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

Corey Lake Orchards

It’s That Time of Year Again

We will open Friday, April 29th. Come by and get some fresh asparagus and rhubarb, or bedding plants to those who just can’t wait any longer to start your gardens. Due to the cold weather and the slow start to the season, we will wait another week (May 6th) to open our bakery and distillery, and to offer other local products. By the way, we’re sponsoring the Rivers of Justice Film Festival which is this weekend! Scroll to the end for more information on that.

Asparagus: The asparagus was just coming out of the ground with that last spell of warm days we had, but the current cool temperatures have slowed it down so we are only able to pick small quantities at a time. It will take some days of nice warm weather before we have any large harvests. Given how fast it will sell out,  it is best to call ahead and  place an order and we’ll call you when we have it. 269-244-5690. Asparagus pricing is the same as last year: $2.25 a pound, 10# or more in bulk, goes to $2.00 a pound.

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Fresh asparagus!

Rhubarb is ready!  Available now for $2.50 a pound.

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, chard, and spinach. Next week we will have herb plants. 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.

Flats of vegetable plants shivering in today's cold.

Flats of vegetable plants shivering in today’s cold.

We were tempted to put some tomato plants out in the field, but tucked them inside instead

We were tempted to put some tomato plants out in the field, but tucked them inside instead

Hanging Baskets:  We will have these available starting next week, but none this weekend.

Becca’s Produce: Lettuce, spinach, kale, and carrots. As always, Becca’s produce is naturally grown without synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or other chemicals.

Bakery Update: Our bakery will open for the season on Friday, May 6th!  By the number of phone calls we have received there seems to be a pent-up demand for our donuts!  Feel free to call and order what you would like for Mother’s Day, 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. We will also have chocolate cream pies available Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for Mother’s Day.
  • Bread: Whole Wheat, Cinnamon, Italian, Multi-Grain, Vegetable and Tuscan, as well as Hamburger Buns and Hot Dog Buns
  • Cinnamon Rolls and Pecan Sticky Buns
  • Assorted Dessert Bars
  • Muffins: Double Dutch Chocolate, Strawberry, Lemon poppy seed, Pistachio, Wild berry and Raisin Bran
  • Donuts: We will have our Blueberry, Buttermilk, and Cherry cake donuts available Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We will also have our chocolate iced yeast donut rings!

Alcohol offerings: We have our usual line of brandies made exclusively from estate-grown produce, including our ever-popular apple brandy. We also have Double cherry wine, as well as our tart cherry hard cider. Starting May 6th, we’ll have a few new hard cider products for the year, so come in for a tasting on May 7th when we open our winery and distillery for regular tours again!

We have a new meat supplier for 2016!  We are excited to be partnering with Mill Lake Farms, a local farm in Cassopolis who will be bringing in a variety of beef and pork cuts–all done naturally. This means hormone and antibiotic free, no use of pesticides or chemicals on their farm, open pastures, grass-fed, non-GMO grains and hay. They believe these practices result in the meat being the very best quality available, without sacrificing flavor or tenderness.  They are looking forward to having you try their meats and welcome your feedback.  Please read more about them here: http://www.coreylakeorchards.com/other-products/mill-lake-farm-meats/.

Mother’s Day Ideas (this year it is May 8th!!):

  •  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 v
  • ariety 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—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.
Lettuce bowls have grown nicely

Lettuce bowls have grown nicely this year!

  • 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.
  • Special display of items from the “Love your Mother” store. Peggy, who works for us and also owned the “Love your Mother” store in Three Rivers, will be setting up a display of favorite items: Mad Mats (one of Beth’s favorites!), Recycled Glassware,  Love Your Mother Stickers and magnets and select cards and journals.

Blossoms: The blossoms came so quickly with the hot weather over this past weekend that many of you will have missed seeing them. So here’s a few pictures we took on a beautiful sunny day.

Sweet cherry blossoms

Sweet cherry blossoms

Peach blossom

Peach blossoms

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

Corey Lake Orchards is sponsoring the Rivers of Justice Film Festival April 30, 2016 in downtown Three Rivers, Michigan.

