Greenhouse Tomatoes and Peppers, Kohlrabi, Farmers Markets, and a Strawberry Update

Available at the market: 

Asparagus: $2.25/lb. for green asparagus ($2/lb. if you buy ten pounds or more). $2.50/lb. for purple asparagus. We think we’ll have asparagus for at least another week or two but if you’re worried about stocking up and freezing it for the winter,now is the time to buy.

Greenhouse Produce: tomatoes are really coming in now. $2/lb. So time for those BLT’s! We bake the bread, grow the lettuce, and sell bacon in the freezer in the bakery! Greenhouse cucumbers, are available for $0.75 (small salad-size cucumbers) or $1.50 (extra-long cucumbers). Greenhouse peppers will be available this weekend as well.

Greenhouse tomatoes looking good.

Greenhouse tomatoes looking good. They are growing extra large this year–perfect size for a sandwich.

Rhubarb: $2.50/lb.

From Becca: Kohlrabi ($2.25/lb.) and kohlrabi greens ($2/large bunch) both from the hoophouse. Lettuce from the schoolhouse and from the hoophouse, $3/half pound bag. Basil from the hoophouse, $1/bag. Limited amounts of kale, $3/half pound. Leeks: $2/lb. As always, my produce is grown without synthetic chemicals. If you want, call ahead and we’ll set some aside for you – 269 244 5690.

Lettuce growing at the schoolhouse, 5/27.

Lettuce growing at the schoolhouse, 5/27.

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Kohlrabi and kohlrabi greens.

Not familiar with kohlrabi? It does look sort of like an alien….In flavor it’s a cross between a turnip and a cabbage…savory and robust. Its texture is more like a beet, I suppose. It’s getting trendy and there’s a lot of great recipes out there, including a few we’ve printed out for you to pick up when you’re at the market. If you’ve never cooked with kohlrabi greens, think of them like collards: heavenly and full of flavor, and requiring a longer cooking time than kale or chard. I posted a recipe on how I cooked them for dinner tonight here.

The u-pick herb garden is looking great right now with parsley, sage, dill, rosemary, lemon balm, thyme, oregano, mint, chives, spring onions, and more. There’s also a little bit of cilantro (more on the way) and the start of some other herbs. As always, u-pick herbs are $1/bag.

Plants: 

  • Lettuce bowls: these are living salad bowls where you can harvest the lettuce yourself and it will grow back, giving you a nice salad every week for a long time. $12/bowl.  Hurry, we only have a few left.
  • Basil pots: Large Genovese basil plants already bearing lots of large leaves for you to set on your porch. $7/pot.
  • We still have a wide variety of bedding plants. Bedding plants do sell out sometimes so if you need us to set something aside for you call ahead and let us know! 269 244 5690. Here’s what’s left:
  • Vegetable Plants: kale, peppers, cucumbers, tomato, squash, melons, eggplant. We also have seed potatoes and onion sets.
  • Perennial Flower Plants: yarrow, sweet William, coneflowers, delphinium, baby’s breath, daisies, statice, bee balm, rudbeckia, black-eyed Susans and salvia. We have them in many color choices!
  • Annual Flowers: asters, cosmos, gomphrena, impatients, lobelia, marigolds, morning glories, nasturtium, ornamental cabbage and kale, pansies, petunias, salvia, snapdragons, verbena, vinca, and zinnias. There are different colors and heights to choose from.

Strawberry Update:

Everyone is anxious for Michigan strawberries and ours will be here within a few weeks depending on the weather. Our best guess is that we will have picked berries available in the market the week of June 8th and hopefully U-Pick will be available the week of June 15th. This year’s strawberry pricing will be:

  • Picked Berries: $3.50 quart, $26 for a flat of 8 quarts. Please call 269-244-5690 to place your order and we will call you when they are ready.
  • U-Pick Berries: $1.75 a quart. Next week we will post the U-Pick hours for the year.

Locally made yogurt: We are carrying thick Greek-style yogurt from Mattawan creamery. All of their yogurt is made from the grass fed/pastured Jersey cows at Moonique dairy in Vandalia. They use this milk plus a 5-strain probiotic culture to make this creamy yogurt, so it is just plain good and simple stuff! Can’t wait for strawberries and blueberries to be ready to add to it. It is available in quarts and pints. Find this in the cooler on the market with the Michigan-made cheese and eggs.

Meat: apple, blueberry, Stromboli, asparagus and original brats; seasoned pork cutlets; smoked pork chops; bacon; seasoned/cheese and regular beef patties; and ground beef all from Drake’s Country Cuts in Cassopolis. 

From the Bakery:  

This weekend we will be bringing back a favorite from last year: Vegetable Bread! A lot of you have been asking about it so we will begin baking it fresh this weekend and will have it daily. Also this weekend we will have a new Honey Oatmeal bread! Come try both of these. Please feel free to call and order in advance at 269-244-5690.

