Apple Picking Near NYC: Making a Day of It
I know lots of you guys are skipping through pumpkin patches by now, but I’ve been wanting to post photos and tips from our apple picking trip to Tehrune Orchards in New Jersey ever since we went a few weeks ago. Our friend Won planned the trip, which included a visit to Princeton (which, by the way, is so charming a town that I wanted to stick a knife in my eye).
If you’re looking for a whole list of places to choose from, there are tons of websites for that here, here, and here. And Bon Appetit posted a great list this season with 7 common apple-picking mistakes to avoid.
Those up there should help you out in the information front. But here’s where you’ll catch photos of the Baby Bean having a ball, and suggestions for how to make a really fun day trip out of apple picking. If you’re not a New Yorker but ever plan on visiting in the fall, I highly suggest doing a trip like this. It’s such a fun fall tradition, one that I can’t wait to continue in coming years. And I would recommend this particular itinerary in a heartbeat:
First Stop: Tehrune Orchards
I’ve been to a grand total of 1 apple orchard in the New York area, but from what I understand, one of the considerations is always whether the orchard has all the “fixings” that make apple-picking an all-out fall affair. Especially true if you have little ones. Tehrune definitely fits the bill in that regard. We’re talking apple cider, apple cider donuts (so scrumptious!), candied apples, and a small store hawking a lot of the farm’s local produce and treats. They also have a corn maze, hayrides (we had the whole wagon to ourselves!) and lots of fun animals. They even had a wine tasting room.
Now, I should mention that we were stupid – I mean brave – enough to pile into our cars and make the trip despite waking up to a truly miserable morning. It had been raining all night, and the clouds were still weeping when we woke up. I wanted to go so badly but baby and I had both been sniffling with runny noses, so I just kept staring out the window feeling torn. Daddy Bean – who’s always game, which is probably one of the reasons I married him – made an executive decision and said, “Let’s go. I don’t think we’ll regret it.” Good call, Daddy Bean.
Turns out, going apple picking in the rain is one of the best things ever (in fact, that Bon Appetit article above mentions this). No one else is there, and if you’re lucky enough to have the rain stop the entire time you’re frolicking through the farm (which we were), you can run amok and act like you own the place (which we kinda did). Also, it’s gorgeous. And your kid gets to wear his brand new dino galoshes.
Second Stop: Tiger Noodles
Another bonus of going apple picking on a rainy day: You have a great excuse to eat a big, steamy bowl of noodles. We went to Tiger Noodles in Princeton. That, my friends is a giant bowl of dalu noodles, one of my family’s favorites. Essentially it’s the ingredients of mushu pork, simmered in a substantial broth and topped over thick, chewy noodles. Hit the spot.
Third Stop: Princeton University
I used to dream of going to college on the East Coast (though thankfully for my parents’ bank account I chose UC Berkeley instead). But if I’m honest, it was mostly so I could walk around in scenes like this. Not for the education or anything.
So, basically, I was interested in paying $50,000 a year for fall foliage. Not a terrible investment, right?
Fourth Stop: The Bent Spoon
We parted ways with our friends, but not before they told us we had to visit this little shop, where we sipped some of the best hot chocolate we’ve ever had while taking bites of some pretty glorious small-batch ice cream. One of the flavors was caramel apple, made with apples from none other than Tehrune Orchards! What a nice way to bring the day full circle. If you’re ever in Princeton, I would say this place is a must. They were so nice, too. We didn’t realize until we were paying for our order that they were cash only and we were short an entire dollar (yes, we were that couple). Oops! They gave us a pass, and without attitude either. I was floored. Then we discovered a wayward dollar in the cup holder of our car. Nice one, universe.
Fifth Stop: Hoagie Haven
OK, so the day wasn’t entirely over yet. As we walked back to the car, we passed by Hoagie Haven (also recommended by our friends), and Josh could not help but pick one up “for dinner.” Except that it was about the length of his torso, so really, it was “for dinner, and lunch the next day, and dinner again.”
The sandwich was larger than Miles. It was easier to eat things that were larger than Miles when he was still an infant. It’s much harder to keep up with the practice now that he’s 18 months. But that doesn’t stop us from trying.
So there you have it. An all around successful day, in my book: noodles, the great outdoors (yes, to me, a farm is the great outdoors), dead leaves, ice cream, and an enormous sammie. Who wants to come with us next year?
Oh, and P.S. Then we baked apple pie. Three of them. <sheepish grin> Photos and recipes to come.