How can growing food help heal the traumas of poverty, war, and environmental distress? The 2016 Rivers of Justice Film Festival will explore answers to this question from multiple angles with multiple short films and two feature-length films. From veterans finding new mission in addressing food security to activists growing food in forgotten urban spaces to farmers looking for long-term solutions to food issues, this year’s films offer a wide range of fascinating voices to consider. The Festival will take place in historic downtown Three Rivers, beginning at 3:00 p.m. with a free viewing of 10 short food films from around the world at World Fare (37 N. Main St.). Beginning at 6:00 p.m. at the Riviera Theatre (50 N. Main St.), two feature-length films will be followed by discussions and a reception. Tickets, which can be purchased in advance online, are $10 for the whole festival or $6 per feature-length film. For more information and tickets, visit www.riversofjustice.com.

We’ll be donating apple pies, fresh produce, and hard cider for the event, so we really do hope to see you there!

Asparagus Sighting!

Asparagus Update:  With the rain in the last 24 hours, we finally see asparagus spears pushing through the earth. As soon as there is enough for some good pickings, we will open so you can have your first fill of this delightful spring vegetable. Please continue to check our website or call us on 269-244-5690. We anticipate opening late next week–if the weather cooperates. If you want to order some, please call us and give us your name, phone number and how many pounds you are looking for, we will contact you as soon as we can fill your order.

First asparagus we saw!

First asparagus we saw was purple, in the rain. Fitting.

Bedding plants: As soon as we open, we will have col crop bedding plants for your garden (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale) along with seed potatoes, lettuce plants, and onion sets.  Tomatoes, other vegetables, and flowers will be ready in a few more weeks (still too early to put these out).

Nichol unloading the first group of cauliflower.

Nichol unloading the first group of cauliflower.

Straw for sale:  If you need straw for your garden mulching, we have extra available for $6 a bale, or 4 bales for $20.

Happenings on the farm:

We used the wonderful weather of this week to plant, plant, plant. We were able to work the soil, lay the plastic (which we use for weed control and irrigation), and get everything in before today’s rain! All 45,000 onion sets, close to 2000 col crop plants, green beans and 3 sweet corn varieties should really take off after this gentle-soaking rain of today. Big thanks to the farm employees who worked long hours to make this happen.

Plastic layed for all of our vegetable crops to go in.

Plastic layed for all of our vegetable crops to go in.

Onion sets going into the plastic--yes--we plant them one by one!

Onion sets going into the plastic–yes–we plant them one by one!

Make sure if you are in the area to drive by and see the blossoms….the cherries and peaches are blooming–which are some of the prettiest fruit blossoms to me.

Cherry blossoms on the north side of Corey Lake Road

Cherry blossoms on the north side of Corey Lake Road

How are the fruit crops looking: We are really grateful that we are not seeing much winter damage at all to the fruit trees or grapes…so let’s hope the spring frosts and freezes don’t occur this year. Here is a link to an interview that I did for our local paper if you are interested:  http://submitpayment.threeriversnews.com/eedition/page-a/page_3e2dc9bd-5b2c-5964-bb17-30e014701e9e.html

This week, Michaela, Patti and Beth went to a big bakery show in Novi to look at new offerings and pre-order bakery supplies for the year. We got some great ideas and can’t wait to try them out for you.

Emma-Grace tested the granola mixes for us.

Emma-Grace tested the granola mixes for us.

 

We are going to try some new bread rounds for you to stack full of our fresh vegetables.

We are going to try some new bread rounds for you to stack full of our fresh vegetables.

So, it won’t be long until we are officially open and another season begins. We are so looking forward to seeing you.

