New Jersey is a lot of different things to different people. My father’s job brought him to New Jersey after growing up in a very small town in Minnesota. His first impression when he got off the plane in Newark back in the 80’s was something we probably all have experienced: This stinks. (Literally.)
But as we venture out towards the suburbs, North, South, East and West, we find different lifestyles and landscapes throughout this tiny state. Some of us are drawn towards the coast; others enjoy the mountain ranges of the North.
The smooth farmland of central New Jersey is where this story comes into play.
I had the privilege of speaking with New Jersey Bike Tours founder Jake Herway, whose job took him from Europe and placed him in Central New Jersey. He grew up cycling in the diverse city of Brussels, where farm stands are commonplace.
At first, it was a bit of a culture shock and he admits he undervalued what he had. But after some exploring, he found that New Jersey was about as European a lifestyle that he had ever lived, and really had everything he had what he wanted all along.
Jake’s New Jersey Bike Tours’ philosophy, specifically his popular Farm-to-Table tour, aligns with everything I preach here on The Grazette. We are here to celebrate how great a state New Jersey really is.
On the Farm-to-Table bike tour, all tours begin at either Blue Moon Acres in Pennington, NJ, or the Princeton Train Station. There are three levels to accommodate all cyclists (from beginner to advanced), with intermediate being the most popular. On these tours you really get a first-hand look at how the farms operate and an opportunity to learn from the farmers about organic produce and grass-fed animals. Depending on the tour you choose, you may even get to try your hand at milking a cow! Every tour includes a farm-to-table meal or treat, and a ride along some of the most beautiful roads in the state.
The best part is that the tours stops at all of my favorites, including:
- Blue Moon Acres
- Fulper Farms
- Honeybrook Organic Farm
- Beechtree Farm
- Terhune Orchards
- BrickFarm Market
- Z Food Farm
If you’re coming from far away and don’t have a bike, rental options are available with local partners. But if you do live close by, bringing your own bike is ideal. And if you do live close by and can schedule a tour on a weekday, you can save $20 per person!
In addition to the Farm-to-Table New Jersey bike tours, cyclists can choose from the Magical History tours, Scenic Spins and Vineyards & Views tours.
I would also recommend marking off September 23rd on your calendar for the 2017 Farm Roll! This special event celebrates the biodiversity and agriculture near Blue Moon Acres’ Pennington farm with a beautiful charity bike tour. Hosted along with NJ Bike Tours, the event benefits the Garden State Community Kitchen. GSCK teaches farm-to-table living to children and families. The event finishes off with a campfire meal during the post-ride party! You can choose from a 15 or 25 mile bike ride.
So there you have it: a wonderful opportunity to explore right in your own backyard. Or perhaps you’re coming from afar, looking for fun ways to spend the day in New Jersey! Either way… it’s time to discover what the Garden State is all about.