After months of cold weather the summer season beckons people to spend time outdoors enjoying the fresh air. Monmouth and Ocean counties are home to farms, wineries and various outdoor festivals that offer fun activities that will get you outside and keep you there. PICK-YOUR-OWN
There is something so delicious about fresh cherries and ripe peaches in the hot summer months. Instead of picking up fruit at a local grocery store, these farms invite you to pick your own fruit straight from the fields. Battleview Orchards, 91 Wemrock Road, Freehold, has been owned and operated by the Applegate family since 1908. During the summer months at Battleview Orchards you can pick peaches and
nectarines straight through the end of the summer. For more information on days and times to pick your own produce, visit battlevieworchards.com. Alstede Farms, 1 Alstede Farms Lane, Chester, has an extensive pick-your-own harvest schedule that ranges from fruits to vegetables. Until the end of July spend the day picking red and black summer raspberries and blueberries. From the end of the July until October enjoy picking sweet corn and vegetables such as peppers, eggplant and tomatoes. Fruits, including peaches, cantaloupe, nectarines, honeydew and canary melon, are also in the fields for picking from mid-July or August until mid-September. Begin August picking Asian pears and come mid-August blackberries and yellow and red fall raspberries will also be available for your picking enjoyment.
From August to the end of October, certain apple varieties can be picked as well. Sounds like a good time to bake some homemade apple pies. September is the month of elderberries and, of course, from the middle of September until the middle of November fall pickings come in the form of pumpkins, gourds, potatoes and Indian corn. For more information on the pick-your-own calendar, visit alstedefarms.com. Hallock’s U-Pick Farm, 38 Fischer Road, New Egypt, is a farm that is a true testament to its name. It is all about picking your own fruits and vegetables. Now available for picking are red, yellow and white onions, mustard greens, turnips, collards, kale and rabe, beets, swiss chard, string beans, flat beans and green, red and savoy cabbage. For more information on the fruits and vegetables ready to pick when you visit, go to hallocksupick.com. The farm requests you call ahead to check availability of produce. Johnson’s Corner Farm, 133 Church Road, Medford, allows you to not only pick your own blueberries, string beans and corn, but provides hayrides to transport you throughout the farm while picking. Pick peaches as well until the end of August. Cool down with some ice cream and a splash pad once you’re done picking in the fields. For more information, visit johnsonsfarm.com. Phillips Farms, 290 Church Road, Milford, offers the opportunity to pick blueberries, black and red raspberries, blackberries, peaches and apples. For more information on scheduled times, visit phillipsfarms.com. Emery’s Blueberry Farm, 346 Long Swamp Road, New Egypt, is a 60-acre farm and 20 of those acres are dedicated to blueberries. Emery’s sells their “blues” in pints or flats for the ‘u-pick’ experience and they currently grow eight varieties of high-bush blueberries. For more information, visit emerysfarm.com. Dewolfs U-Pick Farm, 58 W. Colliers Mill Road, New Egypt, offers pick-your-own peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, long beans, broccoli, fava beans, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, herbs, beans, peas, broccoli rabe, spinach, squash and more. For more information and picking times, follow the Facebook page: Dewolfs U Pick Farm. Terhune Orchards, 330 Cold Soil Road, Princeton, offers a long list of pick-your-own produce. Blueberries, blackberries and flowers are currently available for picking. For more information on the pick-your-own schedule and how it works, visit terhuneorchards.com. Giamarese Farm, 155 Fresh Ponds Road, East Brunswick, offers pick-your-own peaches and nectarines during the summer months as well as vegetables, fruits and Christmas trees during other growing seasons. For more information on the Giamarese schedule, visit giamaresefarm.com. WINERIES Spending the day walking through a vineyard, enjoying the scenery and all the venue has to offer is a great summer activity. Although we may not live in wine country, New Jersey is chock full of wineries to choose from. Laurita Winery, 85 Archertown Road, New Egypt, offers an experience at the winery that reflects both Old World traditions and the place fine wine has at the table as a complement to a contemporary meal. The winery also hosts events throughout the year such as ladies night out, outdoor movies and food truck festivals. For more information on the winery, products and events, visit lauritawinery.com. 4JG’s Orchards and Vineyards, 127 Hillsdale Road, Colts Neck, is where the Giunco family made its first barrel of wine in 2002. The 4JG’s vineyard hosts various events and wine tastings throughout the year, along with barrel tasting and trivia events. For more information, visit 4jgswinery.com. Cream Ridge Winery, 145 Rte. 539, Cream Ridge, has been handcrafting wine since 1988. Hosting a variety of events, from festivals to wine and chocolate weekends, the winery features 24 wines to choose from. For more information, visit creamridgewines.com. Renault Winery Resort and Golf, 72 N Bremen Ave., Egg Harbor City, triples as a winery, resort and golf course. The winery stands proud as one of the oldest continuously operating wineries in the United States. The hotel is comprised of 45 guest rooms, while the golf course offers 7,000 yards of greens. For more information on events and the winery, visit renaultwinery.com. Working Dog Winery, 610 Windsor Perrineville Road, Robbinsville, started with three acres of Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay. Today the winery offers various types of red, white and sweet wines and hosts events. For more information, visit workingdogwinery.com. Alba Vineyard, 269 Route 627, Village of Finesville, Milford, is a 93-acre estate nestled in the rolling hills of Warren County. The vineyard hosts private and public tours, along with Music Under the Arbor showcasing different acts, farm-to-fork dinners and a wine, beer and spirits showcase and more. For more information, visit albavineyard.com. FESTIVALS
The summer season and festivals go hand-in-hand at the shore. The Visionary Tattoo Arts Festival, July 28 through 30, is in its eighth year and takes place inside Convention Hall, 1300 Ocean Ave, Asbury Park. This tattoo festival is three days of nonstop live tattooing, tattoo contests, live music, midget wrestling, burlesque, side show, live human suspension, the 5th annual Miss Asbury Park pinup contest, after-parties and more. For more information, visit visionarytattoofest.com. The Soulsational Music and Wellness Festival will take place on Saturday, July 29, at 11 a.m. at Veterans Park in Bayville. The seventh annual festival features live music on two stages, 150 vendors, food trucks, yoga, a kids village, arts and crafts and more. For more information, visit soulsational.info. Highlands Clam Festival is in its 23rd year, celebrating the best of local seafood and featuring local restaurants. The four-day festival will be held Aug. 3 through 6 in Huddy Park. Rides, games, live entertainment, a beer and wine garden and more will all be offered at the festival. For more information, visit highlandsnj.com.
Monmouth Park in Oceanport invites all to celebrate the culture of Italy with authentic music, food, wines and bocce during the Italian Festival, Saturday, Aug. 5, starting at 11:30 a.m. For more information, visit monmouthpark.com. It’s time to get your Irish on at Laurita Winery the same weekend, as the New Egypt winery hosts an Irish Festival. Enjoy Irish fare, dancing, entertainment and more. For more information, visit lauritawinery.com. The Berry Craft Festival will take place on Sunday, Aug. 6, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., at Old Squan Plaza on Voorhees Drive.
The Manasquan Senior Citizen Organization will welcome local artisans to the festival, which showcases delectable, homemade berry dishes. Ocean Township gets a taste of Italy from Aug. 9 through 13 at the Italian Festival of Ocean Township. The 41st annual festival celebrates Italian heritage and culture in Joe Palaia Park, 200 Whalepond Road, Oakhurst, and is hosted by the Italian American Association of the Township of Ocean, visit iaato.com.