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Harvest a Basketful of Benefits Apple and Pumpkin Picking

It is that time of year when Mother Nature is showing off, arraying the trees in their most vibrant costumes of red, orange and gold.

The nights are cool, but the days are still warm making us want to get out and play before it is time to go into hibernation.

A fun way to get the most out of the last of these pleasantly warm days is heading out to a local farm with family and friends for some memory-making apple and pumpkin picking.

The fields and orchards are brimming with ripened fruit, ready to be used in your traditional harvest time cooking and baking. But this family outing also packs some health perks.

When you get out on a sunny day to go apple and pumpkin picking, you will be reaping the benefits of getting your vitamin D through the most available resource, that big, yellow sun.

Sun derived vitamin D is the easiest form for your body to use. It also may circulate for twice as long as that which is gotten through food or supplements.

We’ve all heard that getting in more steps is good for your overall body wellness. Being out walking has been shown to boost heart health as well as strengthening your lungs, bones, and muscles. So, while you’re out at the farm, ditch the hayride and take that stroll around the grounds looking for the best apples and pumpkins to pick.

Sleep seems to be the hardest thing to get in, not only in quantity, but in quality. A great way to improve both is by getting more physical activity, especially with the added bonus of being outdoors.

When your body is in motion, it releases endorphins. Those are some of your “happy hormones” which make your brain and body feel better.

Being outdoors has been shown to improve your circadian rhythm, which regulates your awake and asleep cycles. That is because sunlight is more effective than artificial light at waking the up the brain. It is up to 200 times more intense than artificial sources.

Two-thirds of people can’t be wrong. That is how many people find a natural setting reduces stress.

Something about nature allows your brain to settle down and even begin to focus. It dials down the volume on your racing thoughts and allows you to enjoy the moment you are in.

Going out to a farm and picking your own apples or pumpkins is a great way to appreciate where your food is coming from. If you have kids along, they may be more willing to enjoy the produce that they helped harvest.

When you go out to pick apples and pumpkins, you are supporting a local farm. You are also reducing carbon footprint as that produce doesn’t have to be shipped somewhere else in the United States.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away and so do pumpkins. Both are loaded with nutrients and a great source of fiber.

Both fruits can be used in soups and stews as well as being made into traditional harvest and holiday treats like pies and cookies. For example, I add apple to my curry sauce. (Let me know in the comments if you’re interested. I’ll happily share my recipe.)

Last and probably more important than any other reason, a day of quality time with those you love is pure gold. Take a day to have some laughs and create lasting memories harvesting the best that Autumn has to offer.

There are a couple of farms in Ocean County, New Jersey that you can enjoy. They’re listed below.

Not from the area? No problem. Just look up “Apple and Pumpkin Picking Near Me”. These farms are all over and are looking forward to hosting your family.

1250 Lacey Rd.

Forked River, NJ

1520 Silverton Rd.

Toms River, NJ

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