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How to Pick the Best Pumpkin and 9 Local NJ Pumpkin Patches

by & filed under Family Time : New Jersey.

9 Local NJ Pumpkin Patches

Who doesn’t want a pumpkin as fresh as can be? Supermarket pumpkins can be off the vine for weeks before they make it to the produce section! The solution? Pick your own. Here are five great tips for choosing a long-lasting pumpkin and local farms to pick your own.

1. CHECK OUT THE COLOR OF THE PUMPKIN.

When it comes to finding the perfect pumpkin for carving, color makes a huge difference. Make sure it’s a good color, and what you want is a deeper orange. A pumpkin that is mostly green, but has patches of orange would still be a good pumpkin to choose if you don’t plan to carve it right away, pumpkin can still ripen even after you’ve picked it from the patch, but don’t start carving until its mostly orange.

2. LOOK FOR HOLES, WOUNDS, OR SCABS ON THE PUMPKIN.

You don’t want soft spots or darkening spots. Small imperfections can be okay if you plan to carve the pumpkin right away, but if you’re waiting and need the pumpkin to hold up, then you don’t want it to have any blemishes. Soft spots indicate that the pumpkin is beginning to spoil and rot. To check for soft spots, feel around the pumpkin with your hands and press across the skin of the pumpkin with your fingers. Scrapes, on the other hand, aren’t as bad as wounds or soft spots when it comes to carving a pumpkin. You need to make sure that your pumpkin doesn’t have any open holes. A blemish-free pumpkin would be the ideal choice.

3. CHOOSE A PUMPKIN WITH A GREEN STEM.

The stem of the pumpkin can be a good indicator of its health. A stem that’s a pretty green is always best. Stems can dry up, though, and that’s okay. The pumpkin can still be good. What you need to look for is evidence of mold. The growth of mold signals that the pumpkin is on its way to decaying, and you don’t want that. A green handle is better than a brown handle if you want your pumpkin to last through October.

4. DON’T GO FOR MINI PUMPKINS.

They might look cute but they can be harder to carve. The small size of the pumpkin could increase the risk of getting cut with the carving knife and requires a better level of skill when carving. “The smaller size also means that you might not be able to fit a candle or a flashlight in the pumpkin,” Dussel says. So, if you want to choose a pumpkin that both you and your children can carve together, a larger pumpkin is always the best route. Another benefit of choosing a large pumpkin? They can be sculpted like clay for carving really cool facial features. Carve outside in, and you can get some great light and shadow effects with a large jack-o-lantern.

5.  AN ODD-LOOKING PUMPKIN MIGHT BE PERFECT.

If you want to have a truly frightening or unique jack-o-lantern, then choosing an odd-shaped pumpkin might be the right way to go. Sometimes, pumpkins are odd-shaped if they’ve grown next to a rock or had a vine wrapped around it.  So-called warty pumpkins have been really popular during Halloween because they make great faces for goblins or witches. The “warts” aren’t true warts. Instead, it’s a genetic mutation that creates a bumpy texture across the skin of the pumpkin that resembles warts in appearance. It’s one of the many varieties of pumpkins and it might be exactly what you’re looking for.

Here are a list of local pumpkin farms- most within an hour’s drive. Be aware that often a pumpkin patch will have clipped the vines to make it easier to choose your pumpkin. Vines also can be tripped on! If you visit a farm that allows you to pick your specimen directly from the vine, remember to bring a clipper or pocket knife to cut the vines. If you are traveling with little ones or planning to get a really BIG pumpkin, consider bringing a wagon. It will come in handy for toting pumpkins and tired toddlers.