This weekend in the bakery we will also have:

  • Donuts:  (Just Saturday and Sunday this week) cherry, buttermilk and blueberry
  • Beginning on Friday June 5th, we will have donuts on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays
  • Pies: Apple, Blueberry, Blueberry Rhubarb, Cherry, Rhubarb, and Strawberry Rhubarb
  • Cookies: Cut out, Monster, Lemon, Triple Berry, Peanut Butter, Ginger Molasses and Double Chocolate
  • Bread: Cinnamon, Whole Wheat, Vegetable, Honey Oatmeal, Italian, Multi-Grain, Tuscan, and Hamburger Buns/Hot Dog Buns
  • Cinnamon Rolls and Sticky Buns
  • Muffins: Double Dutch Chocolate, Strawberry, Pistachio, Wildberry, Raisin Bran
  • Dessert Bars: Cream Cheese Cookie, Caramel Brownie, Mississippi Mud, Tiramisu, Lemon, Chocolate Truffle, Peanut Butter Mousse Brownie, Chocolate Caramel Mousse Brownie
  • Welch’s juice as well as jelly is now available in the bakery. We are Welch’s Growers and are pleased to offer products made from our grapes!

Happenings on the farm this week:

With the start of summer comes the start of farm market season. Starting this Tuesday, you can find us at the Texas Township Farmers Market from 3pm – 7pm. Becca will be selling produce and baked goods (and hopefully at some point doing wine and cider tastings!). For the second year in a row we’re teaming up with The Huss Project in Three Rivers to sell produce at the Three Rivers Farmers Market. You can find our produce there on Thursdays along with produce from Bair Lane Farm and White Yarrow Farm.

This week we did a lot of “holding on to our hats” as the high winds and rains came. We were delighted in the one inch of rain we got, and a little less delighted with the winds which broke plants and took a layer of plastic off our greenhouse (don’t worry – we got it back in place today!). The rain gave a huge growing boost to our field crops, orchards and vineyards, so we’ll take the good with the bad.

The week we put in about 2000 tomato plants, 600 pepper plants, 150 squash plants, 600 melon plants, 500 cucumber plants and 600 more cauliflower plants. Yes, we were busy!

Many of you have asked what all this plastic is in our fields, it is the mulch system we use for planting vegetables.  We have it every year, but this year it is closer to the road.

Many of you have asked what all this plastic is in our fields, it is the mulch system we use for planting vegetables. We have it every year, but this year it is closer to the road.

Planting cucumbers, both slicers and pickling into the plastic mulch.

Planting cucumbers, both slicers and pickling into the plastic mulch.

Perfect rows of tomato plants going in!

Perfect rows of tomato plants going in!

If you were driving by this week you might have seen around 10 people hovering over a blueberry bush, a strawberry row and in the peach orchard. This week we hosted the USDA’s Farm Service Agency training for their field inspectors. The Farm Service Agency is a critical resource for farms to assist with disaster relief, conservation programs and financial services. The services they provide for farms like ours are growing more important each year due to the weather extremes. We greatly appreciate their efforts and all they do for Michigan farmers.

The FSA trainers preparing before they head out to the fields

The FSA trainers preparing before they head out to the fields

From Becca: One of the joys of the hoophouse is its own little ecosystem. I seem to find something new every day. Yesterday it was a tiny garter snake, relaxing between the kohlrabi heads. Last week, it was the foundress of a yellow jacket hive, tucked under my lettuce (luckily I saw it before I grabbed the leaf it was resting on). At dusk when I go to close it, I try to guide out the moths and butterflies trapped inside. In the morning, I find the absolutely beautiful dragonflies sleeping on the tomato trellises, ready to wake up and eat the aphids and gnats and other bothersome bugs…I’m not sure which of these are “good” species or “bad” species. The snake probably eats toads that are eating bugs that are both pollinating flowers and spreading disease…I’m not a fan of yellow jackets or their stings but they too eat insects that eat my plants.

Quite glad I didn't grab this lettuce leaf without looking first.

Quite glad I didn’t grab this lettuce leaf without first looking at it.

Fresh hoophouse tomatoes are on the horizon.

Fresh hoophouse tomatoes are on the horizon.

Of course, in the midst of this I have tomato plants that are now three feet tall, green beans that are producing mounds of flowers (soon to be produce!), tiny pepper plants, basil, more…it has been very exciting experiencing this first spring in the hoophouse and makes me excited for time to come.

We had a great Memorial day weekend with so many farm visitors. The bakery seemed to be the most popular spot. So we appreciated everyone who came out. Here’s wishing you a good end of the month and we appreciate you buying local. Beth and everyone at Corey Lake Orchards.

A customer from Chicago who ate 4 Pistachio muffins, then bought more to take home!  Thank you for letting us know how much you liked them.

A customer from Chicago who ate 4 Pistachio muffins, then bought more to take home! Thank you for letting us know how much you liked them.

