Living in the Garden State means we not only have access to plump, juicy fruits and vegetables, but we can also pick them ourselves.
Across the state, U-pick farms have opened their fields for picking season. Wander through farmland where you grow everything from strawberries and peaches to peas and raspberries, and fill your basket as you go.
Here’s what you need to know about U-pick farms in New Jersey. Be sure to call ahead or check the farm’s website to make sure picking is open for the day.
Alstede Farms, Chester Township
Alstede Farms is one of Jersey’s largest pick-your-own farms. Expect strawberries, peas, radishes, cilantro and raspberries in June; blueberries, beans, peaches, sweet corn and peppers in July; and more products throughout the fall.
All pickers must purchase a ticket on the website before coming to the farm; tickets include one hour entry. Time slots are open every 30 minutes from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. With your ticket, you can purchase a 1-liter container or a 6-liter container to fill with produce, but you can purchase additional containers during your visit.
Go: 1 Alstede Farms Lane, Chester Township; 908-879-7189, alstedefarms.com.
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Bader Farms Local Produce, Pine Brook
If you’re looking for nutritious vegetables, head to Bader Farms Home Grown Produce in Pine Brook. The 15-acre farm is run by one family, Ivan and Jean Bader, and their sons Ian and Sean. There you can pick your own ripe tomatoes, peppers, crisp green beans, dark purple eggplant, sweet corn, zucchini and more. These vegetables are grown without insecticides or chemicals in sustainable composted soil.
Pick-your-own takes place from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Go: 290 Changebridge Road, Pine Creek; 973-227-0294, baderfarms.com.
Battleview Orchards, Freehold
Family-owned Battleview Orchard rotates its U-pick products around what’s fresh. Strawberry picking is over for the season, but you can pick a few sour cherries. Peaches and nectarines will be available when they ripen in the summer.
Battleview does not take reservations. U-pick is first come, first served. No strollers, backpacks, bags or reusable fruit containers are allowed. The farm will provide a collection bin. Cash only.
Go: 91 Wemrock Road, freehold; 732-462-0756, battlevieworchards.com.
Demarest Farms, Hillsdale
The fishing season at scenic Demarest Farms runs from July through August. General admission is $5 per person (under 2s are free) and a bag to hold your peaches is $15. Each bag contains approximately 10-12 pounds of peaches.
Once the peaches are ripe, Demarest Farms will post a reservation system on their website that will assign you a time slot. U-pick tickets will not be available at the farm and there will be no wagon rides. All payments will be made digitally.
Go: 244 Wiermus Road, Hillsdale; 201-666-0472, demarestfarms.com.
DiMeo Farms, Hammonton
Choose organic blueberries from the pine forests of DiMeo Farms. The farm by the creek also includes nature trails and picnic tables in the forest. The blueberry picking season started on June 1. Call ahead to make an appointment the same day. Blueberries are $2.50 a pint, and DiMeo Farms is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Go: 3101 Nesco Road, Hammonton; 609-561-5905, dimeofarms.com.
Emery’s Farm, New Egypt
The sprawling and lush Emery’s Farm grows five varieties of blueberries: Duke, Blueray, Bluecrop, Darrow and Chandler. Not familiar with blueberry varieties? All you need to know is that they’re plump, delicious, and will soon be available for pick-your-own from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily (usually). Check the Facebook page for updates on when the farm is open.
The blueberry field is a short walk from the main store. It is recommended to wear sneakers, hats and clothing suitable for the weather. Admission is $2 and the price of blueberries per pound is $3.
Go: 346 Long Swamp Road, New Egypt; 609-758-8514, emerysfarm.com.
Farms View New Jersey Farm Market & Garden Center, Wayne
Farms View is another place to get your hands on some delicious strawberries. The land is a few meters from the main store and is easily accessible for families with young children. Strawberries are currently ripe on the farm, with other varieties ripening later in the season. Admission is $3 weekdays, $5 weekends; strawberries are $5.50 a pound. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday.
