12147 Corey Lake Road, Three Rivers, Michigan (269) 244-5690

Corey Lake Orchards

Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us here at the farm! 2-14-2020

A very Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you from all of us here at the farm and “winter” greetings as well.  However, for most of the winter it has seemed like Spring or Fall here – like many of you are also experiencing.  It seems like every day requires a decision on what outer gear to wear, from tall boots to mud boots, to sweatshirt layers or a full blown parka!   Maybe this means strawberries will be early this year?!!  Whose ready for a Michigan strawberry?

 

Our orchards and vineyards must surely be confused as some of our “winter” days  have been near 50 degrees!  We’re up to our usual winter activities, mainly pruning.  All of the apple orchards are trimmed and we are two thirds done with our grapevine pruning.  While these perennial crops should be deep into their dormant winter’s sleep, we sense they aren’t sleeping well with the weather changes!  When we are pruning on some of these warmer days I swear I hear the grapevines saying “ouch” as we cut them!

You might have noticed that our greenhouse plastic roof blew off in one of our Fall windstorms.  It was replaced a few weeks ago and many thanks to the crew of 7 who helped get the 100-foot piece of plastic pulled over and secured.  Now the greenhouse would like to have some sun…..no, the black and white filter was not on for these pictures, it has been a grey winter for sure:(

Our greenhouse is up and running, the tomatoes were planted Monday, and so far, so good.   The red strings you see coming off the trellis bars are for training the tomato plants to grow tall for maximum tomato yield.  Next week we will be planting 20,000 onion seeds in our greenhouse, this will be our first time doing it ourselves.  We’ll keep you posted on how it goes (or if we need help!)

One of our annual winter activities is continuing our own education and learning from others.   We take turns going to conventions. With Brenda being a “snowbird” and returning to Florida for winters, she goes to the ones in the south.  Brenda attended the annual NAFDMA (International Agritourism Association} Conference last week in Charleston, SC.  This international conference was attended by over 400 people mainly from the US and Canada who have a farm, farm market, bakery, and/or distillery with an agritourism component to their business.  Even though the conference was held in the South, the weather was nearly identical to that of Michigan!

Day 1 was spent on a 15-hour bus tour seeing the operations of 4 local farms.  The plantations were quite beautiful and delighting with Southern charm.  It was interesting to see how they handle group tours and how they presented antebellum history through education.  Her favorite stop was touring the only commercial tea plantation in the US and learn how tea is harvested, processed, and packaged.  Being a tea lover, she enjoyed the tastings at the hot and cold “tea bars”.  Dinner that evening was aboard the USS Yorktown at Patriot’s Point.

Days 2-4 were spent visiting exhibitors and attending education seminars.  There were over 100 vendors with products to support farm markets such as jams, jellies, playground equipment, donut machines, custom corn mazes, packaging materials, gift products, and more.  She attended sessions on planning and hosting events, photography, graphic design, staff scheduling, retail strategies, food and beverage management, generational differences, and future trends.

One of the best parts of the conference was meeting congenial peers with operations similar to ours.  She left loving her new NAFDMA family and knows just the person to contact when she has a question!  The constant idea exchange between attendees was great and she left with bushels of new insights, projects to consider, and proven ideas!   Stay tuned to see what we will do with all of this for 2020!

We are enjoying the quiet of winter, the chance to sleep in and read books by the fire before going to the farm for the day, catching up with friends and family, playing with Emma-Grace in the snow, when we have some!  But…..we do love and miss our many wonderful customers, so again, Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us here at the farm!

 

‘Twas the night before Christmas….

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the farm, Not a creature was stirring, to do any harm; Bushel baskets were placed by the market with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The orchards were nestled all snug in the ground, While visions of sweet spring time danced all around. And the farmer in her bibs and standard farm cap, had just settled down for a long winter’s nap,

When out on the farm there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below, When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, But so many, many tree eating deer.

And then more motion, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick. More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, And he shouted, “Stop eating those trees, what a shame,”

“And stay out of the grapes and the strawberries too, and tell all your friends they better just shoo, These trees are preparing for the 2020 crop, for eager CLO customers to get when they shop.”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky, So away from the tree-tops the coursers they flew, leaving alone the vineyards and blueberries too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard a new sound. As I drew in my hand, and was turning around, Down through the market St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to farm boots,  And his clothes were all tarnished with dirt and stained fruits,  Something large was flung on his back, And I wondered, what did he  have in that sack?

His eyes — how they twinkled! his dimples how merry! His cheeks were apple red, his nose like a sweet cherry! His droll little mouth was drawn up so sweet, And I saw leftover sugar from a donut treat.

