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

Monthly Archive: July 2013

End of July Update

Where has another month almost gone?  I know for us this one has flown by with all of the activity we have had going on here lately with all of our projects.

But…good news on the bakery front.     We passed all of our inspections this week and as I write this, the bakers are trying out and testing the equipment.  So a hearty thank you to everyone who has helped us to get to this first stage: our contractors, suppliers, employees and our loyal customers.

However, we are still not ready to officially open the bakery as we have some finishing touches, equipment still to arrive and equipment testing.    For this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the baked goods are being made in the new bakery and will be available for sale as usual on the market.

We will open the bakery as soon as we can and ask for your patience a little while longer.  Next week we will be in a better position to announce the opening date and hours the bakery will be open each day.  From the smell coming out of the bakery today–it will be worth the wait.

Michaela and Patti in the new bakery trying out all the equipment

Baked goods available this weekend will include the normal varieties of cookies, pies and breads.    This weekend we will have white bread in addition to wheat and cinnamon.  And…since blueberries are in season we will have two kinds of fresh blueberry pie….a traditional baked two-crust blueberry pie and a cold blueberry glaze pie.

Vegetables:  Yes, we have sweet corn!   We are picking a variety called “Sweet Ice” right now.   It is a very sweet, bi-color corn and available by the bushel or dozen.

Gathering our corn–the first thing we do each morning

Other vegetables we have are:  green beans, swiss chard, onions, cucumbers, zucchini, yellow summer squash, cabbage, peppers, peas, broccoli, brussel sprouts,  new potatoes, eggplant and radishes.   These are picked daily, for best selection and availability–shop early.  We have fresh herbs available to pick, just bring your recipe and snip what you need from the U-Pick herb garden located by the pine tree.

New this year, baby eggplant to throw in a stir-fry or grill

Tomatoes:  This week we picked all of our greenhouse tomatoes and pulled the plants out for the year.    Our field tomatoes are starting to come in and we have several varieties of small tomatoes coming in:  cherry, grape, yellow pear, tomatoberry and lady fingers.  These are great for salads or just to snack on.  So far the field tomatoes are looking good, but it will be a few more weeks until we have larger quantities or U-Pick field tomatoes.

Cut flowers, sunflowers and gladiolus are ready now,  we cut them for sale on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Bring your vase or arrange a bouquet and take home in a plastic bag or cup.

Picked Blueberries:  Still available in the market for $3.00 pint and $5.00 quart.  Larger quantities (5 and 10 pound boxes) are available most of the time.  But, call ahead to make sure we have them or call and order them in advance just to be sure.  (269-244-5690).    Blueberries area really easy to freeze:  Just throw them in a freezer bag unwashed and wash them when you take them out of the freezer to use!

U-Pick Blueberries:   Both varieties of our blueberries are ready now so we have extended the picking hours from 8 until 6 each day while there is picking available.   Pricing is $2.00 a pound to pick, if you pick over 10 pounds it is $1.50 a pound.   We expect them to last about ten more days.   Given the cool nights we have been having, the blueberries are not ripening very well, so picking will not be good until we get some hotter weather.  Feel free to call before you come out to see what the picking conditions are or check our website for the latest picking information.  269-244-5690.

Everyone is anxious for peaches, melons and our August fruit crops like pears and early apples.  While the peaches are turning color on the trees, they are still about another week away.  Melons are maybe a week to 10 days.  We have a good pear crop, which should be ready toward the end of August.  So far our grapes and fall apple crop looks good.   But everything is running about 3 weeks later than last year.

Peaches are turning color but still need to grow in size

The brandy house will be open on Saturday from 1 – 4, you must try our new strawberry brandy and talk with Bruce on some good drink ideas he has.

So you may be wondering about the next project we have started right behind the market area.  We just finished demolishing an older building so we can use that space to build another cold storage.  We gave up the cold storage for the bakery—the pressure is on as it must be complete before we start our apple harvest!  So expect another flurry of activity as we complete our last project for this year (thankfully!)

