking. They are Male Adults who would really enjoy this. Could you give me a few ideas
KATRINA
10 Sep 2008, 02:45
HELLO - PLS LET ME KNOW WHERE WE CAN GO WITH KIDS APPLE PICKING - WE ARE INTERESTED ONLY IN FARMS THAT ARE ORGANIC.\r\nTHANK YOU!\r\nKATRINA
Udeshika Pieries (Deshi)
09 Sep 2008, 20:49
I work with developmentally disabled individuals. I was hoping to plan a trip for our guys to go apple picking this fall, can you please let me know of a place where I would be able to do that. Hopefully somewhere close to Rutherford, NJ during the weekdays. \r\nThank you so much
yessica
07 Sep 2008, 12:25
i plan on going up to the New york, New Jersey area later this month, can you please where i can take my kids apple picking both organic and not. as well as prices and times...etc. Thank you very much..
Reisa
06 Sep 2008, 22:22
I would like to go apple picking with my family can u email me some names and address of some farms that are close to Philadelphia or in New Jersey.\r\nThank You
parviz
28 Aug 2008, 16:13
E mail me name and address of farms for apple pjcking policy ,amount they charged, etc\r\n thank you
parviz
28 Aug 2008, 16:12
E mail me name and address of farms for apple pjcking policy ,amount they charged, etc\r\n thank you
gwen
21 Aug 2008, 13:46
i have 3 apples trees in my yard. nice surprise to a house i bought 3 months ago. if i send pics can u help me figure out what they are, when they ripen , care, etc... thanks gwen
Michele
20 Aug 2008, 20:11
I am looking to go apple picking in New Jersey. Can you give me some names & locations of orchards?
Michele
20 Aug 2008, 20:10
I am looking to go apple picking in New Jersey. Can you give me some names & locations of orchards?
Alberto Carreon
08 Aug 2008, 17:17
Can you please advice me when and which orchard can we go apple picking on FUJI variety in New Jersey? Thank you very much.
Jennifer Tirino
29 Jul 2008, 10:54
I work for a non-profit agency with developmentally disabled adults who are interested in apple picking. We are located in Warren County, NJ. Could you please tell me where would be a good place to apple pick?
Jintili
24 May 2008, 06:34
Looking to go apple picking in New Jersey. (Organic places only). Can you please tell me times and places? Thank You Very Much\r\nIf you need to call me my # is 641-715-3900 extension 19584.\r\n\r\nMy e-mail is Jintili515@aol.com\r\n
Jennifer
31 Mar 2008, 14:09
Is there a list of orchards to visit?
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