 

 

 

Happy Memorial Day! Purple Asparagus, Fresh Yogurt, the Return of Donuts, and More…

Happy Memorial Day weekend to everyone. Here is what we will have at the market:

Asparagus! Available at $2.25/lb. for up to 10 lb. and $2.00/lb. for orders of 10lb. or more. We think we’ll have a constant supply, but as always you’re welcome to call before you come to have us set some aside for you. (269) 244-5690.

Special pricing on purple asparagus: This weekend (Friday through Monday) while quantities last, we will offer our special “Sweet Purple” asparagus at the same price as the regular green asparagus. We encourage you to try it. The spears are large and very tender. It’s great to eat raw or with a dip. When you cook it, it does turn green. Let us know what you think! (It has become my favorite.)

Rhubarb: $2.50 pound

Greenhouse produce: We are slowing bringing in a few red tomatoes and cucumbers. They sell out quickly but within a few weeks we should have a plentiful supply.

Produce from Becca: romaine lettuce, crispy lettuce (great for topping hamburgers and hot dogs. It also doesn’t wilt as easily as romaine so makes great salad for an outdoor barbecue), and salad mix made with baby kale and baby spinach. As always, lettuce/salad will be $3/half lb. bag. There will also be radish bunches ($2/large bunch) and basil ($1/bag). The basil is a greenhouse-tolerant variety with great flavor though it does have smaller leaves than you might be used to. As always, you’re welcome to call ahead to reserve produce from Becca’s schoolhouse garden or hoophouse, which is raised naturally without synthetic chemicals, pesticides, or fertilizers.

Vegetable Plants: broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, spinach, chard, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, peppers, cucumbers, tomato, squash, melons, eggplant. If you’re planting tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash, or other ‘hot’ crops you might want to wait out this cold spell before putting them in the ground. We also have seed potatoes.

Perennial Flower Plants: yarrow, sweet William, coneflowers, delphinium, baby’s breath, daisies, statice, bee balm, rudbeckia, black-eyed Susans and salvia. We have them in many color choices!

Annual Flowers: asters, cosmos, gomphrena, impatients, lobelia, marigolds, morning glories, nasturtium, ornamental cabbage and kale, pansies, petunias, salvia, snapdragons, verbena, vinca, and zinnias. There are different colors and heights to choose from.

Herbs (sold individually): basil, dill, lemon balm, many mints, oregano, thyme, sweet marjoram, parsley and many more.

And of course, we’ll have lots of potted plants including hanging flowers, lettuce bowls, herb arrangements, and large tomato pots for your patio, both regular and mini tomatoes.

Some of the many perennials we have

Some of the many perennials we have

Locally made yogurt: We are carrying thick Greek-style yogurt from Mattawan creamery. All of their yogurt is made from the grass fed/pastured Jersey cows at Moonique dairy in Vandalia. They use this milk plus a 5-strain probiotic culture to make this creamy yogurt, so it is just plain good and simple stuff! Can’t wait for strawberries and blueberries to be ready to add to it. It is available in quarts and pints. Find this in the cooler on the market with the Michigan-made cheese and eggs. 

From the Bakery:  

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! Donuts will be here this Saturday, Sunday, and Monday! The flavors available this time of year are Buttermilk, Blueberry, and Cherry. When heading out for your BBQ’s don’t forget to pick up buns, brats, potato chips, and of course dessert, all of which are available in the bakery now! We also will be featuring our Blueberry Rhubarb Pie now that we have an abundance of fresh rhubarb! Also new this weekend are double chocolate chip cookies, they are a must try for any chocoholic! Please feel free to call and order in advance at 269-244-5690.

This weekend in the bakery we will also have:

  • Pies: Apple, Blueberry, Blueberry Rhubarb, Cherry, Rhubarb, and Strawberry Rhubarb
  • Cookies: Cut out, Monster, Lemon, Triple Berry, Peanut Butter, Ginger Molasses (and Double Chocolate)
  • Bread: Cinnamon, Whole Wheat, Italian, Multi-Grain, Tuscan, and Hamburger Buns/Hot Dog Buns
  • Cinnamon Rolls and Sticky Buns
  • Muffins: Double Dutch Chocolate, Strawberry, Pistachio, Wildberry, Raisin Bran
  • Dessert Bars: Cream Cheese Cookie, Caramel Brownie, Mississippi Mud, Tiramisu, Lemon, Chocolate Truffle, Peanut Butter Mousse Brownie, Chocolate Caramel Mousse Brownie
  • Welch’s juice as well as jelly is now available in the bakery. We are Welch’s Growers and are pleased to offer products made from our grapes!
Mmmm.  fresh rhubarb pie being assembled

Mmmm. fresh rhubarb pie being assembled

Meat: apple, blueberry, asparagus and original brats; seasoned pork cutlets; smoked pork chops; bacon; seasoned/cheese and regular beef patties; and ground beef. This year we are getting meat from Drake’s Country Cuts in Cassopolis. They are a 3rd generation butcher shop currently owned by Thom and Carrie Colley, who are the hands-on owners. They have created an extensive selection of USDA-certified meat cuts and choices, which are hormone and antibiotic free. During asparagus season, one of their offerings will be asparagus brats made with our asparagus! (Yes I have tried and they were very tasty). If you haven’t checked out the meat selection, please find it in the freezer in the bakery.

