New Jersey’s Fresh Apple Cider
During the clear, crisp days of autumn, the Garden State’s orchards become fragrant with the tantalizing aroma of ripe apples—and where there are apples, there’s apple cider! Plan a day trip to one of these farms in New Jersey—or treat yourself to a sweet getaway to explore them all—enjoying the beloved fall tradition of picking your own apples and savoring freshly pressed apple cider. (Bonus: we’ve even included a couple picks for the grownups to sip some hard cider.)
In Oldwick, make the most of gloriously sunny autumn days at the Cider Mill & Orchards of Melick’s Town Farm, where 50 acres of orchards are brimming with shiny, ripe apples and the farm comes to life with families enjoying seasonal activities such as hayrides, pumpkin and apple picking, and sipping unfiltered, cold-pasteurized apple cider. The cider mill produces its fresh cider from September through January, and you can purchase extra to bring back home.
From tart Granny Smith apples to sweet Gold Rush apples, Alstede Farms in Chester is abundant in its variety, making it the perfect spot for a day of apple picking and cider sipping. Spend some time exploring the corn maze, petting and feeding the farm animals, and climbing the giant hay pyramid, and then take one of the hayrides to the cider mill to watch how fresh apple cider is made, from start to finish. Clever Conservation: The farm collects rinse water from its cider mill to re-use for irrigation, so you can feel good about supporting a sustainable operation.
Also in Chester, Hacklebarney Farm is a historic, family-owned farm rich with rural charm, where you can enjoy slow-pressed apple cider, freshly made cider doughnuts and other baked goods. On most weekends through September and October, you can catch free cider pressing demonstrations to see how it’s done. Fresh Tip: Beat the traffic with these driving directions!
Explore the countryside of Morris County as you make your way through spectacular fall foliage to reach Ralston Cider Mill Museum in Mendham, an operational cider mill and museum housed in an 1848 stone and timber building. Here, you can learn about the history of the mill and the step-by-step process of apple cider production. Note: Open Sundays only the last two weeks in September, and weekends in October.
Looking for apple cider with a bit more bite? Those over 21-years-old can get a taste of hard cider at Würstbar JC in Jersey City, where you can pair specialty bratwurst, kielbasa or sausages with crisp, refreshing (and alcoholic) cider by the glass, can or bottle off their extensive menu. Or head to the Jersey Shore and check out Beach Bee Meadery in Long Branch, where you can indulge in unique hard cider flavors like passionfruit, guava lime and white tea ginger.
Before visiting the restaurant or farms of your choosing, please check out their official website or social media channels for the latest information—including hours of operation and any specific restrictions.