We will be winding down the asparagus picking on our farm this weekend. The asparagus variety we grow is ending, but local asparagus will still be coming on for about two more weeks and we will be bringing it in to our market for you.
With May behind us, June gets everyone thinking about fresh Michigan strawberries. Our strawberry crop looks good so far this year. The rains are helping to them to be nicely sized and the forecast for the next several weeks is the kind of weather which strawberries like (not too many extremely hot days and some cooler nights coming).
We may have some early strawberries on the market this coming week and we’re projecting U-Pick to be ready around June 8th, depending on the weather. We will announce the opening date as soon as we know it.
We are taking orders now for picked strawberries. Please call (269-244-5690) or email us your order and we will call you when we have them picked. Already picked strawberries will be $3.25 a quart this year. For larger quantities, pricing will be:
- a flat of picked berries (8 quarts) is $24.00 ($3.00 a quart)
- or a case of picked berries (16 quarts) for $44.00 ($2.75 qt)
- U-Pick Strawberry pricing will be $1.50 quart. Please bring quart containers if you have them, if not, you may purchase or borrow ours but bring containers (bowls, tubs, etc.) to put them in to take home.
- We have doubled the size of our U-Pick berry field from previous years in order to have more berries available for those who want to pick their own.
- We are trying something new this year which is dedicating a section of the field for those who want to come out for the farm and U-Pick “experience.” We know there are many families who would like to have their children understand where their food comes from and how it grows. For this group, the “experience” is almost more important than how many berries are picked. If you fall into this category, we will give your family information on how berries grow and show you how to pick them. When picking in this section, each person picking will be allowed to pick up to one quart so we can hopefully accommodate all who come.
- If you are trying to pick larger quantities of berries (over 5 cases or 80 quarts), please call us in advance and we would like to try to work with you to schedule you in on a day when we have lots of berry availability. Ask to be put on our “large quantity list.” 269-244-5690.
U-Pick Strawberry times: We will open the field at 8:00 am and it will remain open until we are picked out or until 11:00 am. 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.
Greenhouse tomatoes: We are getting a good supply of greenhouse tomatoes in now, come on out and get some for a BLT! We still have rhubarb and hope to have it for a few more weeks. There are a few bedding plants and hanging flower baskets left.
The Brandy House will be open on Saturday from 1 – 4. Bruce would love to have you stop in. The baked goods shelf has been stocked with pies, cookies and bread. You really have to try the new cinnamon bread.
Happenings on the farm this week: This week we spent a lot of time dashing out of the latest rain downpours as we tried to work out in the fields, orchards and vineyards. The crew walked through all of our concord grape vineyards doing some touch-up pruning and we are pleasantly surprised at how many concord grapes it appears we are going to have this year. So remember that come fall grape picking time!
Another project this week was removing a section of the grape vineyard adjacent to the market. Those of you who saw all of the bulldozers, bobcats and large trucks here might have wondered what in the world we were building….. all the activity going on is to put in a new septic system to for the upcoming bakery and a long over due parking lot.
Bakery update: Michaela- our baker–will be giving you a weekly update about the upcoming bakery. Many of you know that Michaela and her mother, Patti, have been baking 3 years for the farm market under the guidelines of the Michigan cottage food law. The Michigan cottage food law allows new entrepreneurs to “test the water” by baking non-perishable foods in their homes, which they are able to sell directly to customers. Thanks to all our loyal customers who have come to love the baked goods they make, we now feel we can take the next step and open a commercial, licensed farm-market bakery. With a licensed bakery we will be able to expand our offerings to other products! In the next few weeks, Michaela will be letting you know what other products they will be baking.
Michaela’s bakery update: I wanted to let you know a little bit about how my baking got started. I was fortunate enough to come from a family of bakers! It all started back in the great depression, when my great-grandma Lena would sell chocolate cakes with fudge frosting along with her famous pies to support her large family. Her special fudge frosting recipe is the one that we still use today on our brownies; it remains a “top secret” recipe that only my mom and I know. My other great- grandmother Susie was well known for her homemade bread, which she made every other day to feed her large family and we are still using her recipe for the bread we bake. My mother developed the pie crust recipe that we use now. It took years to perfect it. But we feel it is the flakiest, “melt in your mouth” crust we have ever tried. Between the two of us, we have developed the pie fillings that are made from the fresh fruit grown at the orchard. The key to making a pie people love is the crust, the filling and how it is made. In one of my future updates I will tell you a little bit more about how we make the pies.
We are always thinking of new ideas to try. If you visited the market last weekend, you probably noticed a new item, Cinnamon Bread, which was the latest idea to pop into my head at 1 AM. You must have liked it as we sold out quickly and had to go back and bake more!
As we continue the bakery planning–we would welcome any and all of your ideas on what you would like us to offer. So feel free to email us back or fill out a card with your ideas the next time you are at the market. We’re very excited about the new bakery, Michaela.
So as always, thanks for buying local and we hope to see you soon.
Beth and everyone at Corey Lake Orchards