Happenings on the Farm:

From Becca: Farming is really a 24/7 job, and despite being surrounded by fresh food it can be hard to find time to make myself good, healthy meals – yes, Beth and I both have this problem! And though I love being in the woods in May hunting morels, I’ve barely found time this year. Luckily, my mom brought me some (thanks Mom!). When you have some of the most delicious mushrooms that Michigan has to offer, it is time to commit to taking some time off and cooking an outstanding meal. Luckily, I live at a grocery store. I put together:

-Caramelized shallots that I saved from autumn (another reason to buy shallots: they don’t sprout by March like the onions do)
-Sliced smoked gouda (we just started carrying this and I hadn’t tried it yet, it’s great!)
-Crispy lettuce from my hoophouse
-Greenhouse tomato
-Morels, sauteed in beer and butter and magic

I put all that on a toasted hamburger bun from the bakery, grabbed a Michigan beer from my fridge, and took a half hour to relax, eat, and watch the lake. It was peaceful and re-energizing and a good reminder to take care of myself. Hope you’re all doing the same.

Morel Burger!

Morel Burger!

Happenings on the farm: This week seemed to be the week to check, worry, cover, move, protect then repeat. We are grateful that the cold weather did not seem to cause any significant damage to our fruit or what has been planted. These swings in the weather are really hard though: bees don’t want to come out and do their required work in the cold, the heat followed by cool moisture makes the fruit susceptible to diseases we have to watch carefully for, and we can’t get stuff in the ground. What we wouldn’t do for a worry-free good night’s rest!

Look at the little strawberries coming on, can't wait!

Look at the little strawberries!

 

These pepper plants have many miles on them already from being moved in and out of the cold weather, can't wait to finally plant!

These pepper plants have many miles on them already from being moved in and out of the cold weather. We can’t wait to finally plant them!

This winter we made a list of play items we are adding to the farm, and we are slowly getting those in place. Keep checking. This week’s addition is a teeter-totter with original tractor seats!

Becca testing out the teeter-totter she made.

Becca testing out the teeter-totter she made.

One last note on produce. Many of you have wondered why on some days you buy asparagus and the stalks are very thin and the next time they are large and thick. We grow three kinds of asparagus. The thin stalk variety is what we have been growing for the past 20 years, but our newer green variety is Jersey Knight–which is traditional green asparagus but the spears are longer and fatter. Do not worry—even with the larger size–it is tender! You may find this size easier to grill.

On behalf of everyone here at Corey Lake Orchards, we thank you for buying local and hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend.

May Showers, Perennial Flowers, Farm Tours and Asparagus

At the end of this long update is a note about some special events we’ll be offering this weekend: farm tours and a gardening workshop. If you’re interested in a behind-the-scenes look at the farm please make sure to scroll down and read that!

Here’s what we have available in the market right now:

Asparagus! Available at $2.25/lb. for up to 10 lb. and $2.00/lb. for orders of 10lb. or more. We think we’ll have a constant supply, but as always you’re welcome to call before you come to have us set some aside for you. (269) 244-5690. The cool weather has slowed its growth a bit but that helps us keep up!

Rhubarb: $2.50 pound

Plants, plants and more plants: We have most of our plants in now. Some of the plants we have seeded and grown in our own greenhouse, but most of them come from a local source that we have gotten them from for over 25 years, Schram’s Greenhouse in Portage. This gives us confidence that you are getting a good plant when you get them here.

  • New starting this weekend: We will have pots of perennial flowers:  Yarrow, Sweet William, Cone Flowers, Delphinium, Baby’s Breath, Daisies, Statice, Bee Balm, Rudbeckia, (Black-eyed Susans) and Salvia. We have them in many color choices! We are also planting our own in the cut flower garden.
  • Flats of Vegetables include: broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, and kohlrabi
  • Flats of Annuals include: asters,  cosmos, gomphrena, impatients, lobelia, marigolds, morning glories, nasturtium, ornamental cabbage and kale, pansies, petunias, salvia, snapdragons, verbena, vinca, and zinnias. There are different colors and heights to choose from.
  • Herbs (sold by the pot) include: basil, dill, lemon balm, many mints, oregano, thyme, sweet marjoram, and parsley
  • Flats of Tomatoes: Many varieties including mini tomatoes and regular tomatoes
  • Large Tomato pots for your patio, both regular and mini tomatoes
  • Seed potatoes:  Norland Red and Yukon Gold
  • Many types of hanging flower baskets
  • Lettuce Bowls
  • Many herb and flower pot arrangements in unique containers
  • Pepper plants:  Will be here this weekend (But still early to plant given the cold)

flowers

Plants which are coming soon:

  • The “vine” crops are yet to come: melons, squash and cucumbers as well as eggplant

We would recommend that you let all plants “harden up” outside for a few days before planting in the ground, as they have just left their warm greenhouse environment, especially tomatoes and flowers. Cold-crop items are fine to plant when you get home.

