Ever since I was in high school, one of my favorite places has been Alstede Farms, located in Chester, NJ. My friends and I would go to Alstede for the vast and expansive apple orchards and pumpkin patches — not to mention their INCREDIBLE apple cider doughnuts.

Around this time last year, I started getting that familiar annual urge to head out to the farm — nothing says “fall” like a good pumpkin patch Instagram. I asked Matt if he would go with me and, being the trooper he always is, he agreed.

But of course, the one weekend we chose to make the trip had awful weather. It was cold and rainy, which does not make for an ideal pumpkin/apple picking environment. So we bought a 6-pack of apple cider doughnuts, ate two each in the car, and headed home.

So this year, I was determined to have the full farm experience. Matt and I picked a weekend to go and all I week I anxiously checked the weather, praying for sun. I may have prayed a little too hard, though, because it ended up being an unseasonably warm 83 degrees.

Although I personally hate the heat (especially on a weekend where I was itching to wear a very “fall” outfit, i.e. sweaters and vests and booties and all of the items of clothing I’ve been neglecting throughout the summer months), we decided since the rest of October was pretty booked up we should take advantage of the plans we had made and see them through.

First stop off the hayride: sunflower field!

Matt, my mom and my dad (who I somehow convinced to come along with us despite the heat), and I made the drive to Chester and arrived at the farm.

Compared to the last time we had been there (remember, a freezing day / pouring rain combo) it was PACKED. Now none of us love crowded places or lines (who does), but again, plans had been made and I intended to stick to them. I convinced everyone to wait on the very long and very winding “Pick Your Own” ticket line, which gave you access to all of the fields and hay rides. It would have been a little less painful if it hadn’t been 80+ degrees, but we made it through and got our wristbands.

Onto the next line!

We then waited in another ridiculously long line to get on the hayride, which brings you around the many hundreds of acres of farmland. Another less-than-enjoyable experience, but again we made it out unscathed and found ourselves seated on literal bales of hay as the tractor bumped and bounced its way around the farm.

From there, it was smooth sailing. Our first stop was the sunflower field – as soon as I saw it, I knew it would make for a great photo opp. Even though the sunflowers were absolutely crawling with bees (Matt’s favorite!), we ended up getting some great shots.

I had brought along my Canon SLR, which I hadn’t used in probably years. It felt awesome to be photographing again — on something other than an iPhone. Matt even gave it a go himself, insisting on taking some solo shots of me. I even convinced my parents to pose together for a few photos, which came out really nicely.

Matt decided to do an impromptu photoshoot of me…
Clearly not comfortable with being alone in front of the camera!

Livin’ life among the SUNFLOWERS. And bees!

My cutie parents.

Next stop, pumpkin patch!

Foregoing the hayride this time, we made our way on foot to the pumpkins. Though it wasn’t a particularly short walk (up a sizable hill, in 83 degree weather, and me in heeled booties), we managed to keep our complaints to ourselves and finally made it to the patch. While my dad busied himself in a field of curious purple peppers, Matt, my mom, and I checked out the pumpkin situation.

My handsome farm boy.

Of course the trip would not be complete without a photo at the YumYum tree – which is pretty much just a tree, as far as I know, but the large rocks at the base of the tree make for a great spot to sit for photos.

Matt and I posed with our new pumpkin friends and my dad snapped a few quick pics before we headed to the checkout.

Found some pumpkin friends!
This is definitely Christmas (er, Halloween? Thanksgiving?) card material.

The heat couldn’t stop us from pretending it feels like fall!

The last and final stop was to get my all time favorite snack of all time — my apple cider doughnuts!!!! I bought a container of 6 as per usual, but instantly regretted my decision and wished I had bought about 3 more packs.

Needless to say, the container was completely empty less than 24 hours later. Thanks, Alstede!

The real reason I wanted to go to the farm… apple cider DOUGHNUTS!

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