Construction going on directly behind the market for a new apple cold storage

So from everyone at Corey Lake Orchards, we thank you for buying local and hope to see you soon.   Beth

 

 

A Hot Mid July Update….

The Heat and a thank you.  Here’s hoping that by the time many of you are reading this the hot weather spell has broken.   Needless to say, weeks like this cause all kinds of havoc with our crops….accelerating growth and ripening and a whole list of other issues.  A big thank you goes to all of our employees; those who have continued their work in the fields and orchards to pick produce and those who have worked on the market during these hot days.   And thanks to the customers who endured the heat to come out and get fresh produce this week.

So….because of the heat, we need your help with green beans.  All of our plantings (spaced over a week apart) have come on at the same time.    The green beans are beautiful–please come buy some.  If you are planning to can or freeze beans this year, this is the time as we have them available by the half bushel or bushel–which is the most economical way to buy them.    Please call us at 269-244-5690 and let us know how many you would like us to reserve for you.

Today’s green bean picking!

The heat wave has helped more vegetables to come on so we currently have:  green beans, kale, swiss chard, onions, cucumbers, zucchini, yellow summer squash, cabbage, peppers, peas, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and radishes.   These are picked daily, for best selection and availability–shop early.  We have fresh herbs available to pick, just bring your recipe and snip what you need.

A note to bring closure to last week’s plea to buy swiss chard–thank you–we sold out each day last weekend and had to pick more!  For those who tried it  for the first time, let us know how you liked it.

Yellow summer squash blooming and forming squash

Cut Flowers are in full bloom, we cut them for sale on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Bring your vase or arrange a bouquet and take home in a plastic bag or cup.  The heat has the sunflowers popping open and today I saw some gladiolus ready in the field.  Also, our flower beds and potted arrangements by the market are in peak bloom–a huge thanks to Cathy who designs and maintains these lovely beds and planters every year.

We are digging our tasty red potatoes now.  This year we also have white potatoes and Yukon gold.

Picked Blueberries:  Available now in the market for $3.00 pint and $5.00 quart.  Larger quantities (5 and 10 pound boxes) are available most of the time.  But, call ahead to make sure we have them or call and order them in advance just to be sure.  (269-244-5690).

U-Pick Blueberries:  The hours for U-Pick will be 8 am until 11 am on weekdays and 8 until noon on weekends. Pricing will be $2.00 a pound to pick.  We expect them to last through most of the month of July.  We hope to be open daily, but if the field gets picked out, we may have to close for ripening, so please call ahead to make sure we are open for picking before you come or check our website for the latest updated information.  269-244-5690.

What’s coming?  We hope to have sweet corn, possibly some on Saturday.  If not then, it will only be a few more days.   Everyone is ready for peaches….but they need several more weeks.  Field tomatoes:  we are picking some cherry and grape tomatoes, but field tomatoes are still several weeks away.

The brandy house will be open on Saturday from 1 – 4, you must try our new strawberry brandy.

Baked Goods will be available on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.    In addition to the normal pies, breads, cookies and cinnamon rolls, the bakers are making the most of fresh blueberries and will have blueberry muffins and of course–fresh blueberry pie.   Also, my favorite will start this weekend:  zucchini-chocolate chip cookies.

Bakery Update:  Lots of progress was made in the bakery this week, we are in the final stages of completion now.  We are anxious to be done and getting excited about opening.  While we wish we could give you an opening date, we still can’t.  We have 6 inspections at township, county and state levels to pass in order to receive our licensing required to open.    We will begin the inspections next week and will keep you updated on our progress.

Happenings on the farm this week.  This week was one of picking, weeding and watering, and due to the heat–not much else unless it was essential.   There was a lot of triage work going on to prioritize work that helped get water and air flow to vegetation to minimize mold, rot and plant diseases which come easily with this high humidity.

A small event happened on the farm on Tuesday,  it was my birthday and I had asked my family, friends and employees to keep it very low key as who celebrates these any more at my age.  Much to my surprise, I saw a truck parked in the market from the Flame Tamer Fire Protection Company out of Paw Paw.  So while some thought they were here to help put out the candles on my cake, they were really here to install the fire suppression system which is required in our bakery.  It did make for a good laugh and a great picture of me posing with the lovely cupcakes that Michaela baked for me (and Jay helped her decorate).   Thank you to my employees, friends and family for your wishes, hugs, great gifts and food.   Thanks for covering everything while I took two days off, went to Lake Michigan to rest, relax and recharge for the busy months ahead.