Greenhouse produce: We still have beautiful, large, but unfortunately still green tomatoes in the greenhouse. Some are beginning to turn red! We picked cucumbers today for the first time so they will be available as we have them. I have to confess, there was a tomato ripe this week and I have now had my first BLT! Yours will be coming soon.

Really, really the tomatoes are ripening!

Really, really the tomatoes are ripening!

Bakery offerings for the weekend will be:

  • Cookies: Flower Cut-Out Sugar Cookies, Monster (chocolate chips, M&M’s peanut butter and oatmeal), Iced Lemon, Triple Berry, Peanut Butter, and Ginger Molasses
  • Pies: Apple, Blueberry, Cherry, Strawberry Rhubarb and Rhubarb
  • Bread: Whole Wheat, Cinnamon, Italian, Multi-Grain, and Tuscan, as well as Hamburger Buns and Hot Dog Buns
  • Cinnamon Rolls and Pecan Sticky Buns
  • Dessert Bars: Cream Cheese Cookie Dough, Caramel Brownie, Mississippi Mud, Tiramisu, Lemon, Chocolate Truffle, Peanut Butter Mousse Brownie, Chocolate Caramel Mousse Brownie
  • Muffins: Double Dutch Chocolate, Strawberry, Pistachio, Wildberry

From Michaela:  It was truly wonderful to see all of you out this past weekend! A lot of you are probably wondering why you don’t see the familiar faces in the bakery from last year. Well, we are all still here! Michaela and Patti have begun baking in the wee hours of the night (like the Keebler elves) to ensure you get the freshest baked goods possible and to ensure the shelves are stocked full each morning. Jan and Lindsay are here, but you may only see them select days until we begin to get busy again. Gene and Mikaela will also be returning this year to make those wonderful donuts you are all asking about, which will make their debut for the year on Memorial Day Weekend. Please feel free to call and order in advance at 269-244-5690.

Meat is now available again in our bakery freezer. This year we are getting meat from Drake’s Country Cuts in Cassopolis. They are a 3rd generation butcher shop currently owned by Thom and Carrie Colley, who are the hands-on owners. They have created an extensive selection of USDA-certified meat cuts and choices, which are hormone and antibiotic free. During asparagus season, one of their offerings will be asparagus brats made with our asparagus! We will continue to add meat products over the season so stay tuned for additions and new items. This weekend we will have: apple, blueberry, asparagus and original brats; seasoned pork cutlets; smoked pork chops; bacon; seasoned/cheese and regular beef patties; and ground beef.

Cheese:  We are stocking Michigan-made cheese from Reny Picot in Benton Harbor. The varieties are:  Smoked Gouda, Gouda, Brie rounds and Wedge Fontina.

Eggs are back! We will be carrying brown eggs from Sunrise Acres in Hudsonville, Michigan, which are hormone and antibiotic free.

Brandy: Brandy is available: apple (oak aged and glass-aged), cherry, pear, Niagara grape, and Concord grape. We expect to open our Saturday tastings and tours a bit later in the season.

From Becca: This year’s kale is coming in but is still limited. I’m harvesting lots of fresh lettuce right now from the hoophouse and schoolhouse. As with the kale, lettuce will be $3/half pound bag. Some radishes and baby spinach as well. The rain is helping everything grow, including the weeds! Oh well. Looking at my first green tomatoes in the hoophouse. Very exciting.

This lettuce is both beautiful and tasty!

This lettuce is both beautiful and tasty!

Happenings on the farm: This was the week to try to get ahead of the weeds, if that is even possible.  Many hands (yes we pull weeds out of the ground the old fashioned way) worked in the blueberries, the strawberries and other plantings. Probably like in your own yard, the grass in the vineyards and orchards grew mighty tall this past week with the rain. We spent many hours mowing and we don’t feel like we made a dent.

The orchards have moved into the “petal fall” phase—on some days with the winds it seemed like it was snowing.  Now we have a chance to evaluate fruit sets and so far we are pleased with what we are seeing. You will notice the vines growing back on the grape vineyards and they will be blooming soon.  The blueberries are in full bloom and they are quite lovely.

Blueberries blooming

Blueberries blooming

The baby robins have left the nest.  For those of you here the past few weeks watching the baby robins by the market area, today they tested their wings and flew away. It was fun to watch this up close!

Baby Robin perching after their first fly around.

Baby Robin perching after their first fly around.