Beth and everyone at Corey Lake Orchards

 

 

Corey Lake Orchards is sponsoring the Rivers of Justice Film Festival and we’d love to see you there.
April 30, 2016 in downtown Three Rivers, Michigan
How can growing food help heal the traumas of poverty, war, and environmental distress? The 2016 Rivers of Justice Film Festival will explore answers to this question from multiple angles with multiple short films and two feature-length films. From veterans finding new mission in addressing food security to activists growing food in forgotten urban spaces to farmers looking for long-term solutions to food issues, this year’s films offer a wide range of fascinating voices to consider. The Festival will take place in historic downtown Three Rivers, beginning at 3:00 p.m. with a free viewing of 10 short food films from around the world at World Fare (37 N. Main St.). Beginning at 6:00 p.m. at the Riviera Theatre (50 N. Main St.), two feature-length films will be followed by discussions and a reception. Tickets, which can be purchased in advance online, are $10 for the whole festival or $6 per feature-length film. For more information and tickets, visit www.riversofjustice.com.

 

 

April Snow Brings…Lots of Questions!

The April snow just adds to the unpredictability of this year’s weather and we have no choice but to take it! On the plus side, it provides more moisture to our orchards and vineyards. For sure though, the inability to predict the weather leaves us unsure when we might open, so stay tuned.

It’s finally warm enough to start planting green beans, tomatoes, and more in Becca’s unheated hoophouse, which means if you want fresh spinach, lettuce, and kale you should pick some up at World Fare in Downtown Three Rivers before we rip the winter plantings out. Luckily we’ve got spring planting done, but there is nothing like over-wintered spinach and kale. It’s so sweet and tender! We recommend you get some while you can and we’re happy to take orders for you to pick up here at the farm – just give us a call at 269 244 5690.

Terri harvests kale so we can rip it and plant green beans.

Terri harvests kale so we can rip it and plant green beans.

One of the most common questions with the low temperatures is “Has the weather affected the fruit?” It is really hard to tell yet given the variation in when all of our trees start budding out, and even then, the difference in buds on the same tree. Below is a picture of how far along our pear trees are, and so far, looking okay. We will remain optimistic as that’s the best spring posture to take.

The most developed are at risk, but they are many more yet to develop.

The most developed are at risk, but they are many more yet to develop.

Very exciting to see our new apricot trees blooming.

Very exciting to see our new apricot trees budding out.

 

Happenings on the farm:

We’re anxious to get into the fields and get cold-tolerant plantings in….our 45,000 onion sets left Texas today on their way here. As soon as we can lay some plastic, we’ll have those in along with the brassicas (cruciferous) vegetables: cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, spring kale planting, and more. The health benefit of these  vegetables are truly impressive. These super-foods have been shown to exert strong anti-cancer effects, to promote healthy eyes, to maintain healthy bones by supplying highly available calcium and vitamin K, and to provide tons of vitamin C.  So we all want to munch on these often!

We have finished the grape vineyards! They are now pruned and tied….allowing us to move to other spring tasks. Major cleanups are occurring out in the orchards, picking up broken branches and limbs from the spring winds we had. We’re getting the straw moved off of the strawberry plants into the rows.

Apple buds coming out framing the Concord grape vineyard with all of the prunings on the ground

Apple buds coming out framing the Concord grape vineyard with all of the prunings on the ground

 

As we pull the straw off the berry plants, new growth is coming.

As we pull the straw off the berry plants, new growth is coming.

There are so many tasks to complete to get ready for another year—-it is easy to get overwhelmed especially when the weather limits our windows in which to work.  So….already we find ourselves taking a deep breath and accomplishing all we can in a given day, remembering why we do this and grateful that soon we will be seeing the fruits of our labor and able to share them with you.

Looking forward to having all of our great customers back for another year….Beth and everyone at Corey Lake Orchards

 

Happy spring!

The calendar has officially turned to Spring, but our fruit trees budding out and the sap dripping from our grapevines were the real tell-tale signs from the farm….so here’s to continuing good spring weather as there is no turning back now. We are starting to get calls on when we will open, and more specifically: when will asparagus be here, when can I get a Corey Lake Orchard’s pie and do you have plants to sell yet?