Go: 945 Black Oak Ridge Road, Wayne; 973-839-1212, farmsview.com.
Mood’s Farm Market, Mullica Hill
Mood’s is a quintessential barn with its name painted in black letters on the chipped white structure. Beyond are fields of fruit and vegetables that customers browse to make their choice, including blueberries and raspberries in June, sweet plums, white peaches, nectarines and blackberries in July, and red pears , plums and grapes in August.
Mood’s asks that you bring your own bucket or box (plastic bags are not permitted). Hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Go: 901 South Bridgeton Pike, Mullica Hill; 856-478-2500, moodsfarmmarket.com.
Sussex County Strawberry Farm, Newton
Juicy, bright red strawberries can be dusted with sugar, sliced and put on yogurt and ice cream, baked in pies and pastries, pureed in jams or eaten on their own. Whichever way you prefer this sweet snack, you can pick yours at Sussex County Strawberry Farm. Raspberries and blackberries are available at the end of August and September. Hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to noon Saturday and Sunday (but call ahead as hours are subject to change).
Go: 565 Route 206, Newton; 973-579-5055, sussexcountystrawberryfarm.com.
Wightman Farms, Morristown
Wightman Farms is a Jersey staple that’s been in business since 1922. The strawberries here are plumped and picked, and customers are free to walk around and fill their baskets with strawberries. Once strawberries shrivel up, cherries, peaches, nectarines and apples take their place, allowing for five months of U-pick. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
Wightman’s charges a one-time $10 per person entry fee, good for the entire season, and includes a reusable tote bag. The fruit you pick is not included in the admission price. Strawberries are $6.99 per pound.
Go: 1111 Mont Kemble Avenue, Morristown; 973-425-9819, wightmanfarms.com.
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Other u-pick farms
Eastmont Orchards: Apples, peaches. Opens in July for the fishing season. 169 County Road 537, Cols Neck; 732-542-5404, eastmontorchards.com.
The Hallock U-Pick Farm: Snap peas, snap peas, snow peas, broccoli, spinach, cilantro and more. 38 Fischer Road, New Egypt; 609-758-8847, hallocksupick.com.
Bear Berries: Blueberries. 1449 Junction Road, Browns Mills section of Pemberton; 609-636-5158, bearberries91.com.
Blueberry Bill Farms, Inc.: Blueberries. 914 11th St., Hammonton;
Haines Berry Farm: Blueberries. 98 Sheep Pen Hill Road, Pemberton; 609-894-8630, hatesberryfarm.com.
U-pick Lindsay blueberries: Blueberries. 436 Pleasant Mills Road, Hammonton; 609-561-2474, facebook.com/LindsaysBlueberries.
Specca Farms: English shell peas, snow peas, broad beans, nappa cabbage, beets and more. 870 Jacksonville-Mount Holly Road, Bordentown; 609-267-4445, facebook.com/SpeccaFarmsPickYourOwn.
Piney Hollow Farm: Blueberries. 502 East Piney Hollow Road, Williamstown section of Monroe; 856-629-5188, facebook.com/PineyHollowFarm.
Melick Town Farm: Apples, strawberries, peaches, nectarines and pumpkins. 19 King Street, Oldwick; 908-439-2318, melickstownfarm.com.
Phillips Farms: Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, currants, sweet and sour cherries and apples. 290 Church Road, Milford; 908-995-0022, phillipsfarms.com.
Giamarese Farm: Strawberries, peas, spring greens, peaches and nectarines. 155 Fresh Ponds Road, East Brunswick; 732-821-9494, giamaresefarm.com.
Donaldson Farms: Strawberries and raspberries. 3345 Allen Road, Mansfield; 908-852-9122, donaldsonfarms.net.
Stoneyfield Orchards: Strawberries, plums, peaches, apples, pears and cherries. 5 Orchard Street, Belvidere; 908-475-5209, stoneyfieldorchard.com.
Rebecca King is a food writer for NorthJersey.com. To find out more about where to dine and drink, please register today and join our North Jersey Eats Newsletter.