He was eating an apple and then a pear, but I saw him looking at pies, I swear, He had a broad face and a donut shaped belly, That shook, when he laughed like a jar of grape jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, And I wondered if he’d found peach brandy on the shelf; A wink of his eye and a twist of his head, showed empty hard cider bottles he had instead.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, And filled all the bushels; then turned with a jerk, I could see new farm tools; some pruners and hoes, but where was that new tractor I recently chose?

He moved to leave and I heard an engine roar, he was driving my new tractor right out the door, But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight, HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD-NIGHT!

Wishing you the peace of winter…..

While the market is closed as we take our winter breather, we also know that some of you would like to pick up items we might still have for yourself or others. We know a lot of customers like giving hard ciders and brandies as gifts, or picking up some of our frozen “take and bake” pies.  (Still available in apple, strawberry-rhubarb, blueberry, cherry, and cherry-berry.) Just give us a call on 269-244-5690, and we’re happy to make an appointment to meet up with you.

From the Farmer’s Almanac:

In 2019, the winter solstice arrives on Saturday, December 21, at 11:19 p.m. EST, marking the first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Northern Hemisphere, the winter solstice always occurs around December 21 or 22. (In the Southern Hemisphere, the winter solstice occurs around June 20 or 21.) It is the day with the fewest hours of sunlight in the whole year. 

At the winter solstice, the Sun appears at its most southerly point. The Sun is directly overhead at “high-noon” on the solstice at the latitude called the Tropic of Capricorn. The next day, the path will begin to advance northward.

The word solstice comes from Latin sol “sun” and sistere “to stand still.” So, loosely translated, it means “sun stand still.” For a few days before and after the solstice, the Sun appears to stand still in the sky. The change in its noontime elevation is so slight that the Sun’s path seems to stay the same, or stand still.  Think of it this way. The solstice brings the return of more sunlight. It only gets brighter from here!  (I think all of us are ready for that!)

As winter officially begins everyone here at the farm wishes you a most peaceful winter. For we farmers who spend so much time outdoors, thinking about growing hours and daylight, winter on the farm is an important time. It is when our orchards, vineyards and fields go into their deep sleep to prepare for another growing season. It is the time when all of us get to catch up with family and friends, linger over a cup of coffee, delight in eating our frozen/canned fruits and vegetables, and not set alarms. The moments of quiet and solitude are perhaps the best gifts we receive as we find time to relax and rejuvenate. All the best to all of you!

Happy Thanksgiving!

As farmers working the land every day, we are truly grateful for this year’s harvest that we could share with so many. A day for giving thanks allows all of us to reflect on the people around us for whom we are grateful: our families, our co-workers, our customers, friends and fellow community members.

Our simple message from everyone here at the farm to all of you:  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Open Saturday, November 23rd, from 9 until 3! and Visit the Norton Craft Show too!

Our market and bakery will be open this Saturday from 9 until 3.  Here’s what’s going on:

Happenings in the bakery (where it is warm!)

  • If you have a “take and bake” holiday pie order already in, please stop by and pick it up, or make  arrangements with us to pick it up by appointment another time.
  • if you didn’t have your “take and bake” pie order in, call us immediately at 269-244-5690 and tells us what you’d like!
  • There will be limited supplies of extra pies the bakers have made for walk-in purchases on Saturday.
  • If you can’t wait any longer to have a Corey Lake Orchards donut, we will be making them fresh that day! YES, we said we are MAKING DONUTS!
  • Hot mulled cider or coffee available
  • Hard cider tasting available from 9 until 3

Piles of apple pies:  just made and frozen for you to bake

In the Market:  

  • Apples: We have bags of the following apples left:  Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Rome and Jonathan.  A bag of fresh, healthy apples is a great hostess gift to take during the holiday gatherings!
  • Fresh Sweet Cider:  This is a Maybe.….we are going to try to make some on Thursday for hard cider, and if all goes well, we will jug a few gallons to sell.  If you want to give us a call on Friday, we’ll let you know if we will have it or not.
  • Squash:  Butter Cup, Autumn Harvest and Baked Potato Squash
  • Fresh picked sage will be available from our Herb garden for your holiday cooking needs.

Fresh harvested sage makes  the whole market smell like Thanksgiving dinner being cooked!

Brandy tasting and tours:  Available with Bruce from 1 until 3, in the Brandy distillery.

Stock up on Hard ciders or brandy:  These will be on display and for sale in the bakery on Saturday.  These also make great gifts for the holidays.

And while you are in the area, make sure to visit the Norton Elementary School for their annual Craft and Vendor Show, one of the best in the area!

Hoping to see you this weekend!  All of us at Corey Lake Orchards!

 

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