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

Monthly Archive: May 2012

Another month gone….Welcome June

How unusual for us to be picking both strawberries and now sweet cherries in May, plus this week we even brought in some broccoli and peas from the field!

Sweet Cherries:  We have started picking sweet cherries and have them for sale already picked.  We will probably open sweet cherries for U-Pick sometime the week of June 4th.    Please check back with us for more info and pricing.

U-Pick Strawberries:  Well, thanks to everyone who did the rain dance for us, it rained today on our opening U-Pick day (which we didn’t expect) and we appreciate the few brave souls who  came out to pick.  The picking was good, even for those who were trying to pick with gloves and mittens on!!  Now that it has gotten so cold, we really need a few days of warmer weather to ripen the berries.  We will be closed for ripening on June 1st and 2nd, We hope to re-open Sunday (June 3rd) for U-Pick at 8:00 am, you might want to call us on Saturday (269-244-5690) or check this website for an update on the picking conditions.  http://www.coreylakeorchards.com/

Picked Strawberries:  We have picked berries available on the market for $3.00 a quart, $22 for an 8-quart flat or $40 for a 16-quart case, when ordered in advance or available.

How long will strawberries last?  We really wish we had a good answer but of course it will depend on the weather.  Remember we do have a smaller crop this year having lost some to the early frost and thru some irrigation issues, but we hope to have them through at least June 10th or so.

 Greenhouse Tomatoes and Cucumbers are still coming on from the greenhouse.   While we have a good supply of tomatoes daily, our cucumbers usually sell out in a couple of hours, so if you really want some, call ahead and we can save them for you.

Since it has been a while since we have shown you what is going on inside the greenhouse, I took a picture of my Dad next to our tomato plants which are now about 7 feet tall.  Also, here’s a picture of how many tomatoes there are on each plant.  We are so thankful that my Dad has the “greenhouse magic touch.”  He is there at at 6:30 am every morning ensuring the plants have the proper nutrients and moisture.  We are all still learning from “the master” when it comes to managing the greenhouse.

Dayton Hubbard in the greenhouse on May 28, 2012

A beautiful fruit set on the tomato plants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Brandy House will be open this weekend, Saturday from 1 – 4.   We really appreciate the many people who came out last weekend.  Sunday evening after our long, busy Memorial Day weekend, Bruce brought my Dad and I a drink he created which hit the spot.  The base was apple brandy, along with some cherry, peach and apricot brandy, maple syrup, grapefruit juice and bitters.  Be sure to ask him for the exact recipe.

Baked  goods will be available all weekend, remember you can buy home-made old fashioned short bread to go with your strawberries.

As always, thanks for buying local.  We hope to see you soon.

Beth and everyone at Corey Lake Orchards

U-Pick Strawberry Update

We will open the U-Pick strawberries on Thursday, May 31st.   However, due to the cool weather and rain expected, we will NOT be open for picking on Friday or Saturday, giving time for the  berries to grow and ripen up again.  We hope to be open for  U-Pick again on Sunday, June 3rd.  Please always call ahead to make sure we are open.

Please be aware that we have fewer strawberries this year due to frost damage.  Essentially we lost the “first picking.”  The picking that remains will still be good, the season will just not be as long.  We have also been hampered this past week with the extreme heat and irrigation issues.

In the past several years, we have had more customers than strawberries, causing us to be picked out some days within 30 minutes and having to turn customers away.  This is frustrating for us and certainly for those of you who took time off work or got the kids up early to pick berries.

In order to accommodate all of our many local, loyal customers who want to pick here each year, we may to have to limit the quantity you can pick on some days to 16 quarts per group in order to allow more customers to have a chance to pick.

We know we have some customers who do a lot of preserving and want to pick 5 – 10 cases, for these customers I would recommend the following.  Call us and tell us how many you want to pick and we will try to accommodate you on a day when we have a lot of berries.

If we don’t have enough berries this year for everyone, there are  several other local farms with U-Pick  which we can give you the information on.

U-Pick Strawberry pricing will be  $1.50 quart.  Please bring quart containers if you have them.

U-Pick times:  We will open the field at 8:00 am  and it will remain open until we are picked out or until noon.  We plan to open  each day weather permitting (closing only for berries to ripen if the weather turns cold. )  If we close the field for ripening, we will make that decision the day before, so please call us the day/night before you plan to come to make sure we are picking that day.   For safety, we will close the field during a lightening and thunder storm.  (Reminder, we will close for ripening on Friday (6-1) and Saturday (6-2).

We are sorry about this abnormal schedule, but it seems like so far this year there has not been much “normal” for us.  We appreciate your understanding, support and for doing a rain dance for us if you can!