Our official opening date is determined by when asparagus is ready, which usually is the latter part of April, depending on the weather of course.  When we open, we will start up the bakery to satisfy your pent-up sweet tooth, along with lettuce, spinach, and kale from the hoophouse and our offerings of brandy, hard cider and wine. Please plan on getting your bedding plants here again this year, the seeds are sown and we will offer our usual array of flowers and vegetables when it is time. Stay tuned for more.

Happenings on the farm:

We got the straw spread on the strawberry fields.  This is a spring chore which helps provide mulch to keep weeds down and also provides a dirt-free surface for the berries to grow over, which makes for better berry picking for sure.

We have leftover straw again this year, so if you need some for your own gardens and mulching, we can help you out. It is the same price as last year, $6 a bale or 4 bales for $20.  If you need it before we open, please call the market and make an appointment to get it. 269-244-5690.

fianlstrawres

The greenhouse tomatoes are blooming and the greenhouse is starting to get crowded with all the flats of plants we are growing, along with lettuce bowls and large basil plants.

Lettuce bowls growing under the tomatoes.

Lettuce bowls growing under the tomatoes.

Who's ready for fresh basil?

Who’s ready for fresh basil?

This week, our friend and co-worker George Shoun passed away unexpectedly. If you have picked grapes, apples, or strawberries here on the farm in the past few years, you have probably come to know George. George became known as the “Grand Poo-bah” of the orchards and vineyards, a title that aptly described the amazing things he did to make everyone’s u-pick experience so special. When he wasn’t out with our customers, he was our “go to” person for pickups, deliveries, and any time we needed an extra set of hands. He opened his big heart to all of us and he will be truly missed. It was through Cathy, who has been a fixture at our market for many years, that we first met George. They have been together for 33 years. We all extend our deepest sympathy to Cathy and the rest of the family. More information and where to send condolences can be found by clicking here.

We will all miss George.

We will all miss George.

We look forward to seeing you soon. -Beth and everyone else at Corey Lake Orchard

March Madness on the Farm!

The early spring weather has the farm waking up and our steps quickening along with it.  Spring comes with a long to-do list of everything that must happen to bring you tender green asparagus, tomatoes that actually taste like a tomato and all your other farm favorites. And so when unexpected and maddening things happen–we tend to get, well, a little mad sometimes.

We have our own march madness going, as a trio of unlucky events culminated yesterday with the gusty wind ripping the plastic off the hoophouse–which is full of vibrant spinach, kale and other plantings. The windstorm from several weeks back took out the power and burned up a motor inside the bakery freezer. Yes, we lost some breads and muffins, but were able to save most of our delicious apple pies. And our third event was a fertilizer application which went way wrong in the greenhouse, killing half of our hundreds of tomato plants.

On a working farm, one can only take a few minutes to be mad, discouraged and ponder the “what if’s” before moving into recovery mode and action. The tomato plants have been restarted and we are babying them along, the freezer has been fixed, and the plastic on the hoophouse should be finished by the end of day tomorrow (if the wind will die down…)  A mindset of determination along with helping hands is a must! So we give a grateful thanks to our employees, family members and contractors who stopped their work and jumped in to help get us going again.

It only took seconds for the strong winds to sheer the plastic off the hoohhouse  as we watched helplessly

It only took seconds for the strong winds to sheer the plastic off the hoophouse as we watched helplessly

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Special thanks to brother-in-law Marshall who worked all day with Becca to help get the hoophouse back together

 

Special thanks to Daisy who helped her Dad transplant tomato plants to replace the ones we lost

Special thanks to Daisy who helped her Dad transplant tomato plants to replace the ones we lost

Many thanks to husband Joe for the hours he spent getting the freezer back to freezing

Many thanks to husband Joe for the hours he spent getting the freezer back to freezing

So, thanks for letting us share the ups and downs of the farm with you–even if this week it was just the “downs.”  Everyone at Corey Lake Orchards wishes you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day and may your favorite basketball teams be successful in the March Madness journey.

Beth and granddaughter Emma Grace wearing their green and white on St. Patrick's Day

Beth and granddaughter Emma Grace wearing their green and white on St. Patrick’s Day–Go Spartans!