By Alissa Deleo
Night & Day Magazine
Autumn weekends are the perfect time to make memories enjoying the magic of a sunflower field or exploring a farm. Interested in photography? Flower fields create the perfect backdrop for all types of photos. Pick your own stunning sunflowers to take home or to share with friends and family. Sunflower bouquets are a wonderful gift idea, that is sure to spread joy. Take in the magnificence of these blooms today, by planning a day trip to visit one of these beautiful New Jersey locations.
HOLLAND RIDGE FARMS
Holland Ridge Farms, 86 Rues Rd, Cream Ridge, is the largest u-pick flower farm on the East Coast with 60 acres of flowers. This pristine family-owned farm offers visitors two pick your own flower seasons, with u-pick tulips in the spring and u-pick sunflowers in the fall. Holland Ridge Farms will reopen Friday Sept. 24th for their 2021 U-Pick sunflower season, and will be open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Costs for guests ages three and up will be $12.80. Come immerse yourself in an endless sea of locally grown sunflowers, with eight varieties of sunflowers including yellow, red and white plus thousands of other cut flowers including, gladiolas, mums, lilies, dahlias and more. Assorted colorful flowers are available to pick at $1 per stem. Long handle clippers are provided to cut the stems and plastic buckets are provided for carrying the flowers. Throughout the fields there will be dutch themed props, perfect for photos, including an oversized wooden picture frame and a butterfly wall. “This will be our fourth sunflower season, we have doubled it each year. We put a lot of focus on our social media to show people the flowers and what they can do at the farm,” said creative manager, Patrick Marini. The farm also offers free tractor pulled hayrides and farm animals to visit. On the weekend there will be pony rides and a petting zoo. Visitors are welcome to stop by the bakery barn for delicious sweet treats and hot and cold beverages. There will be a variety of food trucks present as well. Additional picnic tables have been added this year for visitors to relax and enjoy the view of the flowers. Parking is free and located on the field adjacent to the farm. Guests can purchase tickets online at the beginning of September by visiting hollandridgefarms.com.
Ort Farms, 25 Bartley Road, Long Valley, will host a fun-filled fall festival which is set to include pumpkin picking, hayrides, a corn maize, apple picking, an apple cannon launch, cow train rides, farm animals to visit and a variety of kids activities. Festival weekends will include live music, food vendors and beer from Jersey Girl Brewery on Sept. 4/5/6 and Sept. 11/12. There will be a food truck festival the weekend of Sept. 11 with live music and a variety of over 12 food trucks in attendance. “We will also have monster truck rides in October on weekends. Hopefully we will be able to have a good season, and it will be a good turn out,” said Ort Farm manager, Gina Edwards. The farm is open on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the cost is $14.95 for adults and $12.95 for kids. Stop by the farm market which is open daily, offering seasonal decor, homegrown apples, baked pies, apple cider and apple cider donuts. Visit ortfarms.com to purchase tickets.
HAPPY DAY FARM
Happy Day Farm, 106 Iron Ore Road, Manalapan, will present a fall harvest festival on weekends beginning Sept. 11 through Oct. 31 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This family owned, 130-acre farm will provide a variety of activities for guests to enjoy including a farm animal feeding zoo, bee barn, hay maize, fun slide, giant jenga, pedal carts, pumpkinville pumpkin house, pig races, rubber duck racing and more. Guests can enjoy pizza, cheese steaks, fries, hamburgers, hotdogs, chicken tenders, gyros, zeppoles, apple fritters, fresh squeezed lemonade and more. Pumpkin picking will take place from Sept. 11 to Oct. 31. In October the pumpkin patch will be open seven days a week. Fall harvest tickets can be purchased on happydayfarmnj.com, adults and children will be $14 on Fridays and $16 on Saturdays and Sundays. Children one and under are always free.
Each year over 10 acres of the farm is transformed into a corn maize which includes two paths, a 15 – 25 minute one for beginners, and a more challenging 45 – 60 minute one for maize enthusiasts. This popular attraction, voted one of America’s top 10 corn mazes, includes three miles of pathways and a lookout bridge. Tickets for the corn maize will be cash only and sold at the farm upon entry.