 

 Ort Farms 25 Bartley Road, Long Valley

Details: Located in beautiful Long Valley, Ort Farms is known for its peaceful and scenic atmosphere. The farm features a great pumpkin patch where visitors chop pumpkins off the vine. This hundred-year-old farm also features hayrides, farm animals, a corn maze and monster truck rides. Their farm stand includes fall treats such as freshly baked pies and apple cider donuts.
More InfoVisit the website or you can give them a call

Alstede Farms . 1 Alstede Farms Lane, Chester

Details: Perhaps one of the most popular farms in the state, Alstede Farms features tons of fall family fun. In addition to pumpkin picking, the farm features a bounce house, hay pyramid, corn maze and farm animals. Be sure to try a scoop of the farm’s delicious homemade pumpkin ice cream while you’re there. Visitors can pick pumpkins from mid-September through mid-November. The farm gets extremely busy on weekends, but luckily, Alstede features plenty of activities during the week as well.
More Info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.

Riamede Farm   122 Oakdale Road, Chester

Details: Riamede Farm offers an authentic pumpkin picking experience, one where you cut the pumpkin off the vine yourself! A weekend visit to this tranquil farm includes a hayride to the pumpkin patch. (Don’t forget to bring a pair of clippers.) Riamede farm is open daily from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm.
More Info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.

Terhune Orchards 330 Cold Soil Road, Princeton

Details: Head to Terhune Orchards to find that perfect Jack-O-Lantern pumpkin. The farm’s huge pick-your-own patch features pumpkins of all shapes and sizes. Cheese pumpkins, which are perfect for baking, are also available in the farm store. Weekend activities also include music, pony rides, scavenger hunts, and a corn maze. There’s even a wine tasting room on-site, featuring award-winning wines made from grapes grown at Terhuad 513e.
More Info: Visit the website or you can give them a call

Demarest Farms 244 Wierimus Road, Hillsdale

For an interesting twist on a visit to the pumpkin patch, check out Demarest Farm’s Friday Night Movies and Pumpkin Picking. The farm also features pumpkin and apple picking, and a variety of fall attractions during the rest of the week.
More Info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.

Melick’s Town Farm 472 Country  Road, Califon

Details: Head to Melick’s Town Farm on weekends for a horse-drawn wagon ride out to the pumpkin patch, where you can choose from the many pumpkins that are still growing on the vine. The farm also has plenty of gourds, corn stalks, Indian corn and hay bales to help you decorate your home for the fall season. In addition, Melick’s boasts a free grass maze, giant hay bales, and friendly farm animals.
More Info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.

Norz Hill Farm 120 S Branch Road, Hillsborough

Details: Looking to go pumpkin picking during the week? Avoid the weekend crowds and head to Norz Hill Farm. Norz Hill also offers weekday hayrides to the pumpkin patch. Of course, they still offer things to do from Fri-Sun as well. In fact, they really go all out. On the weekends, activities expand to include farm tours, a corn maze, a food stand, a kid’s corner and more.
More Info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.

Bullock Farms 83 Emley’s Hill Road, Cream Ridge

Details: Enjoy a scenic 25-minute hayride through beautiful Bullock Farms to their pumpkin patch. The farm offers pumpkins, gourds and ornamental squash right from the field. The wagons continuously drop off and pick up, so visitors can spend as much time as they need to find the perfect pumpkin. Bullock’s is open for pumpkin picking on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from September 22 through October 31. Kids can also enjoy the farm’s corn mazes and animals.
More Info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.

Tranquility Farms 47 Decker Pond Rd, Andover

Details: Tranquility Farms has returned to on-the-vine pumpkin picking this year. The farm’s vast fields are filled with beautiful pumpkins of all shapes and sizes. During Fall Fest, which takes place on weekends from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, guests can take a hayride to the pumpkin field for just $2. Additional activities include pumpkin launchers and corn cannons, a giant bounce pillow and a corn maze.
More Info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.

 9 Local NJ Pumpkin Patches

 9 Local NJ Pumpkin Patches

 9 Local NJ Pumpkin Patches


Best Local NJ Apple Picking Spots & 4 Tips Before You Go

by & filed under Family Time : New Jersey.

