Saturday, Oct. 15, Drew University Hillel took students, both Jewish and non-Jewish, to the nearby Alstede Farms for a day of apple picking and hayrides. They joined a large crowd of hundreds of families also eager to enjoy a perfect fall day.
The entrance to the farm is marked with friendly, guiding signs and countless pumpkins up for grabs. As the students arrived, several musicians were setting up for a day-long set. The wooden stage, completely covered in this year’s harvest of wheat and speckled corn, stood beside a small ice cream stand advertising multiple pumpkin-inspired flavors: pumpkin chip and pumpkin and apple cider, a delicious-sounding combination. The weather was also wonderful—a crisp day in the high sixties—which helped students in their trampling through both the orchards and the various mazes offered by the farm.
Students arriving in desperate need of apple cider donuts could barely take one step onto the premises without finding stacks ready for the taking. They were a perfect treat after surviving the long corn maze.
The corn maze, designed to celebrate Alstede’s 40th year in business, sent Drew students bumping into each other and running through long stalks of beautifully grown corn. Outside the maze awaited a hayride stop that brought students back to the front of the farm, where an array of animals were available to pet and feed, including the black cow pictured [above/left/right], who stole the show, mooing gracefully and stomping its little feet. The farm also offered mazes other than corn. There was also a sunflower maze and a tree maze. The sunflower maze spread out towards the back of the farm, passed by the hayride as the flower faces turned to accept the warm October sun.
Of course, the main attraction was the apples. Out on the rest of the farm, there laid a large apple orchard. All trees were marked with various signs. While the lower branches had been decimated by previous weekend visitors, there were still plenty of apples to go around. With the tickets provided by the university, students were able to pick up a quarter bushel full, a sizable amount. And if a few students snuck bites of apples while wandering around the gorgeous, colorful orchards, who was to know?