New Jersey summer produce is more than just corn and tomatoes. In July and August, the Garden State’s bounty includes blueberries, blackberries, peaches, raspberries and more. The summer months are also when sunflowers blossom. The best way to experience what’s in season is by going out and picking it yourself. Picking your own produce is a fun, rewarding activity that lets us see where our food comes from. It’s also a safe way to spend a day out in the age of social distancing.
If you’re itching to get picking, check out our picks for New Jersey pick-your-own farms.
Valley Crest Farm & Preserve
Look forward to a peaceful picking experience on this quiet, refreshingly noncommercial, Hunterdon County farm. Parking is free, and there is no entrance fee. Pick peaches and cut dahlias to your heart’s content; leave a donation in the till before you go. Proceeds go to Valley Crest’s mission to donate fresh produce to people in need. Supplement your visit with a walk on one of the farm’s woodland trails.
14 Allerton Road, 908-238-9696
Produce options abound on this 600-acre farm. Come summertime, take your pick of blueberries, blackberries, peaches and raspberries, or cut sunflowers for a stunning centerpiece. Visit on weekdays to avoid the crowds. Pick-your-own tickets must be purchased through the farm’s website.
1 Alstede Farms Lane, 908-258-6245
This farm became one of the first in New Jersey to offer pick-your-own fruit back in 1972. Here, the summer months bring about peaches and nectarines. It’s cash only to pick. Open year-round, the farm’s country store is a good source of culinary inspiration with its assortment of jams, jellies, sauces and spices. Also for sale are baked goods, gift baskets and fresh produce.
91 Wemrock Road, 732-462-0756
Don’t let the name fool you; this farm isn’t just for the birds, though they do sell oven-ready turkeys. A variety of pick-your-own produce is available during the summer months, from sour green apples in July to blackberries and nectarines in August. Membership is required; just fill out a liability form and pay a $2 fee. To pick, a $5 deposit is charged per adult and is put toward the total purchase.
201 Hickory Corner Road, 609-448-0629
Califon and Oldwick
There are three Melick’s locations in Central New Jersey; however, only the Califon and Oldwick locations offer pick-your-own. (The third Melick’s outpost, in Bridgewater, is a stand-alone market.) In Califon, visitors can pick yellow and white peaches. Reservations are required, and it’s $2.99 per person for one hour of picking. Picked peaches are $1.59 per pound for more than 10 pounds, $1.99 for 10 pounds or less. Oldwick offers pick-your-own flowers, charged by the stem.
472 Route 513, Califon, 908-832-2905; 19 King Street, Oldwick, 908-439-2318
Every summer brings a bounty of berries to be picked at this farm on the banks of the Delaware River. The selection in July and August includes blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, as well as peaches and cherries. Picked produce is charged by weight. A Phillips Farms bucket must be used when picking. Buckets cost $2 and can be reused.
91 Crab Apple Hill Road, 908-995-0022
This farm, less than five miles from the heart of Princeton, invites visitors to pick their own blackberries, blueberries and flowers during the summer months. Also onsite is a farm store open year-round, and for grownups, a wine-tasting room. All of the wines are crafted from Terhune’s own produce.
330 Cold Soil Road, 609-924-2310
Dating back to 1886, this farm is a Bergen County institution. They specialize in pick-your-own peaches, with 12 varieties to choose from. The picking season generally starts in mid-July, and you must make a reservation through their website. Admission is $5 per person for anyone older than two. Bags cost $12 and can hold between 10 and 12 pounds of peaches.
244 Wierimus Road, 201-666-0472
Living up to the farm’s name, there’s nothing but blueberries as far as the eye can see on Emery’s Berry Farm. Picking season usually runs from mid-June through July. Twenty of the farm’s 60 acres are dedicated to growing eight varieties of blueberries. Admission is $2 per person; picked berries cost $3 per pound. The farm market offers baked goods and gift baskets, as well as preserves, jams and butters—some available with no sugar added. Pre-picked blueberries are also for sale.
346 Long Swamp Road, 609-758-8514
Here, the growing season starts with sweet cherries in June and ends with pumpkins in October. From July through August, visitors can get their hands on blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, peaches, plums, pears, grapes and nectarines. They’ve also got sunflowers starting mid-July. Stop by the market for a bounty of blueberry products, including cider, jam, salsa and syrup, as well as other homemade goods and fresh produce.
901 Bridgeton Pike, 856-478-2500Click here to leave a comment