Argo’s Farm, 1250 Lacey Rd, Forked River, celebrates their sixteenth year of providing a spectacular fall tradition for visitors. The scenic sunflower farm is currently open from Friday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., offering u-pick sunflowers and zinnias. The entry fee for the sunflower farm is $5. It is $2 for one bloom, $10 for six blooms or $30 for a galvanized bucket of eight blooms. Sunflowers will be available to admire until mid September, weather and crop dependent. Visit argosfarm.com/SummerFun to purchase tickets. This year, a new attraction, the gauntlet, a fun obstacle course for all ages has been added. Fall festival activities will begin Sept. 19 and last until Oct. 31, admission from Monday through Friday is $12 and $15 on weekends and holidays. Tickets can be purchased online by visiting argosfarm.com/FallFun. Guests can be delighted by an array of activities including, visiting farm animals, wagon rides, corn hole, pedal carts, bee zip line, tug of war, hay mountain, cow train rides and more. Guests can also pick their own pumpkins in the pumpkin patch, challenge themselves to the winding two acre corn maize and enjoy delicious festive foods. “We have a farm market that people love, offering locally grown fruits and vegetables, apple cider donuts, farm fresh eggs, pies and fudge,” said owner, Angela Martin. “We host weddings and parties inside our hall, and we requenty hosted outdoor high school proms. We added a lot of landscaping, and the kids really benefited from it.”
Dalton Farms, 660 Oak Grove Rd, Swedesboro, invites guests to tour their millions of sunflowers on their 100 acre family operated farm. The u-pick sunflowers will be in bloom through Sept. 19. The farm will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Guests three and older will require an admission ticket, entry Monday through Friday will be $10 and Saturday and Sunday will be $12. Tickets are valid for two hour time slots with the last entry being 6:20 p.m. Guests may cut their own sunflowers for $2 per stem or ten flowers for $10. During weekdays there is zinnia picking and a u-pick tomato field. There are over 8,000 zinnias planted which can be purchased for $1 a stem. Tickets must be purchased online at daltonfarmsnj.com in order to guarantee admission. Fall weekends will feature food vendors, live music, wine tasting, and peddle and paddle boat rentals. “This is our third annual sunflower festival. We sell many photoshoots to photographers. By purchasing a day pass for $100.00 photographers can bring in as many clients as they please.” said co-owner of the event, Chris Viereck. “There’s also a large six acre lake on the property where we have a company called premiere pedals and paddles, they bring out a bunch of peddle boats and paddle boats which can be rented and taken out onto the lake on weekends.” There are two large swing sets, wagons, and butterfly wings which are perfect for photos.
Alstede Farms, 1 Alstede Farms Ln, Chester, offers scenic tractor drawn wagon rides which transports guests to a magnificent ‘blooming giants’ sunflower trail where they can pick their very own bouquet of sunflowers to take home. There are ten sunflower fields this year which showcase yellow, light yellow, red and burnt orange blooms. “Sunflowers are a very popular time for us. We grow multiple fields of sunflowers, which is the reason why they are in bloom for a good amount of time. As one field is on its way out, another one is coming in, so there are constant fields that are coming in,” said director of marketing, Kyle Holman. Sunflower picking is expected to run until the end of September weather dependent. The ‘blooming giants’ sunflower trail is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the last admission being 5 p.m. Access to the sunflowers and wagon rides is included in the pick your own admission which is $14.99. On Friday nights there is a sunset and sunflowers event from 5 p.m. to dusk, guests can enjoy live music, wine tasting by Tomasello Winery, delicious food from The Hen House and homemade ice cream featuring seasonal flavors such as peach and blueberry. Admission to the sunset with sunflowers event is 12.99, guests can cut their own sunflowers for an additional $2.00 per stem payable upon exit from the pick your own area. Guests may also bring their own cutting shears to cut sunflowers, sheers may also be rented for a $10.00 refundable deposit.
Each season at Alstede brings new family fun, along with fresh flavors of farm produce.
The preferred way to purchase tickets is on the website prior to arrival, visit alstedefarms.com for further information.