Best Local NJ Apple PickingAlthough it’s still technically summer, September is the best time to plan your apple picking adventure. New Jersey has an abundance of farms and orchards replete with pumpkin patches, corn mazes, hayrides, and, of course, rows and rows of apple trees ready to be harvested for pies, tarts, and cobblers. Start your autumn early with a field trip to the best apple-picking destinations within an hour’s drive.

Four tips for Apple Picking Success

Come prepared

Before you go, call ahead to check the orchard is open for picking and to find out what varieties are available. Availability will depend on whether the apples have been picked out. Plan to bring some sturdy bags for your apples, just in case the orchard doesn’t provide them.

Size them up

 Look for apples that are a good size and color.“If they are a limey green (unless they are Granny Smith), they are not ready yet.

Know how to pick ’em

What’s the best way to pick an apple? Eye to the sky and twist! On the bottom of the apple it looks like an eye. Take the apple and hold it gently, roll the apple upwards and give it a twist. When you pick the apple, it should come off fairly easily. If you really have to work at it, it’s not ready to come off.

Store with care

Store apples in the fridge in a plastic bag to maintain their crispness. Apples love humidity- you can place a damp tea towel on top of them too.

Places to go:

Riamede Farm
Chester
If you’re looking for a peaceful and simple apple-picking excursion, look no further than Riamede Farm. The farm’s straightforward approach to apple picking means a more serene outing and better time appreciating Mother Nature’s gifts in the form of over 34 apple varieties spanning over 68 acres. In September, expect ripe Ginger Gold, Gala, Cortland, Ruby, and Macintosh beauties. The farm recommends calling ahead of time if you’re looking to get specific information about which apples are available for picking. Apple and pumpkin picking are offered daily, and hayrides are free on weekends.

Alstede Farms
Chester
In addition to apples, visitors to Alstede Farms can pick pumpkins, gourds, corn, and potatoes (prices vary depending on when you go). An on-site market sells baked goods, ice cream, produce, dairy, and wine. Weekend evenings bring harvest moon hayrides, live music, bonfires, and flashlight-guided corn-mazing for the brave.

Wightman Farms
Morristown
Fall comes alive on the weekends at Wightman, with a variety of activities to choose from including apple picking, a corn maze, games, and a pumpkin slingshot. Seven dollars gets you a membership card that lasts all season (you’ll pay for what you pick), and the $20 Ultimate Farm Experience gets you a hayride, pumpkin and apple picking, a walk through the corn maze, and a cider doughnut.

Battleview Orchards
Freehold
Owned and operated by four generations of the Applegate family (really), this farm offers apple and pumpkin picking to visitors daily through October, with hayrides available on weekends. Be sure to check out the farm’s Facebook page to get up-to-date information on pricing (apples and pumpkins are sold by the pound) and see which variety of apples are available for picking, or peruse the farm’s many apple recipes to make sure you are getting the best use out of your haul.

Terhune Orchards
Princeton
Terhune is open for fruit picking year-round, and fall, of course, is apple season. Check out their guide to to see what available apple varieties are best for eating, cooking, and baking. The farm hosts harvest festivals with live music, food, mazes, and wagon rides every weekend till Halloween. Festival admission is $10, but orchard-only access is free. Guests can also pick pumpkins, visit barnyard animals, and sample wine in the Terhune tasting room.

Eastmont Orchards
Colts Neck
Another farm that keeps things on the simpler side, Eastmont Orchards offers apple picking daily through the end of October. Apples are priced by the pound, and visitors can also pick pumpkins, gourds, or purchase specialty honeys and jams. Check out the farm’s Facebook page to get updates on which apples are available for picking, and be sure to look over its recipe page, which includes tips and secrets to baking the best apple pie.

Giamarese Farm & Orchards
East Brunswick
On top of more than a dozen apple varieties, Giamarese Farm & Orchards also offers pick-your-own pumpkins. Picking passes are $7, including a $5 fruit credit. (Apples and pumpkins are priced by the pound — $1.99 and $.69, respectively.) The farm is open daily for the month of October, and has a slew fall harvest festivities on the weekends, including hayrides, a corn maze, and food vendors. It also sells mums, corn stalks, gourds, and specialty goods in its market.

