It’s officially fall, and apple season is upon us. In the tri-state area we are fortunate enough to live in close proximity to dozens of lovely apple orchards. Some orchards are lovelier than others, so I’ve compiled a list of standout orchards well worth the trip. Hopefully you can skip the long lines, sub-par apples, and mediocre orchards in your apple picking quest.
Naturally Grown Cortland Apples from Matarazzo’s
Once you get your apple bounty home, you’ll have a million and one ways to use them, aside from a perfect ready-made snack. To help you make some decisions, I’ve got a few suggestions outside the usual suspects of pie and cider. So pick your orchard, gather some friends and family, and enjoy the gorgeous fall weather while getting your fill of deliciously seasonal apples.
Where to Pick Them:
- Wightman’s Farms: Located in Morristown, this farm (usually) offers a bit of a respite from the crowds. If you’ve got an aversion to lines, this might be your best bet. Pick apples and pumpkins, ride some hay rides, and get lost in the corn field maze. If you’re lucky you might catch the last of their crop of peaches, and can also find fresh seasonal produce and cider and cider doughnuts.
- Hillview Farms: This orchard in Gillette, NJ, takes you up to their apple trees on a tractor ride, and also offers hay rides on weekends for an extra fee. You can pick pumpkins to carve up for Halloween, stock up on farm fresh produce, and get your fall fix with apple cider doughnuts, cider, and seasonal pies.
- Terhune Orchards: Wine tasting and apple picking might just be my favorite fall combination. Terhune orchards, located in Princeton, NJ, boasts free family fun weekends, where kids can meet farm animals, explore the corn maze, listen to story hour, and pick their fill of apples and pumpkins. Adults can enjoy award-winning wines grown right on the farm.
- Silverman’s Farm: A bit of a haul, but worth the drive. Located in Connecticut, Silverman’s will send you up the hill on a hay ride to their prized orchards dating back to 1920. Pick your apples, and enjoy a selection of gourmet food at the market. They also have a petting zoo.
- Masker Orchards: Just over the border in Warwick, NY, Masker’s orchards date back over 100 years. They also have a fantastic selection of local honey.
- Battle View Orchards: Just a short ride away in Freehold, NJ, this orchard will provide you with recipe suggestions to best use the varieties of apples you’ve picked. They offer thirteen varieties of apples.
- Sun High Orchards: Located in Randolph, NJ, this orchard offers the luxe service of bringing along an apple expert to help you pick the best and most ripe apples, ensuring you take home only the cream of the crop. They also offer hay rides around their property, and you can pick pumpkins through October. Stock up on seasonal produce, local crafts, apple cider, baked goods, fresh pies baked in a huge beehive oven right in front of you, and visit with some friendly farm animals.
- Matarazzos’ Farmers Market: A mainstay in North Caldwell, the Matarazzo family has taken to the road with their Jersey Fresh produce including nearly a dozen varieties of local apples, plus a wide variety of produce. On Saturdays they’re at the Montclair Farmers’ Market, Sundays at the Ramsey Farmers’s Market. Follow them on Facebook to find out which market they’ll attend the rest of the week.
Greening Apples at Matarazzo’s
What to Do With Them: Unusual Suggestions to Use up Your Apple Bounty
- Apple cheddar panini (add-on some bacon if you’re feeling especially decadent)
- Apple onion tarts (use pre-made puff pastry for a super simple dish)
- Cheddar and apple stuffed chicken breasts (maybe wait for the government shutdown to end before you try this one…)
- Apple cheddar pizza with toasted pecans
- Apple butternut squash soup
- Apple, cheddar, and caramelized onion quesadillas
- Apple cinnamon french toast
- Cranberry apple crostata
- Calvados and ginger fizz (recipe below)
For the full article, visit Devil Gourmet.