Apple picking season draws families to Garden State orchards

It’s apple picking time, and the Garden State is no exception to the fun fall activity.

The orchards take advantage of the annual apple boom, and people come from all over New Jersey’s apple orchards.

Sammy Duraku and his mother come every year from Queens, New York to Battleview Orchards in Freehold and leave with enough apples to run their own farm – except they’re all for them.

“They’re fresh, they’re good, tasty, delicious, I don’t know what else to describe it,” Duraku says.

Peak apple picking season is always a big economic driver – just ask the man who has “apple” in his name.

“It’s all leading up to this point,” says Kyle Applegate, director of Battleview Orchards.

Applegate is the fifth generation farmer.

“It’s part of farming. You still want to do what your family did,” he says.

As more and more families are heading out to the orchards for fun and Instagram-friendly fall activities, apple orchards everywhere have kept pace.

“Years ago you were growing apples for the grocery store. Now we’ve moved more into pick-your-own and direct marketing,” Applegate says.

Families have a variety of apples to choose from, such as Macintosh, Courtland, and Red Delicious varieties.

According to the state Department of Agriculture, apples are actually part of the rose family and can grow anywhere in the United States. In the Garden State, more than 30 different varieties can be found.

“There are new varieties that come out every year and then there are still varieties that my grandfather grew and that we still grow,” Applegate explains.

Applegate says apple picking is more than a fun social media post — it gets everyone to where their food comes from.

“It doesn’t always necessarily come from a grocery store. It starts here,” Applegate says.