Farm tours: We were hoping to offer a U-Pick asparagus this coming Saturday, but weather is not going to allow for that. I’m very sorry. In its place we will have mini-tours where we’ll give you an inside peek into the hoophouse, the greenhouse, and the vineyard. You will learn how our plants grow, how we care for them and how we harvest them. You may come away surprised at how much is involved, how much work there is, and how much we tend to each and every plant from the seed to harvest.

We’ll be offering tours Saturday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and Sunday: 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. Please gather at the market area at the appointed time. The tours will be about 30 minutes long (depending on any questions you may have) and will involve a small amount of walking.

Garden planning workshop on Saturday, May 16th at 2 p.m. for anyone interested in gardening basics. Becca is going to talk about planting schedules for our area, companion planting, soil management, and local garden resources. Some of you may know she used to work as an Agricultural Extension Agent so hopefully this will be a fun, approachable workshop even for people who have never planted a thing.

So on behalf of everyone here at Corey Lake Orchards, we thank you for buying local and hope to see you out this weekend or soon.

Mother’s Day Update: Fresh Asparagus, Local Meat and Cheese, Bakery Bounty, and More!

We are now open for the 2015 season!  As always, we will be open 8am to 6pm, seven days a week! We had a fantastic opening weekend. Great weather, fresh baked goods, and the first taste of asparagus brought lots of folks out. It was so nice to see everyone again after winter.

Here’s what we have available now:

Asparagus! We are starting to pick every day and have bulk quantities available as well. We are pricing it at $2.25/lb. for under 10 lb. and $2.00/lb. for orders of 10lb. or more. We think we’ll have a constant supply, but as always, you’re welcome to call before you come to have us set some aside for you. (269) 244-5690. This weather is giving us some of the best yields we have ever had—so we really have lots of asparagus right now! (Special note to Bob R., please call us about your order from last week, we are unable to get hold of you!)

Rhubarb: $2.50 pound

Plants, plants and more plants: We have most of our plants in now for you to select from. Some of the plants we have seeded and grown in our own greenhouse, but most of them come from a local source that we have gotten them from for over 25 years, Schram’s Greenhouse in Portage. This gives us confidence that you are getting a good plant when you get them here.

  • Flats of Vegetables include: broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, onion sets
  • Flats of Flowers include: asters,  cosmos, gomphrena, impatients, lobelia, marigolds, morning glories,  nasturtium, ornamental cabbage and ornamental kale, pansies, petunias, salvia, snapdragons, verbena, vinca, and zinnias. There are different colors and heights to choose from.
  • Herbs (sold by the pot) include: basil, dill, lemon balm, many mints, oregano, thyme, sweet marjoram, and parsley
  • Flats of Tomatoes: Many varieties including mini tomatoes and regular tomatoes
  • Seed potatoes:  Norland Red and Yukon Gold
  • Many types of hanging flower baskets
Two of our favorite baskets is the Chenille plant (lipstick plant) and the Strawflowers

Two of our favorite baskets: the chenille plant (lipstick plant) and the strawflowers

Plants which are coming soon:

  • The “vine” crops are yet to come: melons, squash and cucumbers as well as eggplant, many varieties of peppers will be here mid-May

We would recommend that you let all plants “harden up” outside for a few days before planting in the ground, as they have just left their warm greenhouse environment, especially tomatoes and flowers. Cold-crop items are fine to plant when you get home.

Many flats of flowers available

Greenhouse produce: We still have beautiful, large, but unfortunately still green tomatoes in the greenhouse. It looks like it will be at least a few more weeks until that first BLT. Cucumbers and peppers (new this year) are coming along well in the greenhouse–maybe some in about a week!

Plenty of beautiful green tomatoes---just need them to turn red

Plenty of beautiful green tomatoes—just need them to turn red

Growing greenhouse peppers is new for us--so exciting to see the baby peppers coming!

Growing greenhouse peppers is new for us–so exciting to see the baby peppers coming!

From Michaela:  Ah, what a relief to have our first week behind us already! While we enjoy having our wonderful customers back, our first week is always full of surprises that include recalibrating the ovens and getting all the equipment up to par. We are looking forward to seeing you all this Mother’s Day Weekend, and we are going to be baking all kinds of goodies for you! Many new things, so please give us your feedback.  Please feel free to call and order in advance at 269-244-5690.

