New Jersey’s Fresh Apple Cider
As the heat of summer fades into the coolness of fall, the Garden State’s orchards become fragrant with the tantalizing aroma of ripe apples—and where there are apples, there’s apple cider! Spend a day exploring one of these farms in New Jersey to enjoy the fall tradition of picking your own apples and sipping freshly pressed apple cider. (Bonus: we’ve even included a couple picks for enjoying hard apple cider.)
In Oldwick, make the most of gloriously sunny autumn days at Melick’s Town Farm, where 50 acres of orchards are brimming with shiny, ripe apples, and the farm comes to life with families enjoying seasonal activities, such as hayrides, pumpkin and apple picking, meeting the farm animals and sipping unfiltered apple cider. The cider mill produces its fresh cider from September through January, and you can purchase extra to bring back home. Bonus: there are four hard ciders and apple wine that can be purchased as well.
From tart Granny Smith apples to sweet Gold Rush apples, Alstede Farms in Chester is abundant in its variety, making it the perfect spot for a day of apple picking and cider sipping. Spend some time exploring the corn maze, petting and feeding the farm animals, and climbing the giant hay pyramid, and then take one of the hayrides to the cider mill to watch how fresh apple cider is made, from start to finish.
Also in Chester, Hacklebarney Farm is a historic, family-owned farm rich with rural charm. Drive along the quiet country roads until you reach the white picket fences leading to the quaint cider mill and farm store, and enjoy slow-pressed apple cider, freshly made cider doughnuts and just-baked Cider Mill crumb cake. On most weekends through September and October, you can catch free cider pressing demonstrations to see how it’s done.
Explore the countryside of Morris County as you make your way through spectacular fall foliage to reach Ralston Cider Mill Museum in Mendham, an operational cider mill and museum housed in an 1848 stone and timber building. Here, you can learn about the history of the mill and the step-by-step process of apple cider production. On October 14, 2017, attend a special event from 1 - 4 p.m. to watch apples being pressed on the historic equipment and to sample the fresh cider. Note; Open Sundays only the last two weeks in September, and weekends in October.
Looking for apple cider with a bit more bite? Those over 21-years-old can get a taste of hard apple cider at Würstbar JC in Jersey City, where you can pair specialty sausages (think: duck and venison) with a glass of crisp, refreshing (and alcoholic) cider off the extensive bottle list. At The Sterling Hotel in Sterling, indulge in comfort food classics such as fish ‘n’ chips or macaroni ‘n’ cheese alongside a craft cider on tap.
Ready for more adventures? Find even more fun things to do this fall.