Melick’s Town Farm
Califon & Oldwick
With more than 20,000 apple trees, Melick’s Town Farm claims to be the largest apple grower in New Jersey. It offers two different orchards to choose from; one in Califon and another in Oldwick, meaning visitors have a collective 250 acres and over 20 varieties of apples to choose from, with picking available through the first week of November. Horse-drawn wagon rides, barnyard animals, and fresh-baked goods are featured at the Califon location, with homemade apple cider (along with cider press demonstrations) and hard cider available by the bottle, can, glass, or growler available at the Oldwick location.

Sun High Orchards


Randolph
Pick apples and pumpkins daily from September 15 through the end of October at Sun High. Produce is priced by the pound (call ahead for market rate and availability), and guests receive a complimentary bag for collecting the fruits of their labor. Weekend hayrides are $1 per person, and mums, corn stalks, and fall decorations are available for purchase. Pack a lunch and lounge at a picnic table, or grab soups, salads, homemade ice cream, baked goods, and hot spiced cider from the market kitchen.

Von Thun’s Country Farm
South Brunswick
Open daily from Mid-September through Halloween, VonThun Farms’ South Brunswick location offers a lineup of fall activities including apple and pumpkin picking, a corn maze, hayrides, lawn games, and barnyard animals. Apples are $2.99 per pound, and pumpkins go for $.69 per pound. If you’re looking to stretch out your day into the evening, VonThun Farms also offers moonlight corn maze visits and campfire rentals with s’mores kits. Check out the farm’s website to get more information about pricing and evening activity packages.

Pochuck Valley Farms
Vernon
Pochuck Valley Farms’ deli serves breakfast, lunch, and fresh-baked goods daily, so you can fortify before you collect your bushel. Pick-what-you-wish is open every day through Halloween, and includes pumpkins, gourds, and winter squash. The requisite apples run $30-$35 for 20-pound bags. Grab a free sample of the homemade cider.

2019 Fall Fashion Preview with Sonia Minetti of Neiman Marcus

by & filed under Portraiture.

2019 Fall Fashion Preview2019 Fall Fashion Preview

The Neiman Marcus Fall Fashion Show is probably my favorite event of the season. Each year I look forward to meeting up with stylist Sonia Minetti and seeing what she has gathered to showcase the latest trends. This year the show took place at the fabulous Hudson Yards, If you are looking to expand your wardrobe Sonia is your go-to. You can reach her at 201.417.3067 and follow her on Instagram @soniaminettisengos. Here are my notes on this year’s trends as well as my wish list!

Choosing Colors:

  • Neutral colors play a large part of the look for this year.
  • Camel Camel Camel
  • Winter white
  • Mix salmon, paprika’s and saffron and camel- just gorgeous!
  • Greens are big especially pistachio-  mixed with camel looks super fabulous.

Pieces

  • Statement coat – big and bold
  • Skirts pleated with chunky sweaters
  • Leather and suede minis.
  • Boots to and over the knee are in
  • Wide leg pants- I’m looking for a pair in winter white.
  • Chunky sweaters are everywhere
  • Tweed suit rocks
  • Platform shoes

Details

  • Big billowing sleeves which I love!
  • Sequins for evening -80’s
  • Big shoulders for fall
  • Minimalism in bags and totes
  • Booties with skirt or dress
  • Animal print are still hot – what’s new is mixing. As our beloved stylist said ‘Let the jungle loose’
  • Leather and fur
  • Layering jewelry and mixing metals
  • Layering pearls

My must-haves for this season are a fantastic sexy blouse in a floral print & cream flared pants. What’s on your list for Fall?

 

2019 Fall Fashion Preview 2019 Fall Fashion Preview 2019 Fall Fashion Preview