Bakery offerings for the weekend will be:

  • Cookies: Flower Cut-Out Sugar Cookies, Monster (chocolate chips, M&M’s peanut butter and oatmeal), Iced Lemon, Triple Berry, Peanut Butter, and Ginger Molasses
  • Pies: Apple, Blueberry, Cherry, Strawberry Rhubarb and Rhubarb (fruit pies made from our own produce we preserved last year)
  • Bread: Whole Wheat, Cinnamon, Italian, Multi-Grain, and Tuscan, as well as Hamburger Buns and Hot Dog Buns
  • Cinnamon Rolls and Pecan Sticky Buns
  • Dessert Bars: Cream Cheese Cookie Dough, Caramel Brownie, Mississippi Mud, Tiramisu, Lemon, Chocolate Truffle, Peanut Butter Mousse Brownie, Chocolate Caramel Mousse Brownie
  • Muffins: Double Dutch Chocolate, Strawberry, Pistachio, Wildberry and Raisin Bran

Michaela and Patti making strawberry-rhubarb pies….mmm…

So….where are the donuts? This has been a frequently asked question! We will start making donuts on Memorial Day Weekend. We’ll be making special summery flavors as different fruits come into season, like cherry, blueberry, and other flavors as we did last year.

Meat is now available again in our bakery freezer. This year we are getting meat from Drake’s Country Cuts in Cassopolis. They are a 3rd generation butcher shop currently owned by Thom and Carrie Colley, who are the hands-on owners. They have created an extensive selection of USDA-certified meat cuts and choices, which are hormone and antibiotic free. During asparagus season, one of their offerings will be asparagus brats made with our asparagus! We will continue to add meat products over the season so stay tuned for additions and new items. This weekend we will have: apple, blueberry, asparagus and original brats; seasoned pork cutlets; smoked pork chops; bacon; seasoned/cheese and regular beef patties; and ground beef.

Cheese:  We are stocking Michigan-made cheese from Reny Picot in Benton Harbor. The varieties are:  Smoked Gouda, Gouda, Brie Rounds and Wedge Fontina.

Eggs are back! We will be carrying brown eggs from Sunrise Acres in Hudsonville, Michigan, which are hormone and antibiotic free.

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas:

  • Our local vendors have their items on the market now. These include: local honey, maple syrup, cards, art and Ruth’s famous pecan and cashew brittle. 
  • Why not buy Mom a “living” salad? We will have large tomato plants for the patio or to set outside—they are already blooming, staked and some have little tomatoes on them. Pair these with one of our lettuce bowls. They’re planted with cold-tolerant greens that can be put outside now, and the lettuce can be picked and it grows back! Grab a basil plant in one of our colored pots, then add a bottle of your Mom’s favorite salad dressing and you have a healthy gift she can continue to enjoy.

    Salad bowls and tomato plants.

    Salad bowls and tomato plants.

  • An arranged flower container for the patio or door step for Mom. Once again we have made up special containers with flowers and herbs. Come see the many unique containers available for sale at all price ranges. If you have a container you would like us to plant, bring it over and tell us what you would like in it.

Brandy: Brandy is available: apple (oak aged and glass-aged), cherry, pear, Niagara grape, and Concord grape. We expect to open our Saturday tastings and tours a bit later in the season.

From Becca: I’m harvesting the last of the kale I over-wintered, which is exceptionally sweet and tender. If you want some, call ahead. It looks like it’ll be a couple of weeks before I can harvest new kale, so get on it! I’ll also be harvesting fresh lettuce (both romaine and lettuce mix) from the hoophouse and schoolhouse. As with the kale, lettuce will be $3/half pound bag.

This week I got my first tomatoes and eggplants in the ground in the schoolhouse garden, while my hoophouse tomatoes are currently flowering and the green beans are getting their first true leaves! Yay May. I predict radishes within a week from the schoolhouse, and peas and spinach within a couple of weeks. This rain will really help stuff grow!

I will be doing a garden planning workshop on Saturday, May 16th at 2 p.m. for anyone interested in gardening basics. I’m going to talk about planting schedules for our area, companion planting, soil management, and local garden resources. Some of you may know I used to work as an Agricultural Extension Agent so hopefully this will be a fun, approachable workshop even for people who have never planted a thing. RSVP if you think you’ll be coming (call or just reply to this email).

Happenings on the farm: Peaches are blooming!   Check out the pink peach blooms in the orchard along the road by the market. Seeing these after the last few years of no peaches gives us such joy.

Peach blossoms with cherry blossoms in the background.

Peach blossoms with cherry blossoms in the background.

This week we have spent a lot of time picking asparagus (did you know it grows an inch an hour when it is in the 80’s?). Sometimes the team feels like when they finish, its grown so fast it’s time to start over again!

Speaking of asparagus, we are going to offer a special U-pick asparagus event on Saturday May 16th, weather permitting. This is for those folks who want to see how asparagus grows and have the experience of picking their own few pounds.  This will include a walking educational tour (about 1/4 mile round trip to the field) where we will show you what is growing and how it grows (the real information from the real farmers). Please check next week’s update for more information and the times for these. If folks enjoy this, we’ll try to offer it on more weekends in May.

So on behalf of everyone here at Corey Lake Orchards, we thank you for buying local and really hope to see you out this weekend or soon.  Our very best to all of the mothers, may you have a great day!

 

 

 

 

 

Opening Saturday, May 2nd for the 2015 season!

