Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fall Festivities, Jersey Style

While we had a lovely time in Vermont two weeks ago, there was one important step that we missed: the buying of a pumpkin. Since this is one of Carrie's favorite fall activities, pumpkin purchases must occur in some sort of autumn-ish environment; a grocery store pumpkin is unacceptable.

Therefore, we went on a trek to less-urban New Jersey today in search of a pumpkin patch and other fall goodness. Sadly, I have still not come across anything outside the FDL area that remotely mirrors the awesomeness of The Little Farmer (if anyone from FDL is reading this, please send me a pumpkin cream cheese muffin!), but that has not stopped my quest for the closest imitation I can find. We set out today for two places (DePiero's Country Farm and Demarest Farms) that promised pumpkins, apples, hayrides, and a bakery.

Here are the things I would expect/hope for in such an establishment:
  • Pumpkin patch (check)
  • Apple orchard (check)
  • Hayride (check)
  • Fall baked goods (check)
  • Caramel apples (sort of...see below)
  • Corn maze (sort of)
Things that I am indifferent toward but was not surprised by:
  • Refreshment stand/brat fry
  • Petting zoo
  • Face painting
Things that I would NOT expect to see but encountered today:
  • European import grocery store
  • Salad bar
  • Butcher shop
  • Seafood counter
  • Potato pancakes (right next to the cider donuts!)
  • Children's amusement park (including a dragon roller coaster)
I also was wholly unprepared for the crowds we encountered. New Jersey is just waaay too densely populated for its own good. The bakery at DePiero's had a "take-a-number" system in order to buy cider donuts; the trickiest part was getting through the crowd of people to get to the number dispenser on the counter. And an interesting observation: DePiero's had probably the whitest crowd of people I have ever seen anywhere in New Jersey, both customers and employees. While the area immediately around there is quite affluent and predominantly white, it's still only about a half-hour drive from the city, so the lack of racial/ethnic diversity surprised me a bit.

Back to food...I have discovered by observation here and in Vermont that caramel apples are not nearly so popular here as in Wisconsin, which I think is very, very sad. One of the places we went today had them, but they were A. in a cooler and B. wrapped in cellophane. Hell no. Caramel apples need to be stabbed in front of you and dipped in a vat of creamy, warm caramel, then rolled in delicious toppings and eaten as soon as possible. At worst they should be eaten when after the caramel reaches room temperature. But definitely not cold, and there definitely should be no cellophane wrapper involved. The northeast seems to be much more interested in candy apples, but I can't for the life of me figure out why someone would prefer a hard sugar coating over creamy caramel.

Sadly, there are no pictures from today's outing because I realized after we were already out and about that the camera was out of batteries. And that's really a shame because I would have liked a picture of us walking over the Garden State Parkway to get to a farmstand to contrast with the pictures of walking over Quechee Gorge in Vermont. Oh well.

Man, I want a caramel apple...


  1. You can make a vat of carmel and dip them yourselves ...


  2. I debated that, but it seems like a lot of mess and leftover caramel for two only apples. Now on the other hand, YOU could make a vat of caramel this weekend... ;)

  3. Hey now... I'm not sure my house can with stand a vat of carmel at this time....

  4. I am waiting anxiously for a blog update! Might I suggest a lengthy post on the recent proposal...? :)