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

Corey Lake Orchards

We Love You! Thank You for Loving Us!

We were so pleased and grateful to have our customers vote us as “The Best Place to Buy Fruits and Vegetables” in this year’s Reader’s Choice Competition in the Three Rivers Commercial. It is an honor to receive this because it comes from you! Please know we will continue to work hard to keep your trust and loyalty and are looking forward to our 2017 season, our 56th year as a family business.  Thank you! We really do love making you happy with fresh produce.

 

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As a reminder, you can still purchase fresh organic spinach, carrots, kale, lettuce, and arugula at World Fare in downtown Three Rivers. They’re open Tuesday through Saturday, call before you go to make sure we’ve stocked what you want! Their number is (269) 273-1253. You can also call us at (269) 244-5690 and we’ll harvest it for you and set aside your order to pick up at the farm or at World Fare (you may have to leave a message but we check our voicemail).

Robin Sighting! Thursday was one of the coldest days here on the farm, even our winter-hardy grape pruning crew decided it was too bad to be out. So imagine our surprise to find the farm’s yard full of robins. Since robins are a harbinger of spring, my seasonal alarm bell went off. Being the second year to witness this phenomena, a little research was in order and here’s what we found out:

“As with many birds, the wintering range of American Robins is affected by weather and natural food supply, but as long as food is available, these birds are able to do well for themselves by staying up north. One reason why they seem to disappear every winter is that their behavior changes. In winter robins form nomadic flocks, which can consist of hundreds to thousands of birds. Usually these flocks appear where there are plentiful fruits on trees and shrubs, such as crabapples, hawthorns, holly, juniper, and others. When spring rolls around, these flocks split up. Suddenly we start seeing American Robins yanking worms out of our yards again, and it’s easy to assume they’ve “returned” from migration. But what we’re seeing is the switch from being nonterritorial in the winter time to aggressively defending a territory in advance of courting and raising chicks. This behavioral switch is quite common in birds.”    Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Exploring and Conserving Nature

 

So of course it makes perfect sense that they too found our farm to be “the best place to get fruits!”  After enjoying grapes still hanging on the fine, the occasional apple in a tree and the many wild berries growing, they were gone. 

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Other happenings on the farm:  We are on pace with our grape pruning and will actually start tying the vines to the wire trellis earlier than usual, on every day that is above 40 degrees, which seems to be the new normal for February. The greenhouse is ready to go, with all of the supplies coming in next week, including the little tomato plants. We would sure like to see more days with some sun once they arrive as would most of you. We’ve been taking advantage of the winter’s slower pace to get away and update our knowledge.  Beth is back from 3 days of Tree Fruit School, Becca is back from 3 days of hard cider school, and Brenda is attending the update on the new Food Safety laws that come out in 2018. Our brains and notebooks are full!

Tomato plants which are growing nicely in Shram's greenhouse in Portage

Tomato plants which are growing nicely in Shram’s greenhouse in Portage

Happy February and thanks as always for buying local!

 

 

 

Does Agritourism ever sleep?

Many of you know I sometimes take off my Corey Lake Orchard’s hat and put on my Michigan Agritourism hat,  where I serve as President on their Board of Directors.  We have close to 300 members in this great state where agriculture thrives.  This role has allowed me to meet so many of my peers, visit their farms and learn so much from them.  I am amazed at the unique and incredibly fun things these folks do in their agritourism operations.  So I thought I would share something I recently wrote for their website about my winter activities. So click on this link below, and while you are there, check out the Michigan Agritourism website and you may find other places you wish to visit!

http://www.michiganfarmfun.com/article.asp?ait=nv&nid=15

PS, thanks to my sister Charlotte, our farm’s beekeeper,  for helping me to edit this–as many of you know from the books she has at our market, she is a very talented writer!    Happy winter to all, Beth

Another Year, Another BLT Countdown Begins

Well, winter was here, then it went, then it came again, then there was a lightning storm, and as of today it looks like winter will be returning tomorrow! With the rainstorms, the farm is as muddy as it is in March and we’re actually looking forward to the return of snow.

As a reminder, you can still purchase fresh spinach, carrots, lettuce, and arugula at World Fare in downtown Three Rivers. They’re open Tuesday through Saturday, call before you go to make sure we’ve stocked what you want! Their number is (269) 273-1253. You can also call us at (269) 244-5690 and we’ll harvest it for you and set aside your order to pick up at the farm or at World Fare (you may have to leave a message but we check our voicemail).

If you’d like to purchase brandy or hard cider, you can call us to set up an appointment to do that. We also have hard cider on the menu at The Local in Centreville. This is a really great restaurant for those of you in the area who are locally-minded. We’re so impressed with their menu and how nice it is working with them, and we appreciate their commitment to sourcing so much of their food from local farms.

2017 has us all in motion, pruning grapes, finishing getting the pruned branches out of the apple orchard and when the rains kept us in this week, we might have spent more time than normal perusing seed catalogs.  Tomato lovers, rest assured, the greenhouse tomato plants have been started and  we’re about 117 days from the first BLT! So we leave you with that image rather than a picture of the grey day here at the farm!

We hope your new year is off to a great start and we thank you for buying local.

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Some Cheer for You!

We are now closed for the season, however, we still have the following items available and are happy to set up an appointment with you to get.  Just call us at 269-244-5690.