We will officially open on Saturday, May 2nd, for the 2015 season. As always, we will be open 8am to 6pm, seven days a week! Everyone is looking forward to another season!

Asparagus: The cool nights have really been a problem. We hope to pick Friday afternoon or Saturday morning to have some for the weekend as we know everyone is anxious for their first taste of the year.   However…we won’t know for sure until we actually pick. It will take some days of nice warm weather before we have any large harvests to fill any big orders. So as always at the beginning of the season, it is best to call ahead and make sure we have what you want or to place an order. That way we can call you when your order is in! 269-244-5690.

Bedding plants: We are starting to bring in “cold crop” plants, which you can plant in your garden now. These include: cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, various lettuce varieties, broccoli, swiss chard, herbs and onion sets. We also have some red seed potatoes.  When it gets warmer, we will start bringing in the other vegetables and tomato plants.  It really is too early to put any thing like cucumbers, peppers or tomatoes in yet–they are heat loving and very susceptible to frost.

Hanging Baskets:  We will have some hanging baskets this weekend but will be getting a lot more over the next few weeks as the night time temperatures warm up.

Kale: Becca will have Kale from her yarden, the last of last year’s crop which she overwintered. It is exceptionally sweet and tender.

Bakery Update: Our bakery will open on Saturday as well with a smaller selection of items for the first week. This weekend the pie flavors will be: cherry, blueberry, strawberry rhubarb and apple. Cookies: lemon ice and monster cookies. Also available: cinnamon rolls, pecan sticky buns, cinnamon bread and 12-grain bread. Many of you have been awaiting our donuts, we will not start making donuts until June. (Sorry!)

Beginning Saturday, May 9th, we will expand our bakery item selections to include muffins, brownies, additional cookie varieties and more breads. In addition, our local meat suppliers will be stocking for that weekend, we will have the same pork as last year but are adding beef this year as well.

Brandy: Brandy will be available: apple (oak aged and glass-aged), cherry, pear, Niagara grape, and Concord grape. We expect to open our Saturday tastings and tours a bit later in the season.

Mother’s Day ideas: 

  •  This year, consider some of our special Mother’s Day items we are putting together. Many of our local vendors will have their items on the market on Mother’s Day Weekend, including local honey, cards, art and Ruth’s famous pecan and cashew brittle. We will also have a nice variety of flower pots and hanging baskets.
  • Why not buy Mom a “living” salad?  We will have large tomato plants for the patio or to set outside—they are already blooming, staked and some have little tomatoes on them. Pair these with one of our lettuce bowls. They’re planted with cold-tolerant greens that can be put outside now, and the lettuce can be picked and it grows back! Grab a basil plant in one of our colored pots, then add a bottle of your Mom’s favorite salad dressing and you have a healthy gift she can continue to enjoy.

    Salad bowls and tomato plants.

  • An arranged flower container for the patio or door step for Mom. Once again we will be making up special containers with flowers and herbs. Come see the many unique containers available for sale at all price ranges. If you have a container you would like us to plant, bring it over and tell us what you would like in it.

Happenings on the farm: It’s been another worrisome week with several nights getting at the freezing level. David has pulled the night duty on watching the temperature then irrigating the strawberries to keep them from freezing and we thank him for this! Our orchards are in various stages of buds and bloom, and so far, nothing has been hurt except the peaches–which just couldn’t take some of the extreme winter temperatures we had.

We have gotten a first planting of cold crops in the ground, including planting seven different varieties of cauliflower which will be a first for me. My parents grew it years ago and it was beautiful–I’ll try to remember what I learned from them! Today we replanted the 2nd half of the new U-Pick apple orchard. (We lost all of the new trees we’d planted in the severe 2013/14 winter). This has been my legacy apple orchard project and it was very gratifying to finally see all of the rows with trees–it is planted with a mixture of apple favorites from years gone by plus many new “fun” kinds. Our first planting of sweet corn and green beans is going in tonight. So, things are happening here on the farm!

From Becca: I planted basil and peppers in the hoophouse this week, which means it’s now planted for the season. The tomatoes are getting their first flowers and looking great. We should be ready to harvest kohlrabi and lettuce from the hoophouse very soon, as well as spinach and some other things from the schoolhouse garden.

"Making ice" while protecting the strawberry plants this week

“Making ice” while protecting the strawberry plants this week

 

A truckload of new apple trees to complete the orchard.

A truckload of new apple trees to complete the orchard.

 

One of the happiest sights I have seen this year:  cherry blossoms that survived the frost and being pollinated!

One of the happiest sights I have seen this year: cherry blossoms that survived the frost being pollinated! (this might be the closest I have ever gotten to a bee on purpose!)

If you are by the farm this weekend, stop and look at the cherry orchard across from the market in full bloom. It is simply breathtaking with the lake in the background and perfect for photo opportunities!

Everyone at Corey Lake Orchards is looking forward to seeing all of our customers back for the year! We thank you for buying local!