Beth and everyone at Corey Lake Orchards

 

 

 

 

Memorial Day Weekend

For those of you who read our earlier emails, you might remember that we planted some sweet corn in March when it was unseasonably warm on the chance that if the weather held, we could have sweet corn on Memorial Day weekend.   Well, while the sweet corn made it through the April frosts, the cool temperatures slowed the growth so there will be no early sweet corn after all.  However…..this is the earliest we have ever had  strawberries ready.  We started picking the early variety this week and hope to have quarts available through the Memorial Day weekend for you to enjoy.

Strawberries ready on May 21st!!

We do not expect to have berries in any quantity (cases or flats) or U-Pick  until the very end of the month (check back around May 30th).  If you want to order picked berries, please call the market at 269-244-5690 and let us know how many you need.  Please check our website fore more information on pricing and how we will be handling U-Pick this year.  http://www.coreylakeorchards.com/2012/05/strawberries-and-other-updates/

Baked Goods: Starting this weekend our bakers will be busy baking strawberry shortcakes to go with your fresh  strawberries!  They will be bringing in fresh shortcake daily now until the end of strawberry season.  This weekend they will have all the normal baked goods (pies, cookies, bread) on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and also Monday for the holiday weekend!  For those of you coming up to the lake for the weekend you can get baked goods to enjoy while you are here and pick up some Monday to take home for the week.

Greenhouse tomatoes and cucumbers:  We have plenty of greenhouse tomatoes ready right now and are beginning to pick a few cucumbers daily.

Rhubarb:  We are temporarily out of rhubarb but hope to have more after it rains.    Please call if you want some and we can call you when we have  it again.  269-244-5690.

Brandy House:  The Brandy House will be open on Saturday from 1-4.  Bruce would love to have you come over for sampling and to show you how we make brandy.

Asparagus:  We have finished picking asparagus for the year.  We have a little left to sell, if you want some call ahead to see if we still have it and have us hold it for you.  (269-244-5690).

 Plants:  We only have a few pepper and some grape tomato plants remaining.    If you are still trying to plant your garden, we recommend trying Schram’s Greenhouse in Portage (7313 S. Westnedge.  269-327-5347.)  This is where we get all of our plants.  They have a wonderful selection of everything……and they are local!

Fruit Outlook:

  • Most of our fruit crop was impacted by frost damage this year.  The summer-like March temperatures caused fruit to blossom early, followed by many days of frost in April.    As you may know, the state of Michigan has been severely impacted and we are luckier than most in what we have left.   All fruit will be early this year—from 2 – 4 weeks.
  • Sweet Cherries:  We lost about 50% of our sweet cherry crop, but we will have enough to have them already picked to sell on the market and some to U-Pick.  They will be early this year, check back with us the first week of June for an update.
  • Sour Cherries:  We lost about 80% of the sour cherry crop.  Until they get closer to ripening, we do not know if we will have them for U-Pick.  Check back around June 8th for an update.
  • Blueberries:  We expect a good crop and they will be ready probably in June this year.
  • Peaches:  We will have some peaches, but no bushels.
  • Plums and Pears:  We lost most of these and will probably not have any bushels.
  • Apples:   We have lost a lot of apples, but we will have some of certain varieties.  We will update you further as they mature.
  • Grapes:  We have a good crop of both Niagara and Concord grapes and feel very fortunate as most of the rest of Michigan does not have any.

In the fifty years of the farm, this is the most frost damage we have ever had to our fruit crops.  It is very heartbreaking to us as we must still maintain the less than fruitful orchards, but we will persevere.  While it certainly will make for a difficult year, we remain steadfast in our desire to bring fresh produce, picked daily to our customers.  This may be the year you have to learn to love your vegetables!

In a year like this, we are even more grateful to our customers for your on-going support and buying local.

Beth and everyone at Corey Lake Orchards

 

 

Strawberries and other updates

Strawberry Update:  With these nice warm days, the early strawberries are beginning to ripen.  We should be able to have some picked quarts available for sale on the market sometime the week of May 21st.    They will be $3.00/quart.  Depending on the weather, we expect most of our strawberries to be ready later in the week of May 28th.  Please continue to check our website www.coreylakeorchards.com or call us at 269-244-5690 for the latest information.

Picked Berries will be $3.00 a quart; a flat of 8 quarts is $22.00 ($2.75 quart) ; a case of 16 quarts is  $40.00 ($2.50 quart) , when available or ordered in advance.  We are now taking orders for flats and cases, and will call you when they are available.  Please call us on 269-244-5690 to order.

U-Pick Strawberries will be  $1.50 quart.  Please bring quart containers if you have them.  If not, you may borrow ours to pick in, but bring containers such as boxes, buckets, tubs, to take your berries home in.

Last year when we had fewer strawberries we tried a scheduling/reservation system.     Feedback from our customers on this was mixed and so after listening to you, we are going back to the previous method of first come–first serve.