Celebrating my birthday with help from employees, friends, family and the Flame Tamer Fire Protection company!

Everyone at Corey Lake Orchards thanks you for buying local. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s definitely blueberry season!

It is most definitely blueberry season….and not only are blueberries fun to pick, delicious to eat, but they are really good for you too!.  Blueberries rank among the highest in overall antioxidant power.

Picked Blueberries:  Available now in the market for $3.00 pint and $5.00 quart.  Larger quantities (5 and 10 pound boxes) are available most of the time.  But, call ahead to make sure we have them or call and order them in advance just to be sure.  (269-244-5690).

U-Pick Blueberries: Given the number of requests for people who want to pick their own blueberries, particularly for those wanting a family farm experience, we have opened a section of our field for U-Pick this year.

  • The hours for U-Pick will be 8 am until 11 am on weekdays and 8 until noon on weekends.
  • Pricing will be $2.00 a pound to pick
  • We expect them to last through most of the month of July
  • We will provide you buckets to pick in, but please bring your own containers to take them home in.
  • In order to have enough for everyone, we are going to set a 10- pound limit per group picking, unless we end up with extras on some days.
  • We hope to be open daily, but if the field gets picked out, we may have to close for ripening, so please call ahead to make sure we are open for picking before you come.  269-244-5690.

Most of the folks who came out this week had their very first experience picking blueberries and were expert pickers by the time they finished!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer vegetables are really coming in now with this week’s rain and hot temperatures.  We currently have:  peas, onions, zucchini, yellow summer squash, green beans, kale, swiss chard, cucumbers, cauliflower, and peppers.  We hope to have sweet corn by next weekend.

Please try some swiss chard.  This may be a new leafy green to many of you, I only tried it after we started growing it last year and now it is one of my favorites.  We ask you to give it a try because we pick it daily and find ourselves throwing most of it away the next day because people don’t seem to know what it is.

  • Swiss chard, sometimes called just chard, has a earthy and slightly taste, crisp leaves and crunchy stalks.
  • The leaves and the stalks are both edible, toss some into a salad.
  • It has a list of health benefits a mile long.
  • My favorite way to prepare it is to saute’ it in olive oil, along with some minced garlic and onion, seasoned with salt and pepper.   While I am sautéing it I toss in what ever other veggies I have:  zucchini, yellow squash, cherry tomatoes.  When it is done I toss a handful of parmesan cheese on top to melt.  While this can be a nice side dish, I use it as a main course for a healthy meal!

swiss chard for sale at the market

Beth’s swiss chard dinner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lodi apples:    Lodi apples is the first summer apple that we grow.   This is the modern replacement for what used to be known as a transparent apple.  It is a medium-sized green and extremely tart apple that can be used for your first applesauce of the year or to eat out-of-hand if you really like something sour!  We hope to have bushels of these sometime next week.  If you want some, please call us and we can add you to our list to call when they are available.  269-244-5690.

We have a new brandy!  Bruce’s strawberry brandy is complete and ready for you to sample and buy.  He will be in the brandy house on Saturday from 1 – 4 for tasting.  We got a taste today and those who tried it really liked it.  He is currently fermenting sour cherries in order to make a few runs of cherry brandy.

Baked Goods.  This weekend we have all of the usual baked goods, pies, cookies, breads, cinnamon rolls.    The blueberry pies are from fresh blueberries since they are in season, so this is the time to get blueberry pie.    This week’s cut-out cookies are pirates–sure to delight any young pirates in your family.

Pirate cookies this weekend

Bakery Update:  Things really got moving this week in the bakery so peek in if you haven’t lately.  All of the equipment is here now and being installed—so while we don’t have an opening date yet, we can see it is getting closer.