  • Apples:  All bags of apples are Buy Two bags, Get One Free of any size.  We have Cameo and Golden Delicious apples still available.
  • Onions—2 bags for $10 (normally $8 bag)
  • Winter squash, $1 each
  • Becca’s organic produce. Fresh spinach, lettuce, kale, carrots, arugula, and garlic.
  • Brandy, wine and our vast selection of hard ciders.
  • Baked goods: Frozen” take and bake pies” and “take and bake muffins” in the bakery freezer–sorry but we only have apple pies left — but it is our famous Northern Spy pie!
  • Maple Syrup and Honey
  • Meat
No time for us to swing in the snow!

No time for us to swing in the snow!

‘Twas days before Christmas and all thru the farm,
Many creatures were stirring, especially cute deer in the apple orchard ready to do great harm…
The baskets and bushels were put away for the year
And the thought of filling them again fills us with cheer.

Customers which had come, are gone for this season,
After all, why come to the farm in winter they reason?
Aaahhh, if only they knew how much fun (work) there is still,
So much to be done, despite the wind chill.

Pruning grapevines, readying the greenhouse and moving snow,
Tending the hoop house where greens and carrots (and weeds) now grow.
Making batches of hard cider, bottling, labeling and more
And tackling the office work, our least favorite chore.

End of year inventory has to be done,
Counting flour, now sugar, and spices, what fun!
Oh gosh, no apple bags, out of wine bags—all gone from the store,
And looking through seed catalogs makes us want to do more.

But we pause to take a minute to send out our cheer,
To our many cherished customers far and near:
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Good Solstice, hear, hear!
And our very best hope for a wonderful New Year!

 

Everyone at Corey Lake Orchards hopes you have a great season. Thanks as always for buying local.

Open Saturday 11 to 3 (weather permitting) for fresh local produce & more

So this Saturday, December 17th, is our last “official” day we are open for 2016, from 11 to 3.  Please find us in the bakery during these hours where there is heat!  This picture is the current winter-like state of the farm and market area, which means getting in and out could be tricky.  The current forecast for Saturday is calling for freezing rain.  Everyone’s safety is of the utmost concern to us.  If the conditions are too bad to be out, please don’t try.  Call us and we’ll set up a time to meet you on a better day.

If the roads are drivable, please be careful in our driveway.   When you come, if you could pull up to the market and park right in front of it, we will provide curbside service and bring your purchases to your car and keep you off the snow and ice!   Please feel free to call the market on Saturday to see what the real weather conditions are here before you try to come.   269-244-5690.

Please be careful if you are coming out to the market!

Please be careful if you are coming out to the market!

Below is a list of what we still have available, so whether you need to just restock, get some fresh produce, or do some serious holiday shopping, we’re ready to help.  A gift of fresh apples, local honey, just-picked spinach, a frozen pie to bake or our many alcohol choices would be much appreciated gifts for yourself or others!  (and if you can’t decide–happy to do a gift certificate for 2017.)

  • All bags of apples are Buy Two Get One Free, can mix and match all varieties. We have several varieties that keep very well for the winter, ask us about these. In fact, we have packed two of our best keeping apples in a peck bag: Fuji–sweet apple along with Pink Lady–a tart apple. Put a bowl of these out and everyone will be happy! See the list of apples still available below**
  • Onions—2 bags for $10 (normally $8 bag)
  • Winter squash, $1 each
  • Becca’s organic produce. Fresh spinach, lettuce, kale, carrots, arugula, and garlic.
  • Tasting in the market area from 1 – 3 pm on Saturday! You can sample almost every one of our products for free.
  • Brandy, wine and our vast selection of hard ciders.
  • Baked goods: Frozen” take and bake pies” and “take and bake muffins” in the bakery freezer–sorry but we only have apple pies left — but it is our famous Northern Spy pie!
  • Maple Syrup and Honey

**Varieties of apples  still available:

  • Fuji: Our late Fuji are now in! Fantastic sweet and tart flavor, with a low acid content, an incredibly good keeper. Stays for weeks without being refrigerated
  • Cameo: A sweet apple with a bite to it, nice sized and striped color
  • Northern Spy: The professional baker’s dream, cooks up well in applesauce, pie and other dishes. Stores well, easy to remember by saying:  Spy’s for pies. We are currently using it in our pies in the bakery.
  • Golden Delicious:  A gingery-smooth, sweet taste under a thin skin. It’s the most popular yellow apple, good eaten fresh, baked or cut in salads.

Happenings on the farm:

With the frigid temperatures and blowing snow, there is limited activity on the farm this week and it is so quiet!  I have to admit, this peace and quiet is a welcome reprieve after the frenetic pace we kept up this year.    Many of us traveled to the Great Lakes Expo for most of last week in Grand Rapids—which we do each year to take advantage of the huge trade show, the educational sessions, and the chance to network with fellow farmers from all around the world.  We brought back some ideas on things we’d like to try, heard about some of the continued technological advances in the fruit and vegetable industry and were amazed to hear the stories of what others do on their farm!   The timing of this conference in December is always perfect for getting us to think “outside the farm,” especially when these bitterly cold days gives us opportunities to sit in front of the fire and reflect.

Sunrise over the cherry orchard on quiet winter morning

Sunrise over the cherry orchard on a quiet winter morning

Everyone at Corey Lake Orchards hopes you have a great season. Thanks as always for buying local.