Unfortunately this year we again are going to have fewer strawberries due to frost damage.  Essentially we lost the “first picking.”  The picking that remains will still be good, the season will just not be as long.  In the past several years, we have had more customers than strawberries, causing us to be picked out some days within 30 minutes and having to turn customers away.  This is frustrating for us and certainly for those of you who took time off work or got the kids up early to pick berries.

In order to accommodate all of our many local, loyal customers who want to pick here each year, we may to have to limit the quantity you can pick on some days to 16 quarts per group in order to allow more customers to have a chance to pick.

We know we have some customers who do a lot of preserving and want to pick 5 – 10 cases, for these customers I would recommend the following.  Call us and tell us how many you want to pick and we will try to accommodate you on a day when we have a lot of berries.

If we don’t have enough berries this year for everyone, there are  several other local farms with U-Pick  which we can give you the information on.

U-Pick times:  We will open the field each day at 8:00 am  and it will remain open until we are picked out or until noon.  We plan to open  each day weather permitting (closing only for berries to ripen if the weather turns cold. ) If we close the field for ripening, we will make that decision the day before, so please call us the day/night before you plan to come to make sure we are picking that day.   For safety, we will close the field during a lightening and thunder storm.

Asparagus:  We are winding down the asparagus season and will have it for about one more week.    Please call in advance to make sure we have it before you drive out.  269-244-5690.  Thanks for another great asparagus season, we all hate to see it end.

Greenhouse tomatoes:  We have a good supply of greenhouse tomatoes now.

Garden plants:  We have added squash, melons and cucumbers to the plants we carry this week.  We still have a good selection but they are going fast, so please come out soon to get your plants.  Besides, this wonderful weather is the perfect time to be planting.

Thanks as always for buying local.  We hope to see you this weekend.

Beth and everyone at Corey Lake Orchards

Yeah! Our GreenHouse Tomatoes are ready! Don’t Forget Mother’s Day

Greenhouse Tomatoes:  This past week of sunny days has pushed the greenhouse temperature up (some days over 100 degrees!) and finally the tomatoes are ripening.   So the wait for the “first really good BLT for 2012” is over  as they are now for sale  at our market!    Just be aware they do tend to sell out quickly each day as we are not picking at full yield yet.  Call ahead if you want us to save some for you.

Greenhouse Tomatoes Picked on 5-8-12

Mother’s Day Weekend:  Mother’s Day is this Sunday, it is a time for everyone to remember where they came from and to thank their mom for everything she has done for them!  We have a number of items you can choose from to put together a lovely gift for Mom with local products.   Besides our  fresh picked asparagus and rhubarb we have reusable “Corey Lake Orchards” tote bags,  honey, Ruth’s pecan and cashew brittle.  Our bakers are bringing pies, cinnamon rolls, bread,  and cookies.  They will have specially-decorated flower sugar cookies for Mother’s Day.  This weekend I highly recommend the rhubarb or strawberry- rhubarb pie.  Since rhubarb is in season, this is the time to enjoy it.  If one of my son’s was going to get me a Mother’s Day gift, I would want a mini-rhubarb pie that I could eat all by myself (Hint, hint….).    If you have never tried their rhubarb pie, you really should, of all the pies they make it is my favorite.

The Brandy House is open this Saturday from 1 -4.  Bruce will be here at the brandy house for tasting and tours.  Be sure to ask him about some great drink recipes he has perfected using our brandies.  I highly recommend the peach, cherry or pear brandy as a Mother’s Day gift!

Plants and Hanging Flower baskets:  We will have many plants for sale this weekend, including hanging flower baskets.  If your mother is a gardener, consider mixing up a flat of various vegetable and tomato plants and helping her get them planted this weekend.

Plants available this weekend will be:

  • Pepper plants (Sweet bell, Sweet Banana, Hungarian, Jalapano and Cayenne)
  • Herbs:  Thyme, Basil, Oregano, Chives, and Parsley
  • Note:  we are just getting our pepper plants and herbs in for the first time this year and will have them available on Friday afternoon (May 11th)
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Lettuce
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Tomato plants (cherry and grape tomatoes, Biltmore, Mountain Fresh, Mountain Glory, Rocky Top, Red Defender, Primo Red, Scarlett Red)

Plants which are still yet to come will be watermelon,  cantaloupe, eggplant, cucumber, and both summer and winter squash plants.  Check back around May 15th to see if we have a date yet for when they will be ready.

Flower Plants:  We usually don’t sell flower plants but as I did my cutting garden this year, I over estimated how many I needed so we have zinnias, cosmos and snapdragons for sale.  So if you have ever wanted to try a cutting garden, this is a good way to start by using actual plants versus seeds.

Everyone here at Corey Lake Orchards is hoping you have a great weekend and we look forward to seeing you.