Michaela and Patti checking out the new mixer

Bakery equipment coming in

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happenings on the farm this week:  With cherry picking complete we caught a bit of a break this week and had time to catch up on many maintenance items around the farm, repairing grape posts, putting spring equipment away for the year, taking out trees we lost in the storm a few weeks ago, getting equipment ready that we’ll need soon.  We worked on thinning some apples and pears on some of the trees whose branches are bent to the ground with fruit weight–a good and bad problem to have!  We got all of our strawberry fields renovated for next year.  And as the several days of heat brought on 2 plantings of green beans at the same time—the crew spent 1 full day picking green beans.

Strawberry field now ready for next year

Pear branch heavy with fruit

 

 

 

All for now from Beth and the entire crew at Corey Lake Orchards, thanks as always for buying local.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4th of July Weekend Update

Well, a little hot and humid weather and we are back with blueberries again!

 

Blueberries ready for U-Pick, 7-6-13

Picked Blueberries:  Available now in the market for $3.00 pint and $5.00 quart.  Larger quantities (5 and 10 pound boxes) are available most of the time.  But, call ahead to make sure we have them or call and order them in advance just to be sure.  (269-244-5690).

U-Pick Blueberries: Given the number of requests for people who want to pick their own blueberries, particularly for those wanting a family farm experience, we are going to  open a section of our field for U-Pick this year.  We will open for U-Pick on Sunday, July 7th. 

  • The hours for U-Pick will be 8 am until 11 am on weekdays and 8 until noon on weekends.
  • Pricing will be $2.00 a pound to pick
  • We expect them to last through most of the month of July
  • We will provide you buckets to pick in, but please bring your own containers to take them home in.
  • In order to have enough for everyone, we are going to set a 10- pound limit per group picking, unless we end up with extras on some days.
  • We hope to be open daily, but if the field gets picked out, we may have to close for ripening, so please call ahead to make sure we are open for picking before you come.  269-244-5690.
  • Given the amount of rain we have had plus irrigation, the field is sometimes muddy, please wear old shoes or bring boots!

Our new parking lot is ready for use!

You can now park in our new parking lot

  • Thanks to the local Roberts Excavating company, our new parking lot is now ready for you to park in.  In fact, we need your help to compact it in order for us to complete the additional steps of gravel, then cement.
  • We recognize that parking on our hilly driveway has been a challenge for a lot of years, especially when we are busy.     Our parking lot will hopefully make it easier to find parking, improve on the congestion when we are busy and most important, make parking safer for everyone.
  • Please help us by parking in the new lot and leaving the spots closest to the market for those who need to park close by for whatever reason.   We understand that some folks just can’t make the trek up the hill or you have someone in the car you want to keep a close eye on.   Please keep the spot marked at the side of the market open for handicapped parking.  Thanks!

Cut Flowers are now available.  We started picking them this weekend and we will have them on the market on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.    If you need one on a weekday we can usually try to cut them for you.  Make up your own bouquet for $3.00.

Greenhouse update:  It’s been a while since we let you “peek” inside the greenhouse.    So enjoy the view of our tomatoes and cucumbers growing.  We hope that field tomatoes and cucumbers will be coming on in the next several weeks and then we will be phasing the greenhouse produce out.     We are also picking green tomatoes now for those who have been waiting for fried green tomatoes!

Tomatoes growing in the greenhouse

Cucumbers growing in the greenhouse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We hope you have all had an enjoyable 4th of July week, we thank all of you who have come out over this past week for buying local.  Hope to see you again soon.

Beth and everyone at Corey Lake Orchards

Update on Blueberries….July 4th

U-Pick Blueberry Opening Date Delayed:  Sorry, but blueberry yields are not what we expected right now due to the cooler nights, so we are going to have to delay our U-Pick opening until sometime next week.  We will post an opening date as soon as we feel there is good blueberry picking.

Picked Blueberries:  Also, we are temporarily out of five and ten pound already picked boxes, but hope to have those again next week.  We do have pints of fresh picked blueberries available on the market.

If you want to order 5 or ten pound boxes you can do that by calling 269-244-5690 and we will call you when we have them.

Happy 4th!!