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

Mid September Update

What beautiful fall days we have had this week….let’s hope it continues, but a little rain would certainly be nice.  Warning, this email has a lot of information as fall is our busy season and there is lots to know about….so skip down to the parts you are looking for and if we haven’t covered it, please feel free to call us or email us.  269-244-5690.

Picked apples in the market:  We have the following varieties available in the market now, in small quantities as well as bushels.

  • Mollie’s Delicious is a large, sweet eating apple.  It is a late summer apple which we will only have a short time.
  • Gala is a great eating and cooking apple.  It has a crisp snappy bite over a mellow sweetness.
  • Jon-A-Mac:  This is a good cooking or eating apple.  It has all of the best qualities of a Jonathan apple and a McIntosh.
  • McIntosh:  This is a classic tart, round/flat apple which is ultra-juicy with a very white flesh.  It is wonderful for applesauce, pies and cider and of course just to eat.
  • Cortland:  This is an old fashioned apple which is excellent for baking.  It is a descendent of the McIntosh, but a bit sweeter,  it also juices well.
  • Honeycrisp:  This seems to be many people’s favorite, it is crisp with an excellent sweet flavor and a “bite” to it.  Great for eating fresh or using in salads.
  • JonaGold:  This is a large, lovely apple for fresh eating and cooking.   It combines the best qualities of a Jonathan and a Golden Delicious.  It is very crisp, with shades of tart and sweet in each apple.

Fall apples:  The remainder of the fall apples are not ready yet.  We have lots of apples this year, so there will be plenty for whether you want them already picked or to pick your own.   You do not need to call ahead to reserve any apples this year…when we start picking each variety by the bushel–we should have them on hand after they start for several weeks.   (except for the Mutsu–see note below.)

The apples that are yet to come into the market are:

  • Braeburn–mid October
  • Cameo–late September
  • Fuji–mid October
  • Golden Delicious–late September
  • Golden Supreme– early October
  • Ida Red-early October
  • Jonathan-late September
  • Mutsu–early October**(very few trees of these–call ahead to place order)
  • Northern Spy–end of September
  • Pink Lady–mid October
  • Red Delicious–early October
  • Red Rome-mid October

2013 Apple pricing:  All of our picked and U-Pick apples will be the same price this year (except for Honeycrisp).  You can mix and match any variety of half-bushels for the bushel price.

  • Bushels:  $24
  • Half bushels:  $13
  • Pecks (1/4 bu): $7
  • 1/2 pecks: $4
  • By the pound:  $1

Honeycrisp pricing:  (No U-Pick) Honeycrisp apples are priced at $2 pound, $8 a half peck (around 5 pounds) and $16 a peck (around 10 pounds.)  Once we start picking more Honeycrisp, we may be able to offer them at bushel pricing and some other specials.   Check back with us.

For our customers who use a lot of apples,  we are offering a “buy or pick 5 bushel special” this year when you buy apples by the bushel.    Please ask us for a punch card if you plan to get that many during the entire season.  You do not need to get them all at the same time if you continue to bring in your punch card.  The price will be adjusted when you get your 5th bushel.  If you get more than 5,  any bushels purchased after that will be $20.

Why are U-Pick apples the same price as picked apples this year?  We have had to move to this pricing model which has been in place at most Michigan apple farms for years.    We are pleased that so many customers and particularly families come out annually and truly enjoy the apple picking experience.   And we want to be able to continue to offer that experience, however, the costs of maintaining an apple orchard along with increased costs due to regulations and liability have necessitated this change.

For a description of these and all of the apples that we grow, please go to the apple listing on our website:  http://www.coreylakeorchards.com/seasonal-offerings/apples/

Fall U-Pick apples:  We will open the fall apples on Saturday, 9-21 for U-Pick.   There are only a few varieties ready right now, apples are late this year due to the weather.   The fall apples that will be available to pick this year are the following.  The five varieties in italics and underlined below are the ones that are ready now to be picked.  For ideal apple picking when most varieties are ready, we would recommend you wait to come around 9-27 or later depending on the variety.  We will continue to update this list.

  • Cameo–late September
  • Cortland–now
  • Fuji–mid October
  • Gala–now
  • Golden Delicious–late September
  • Ida Red-early October
  • JonaMac–now
  • Jonathan-late September
  • Jonagold–now
  • McIntosh–mid September
  • Mollie’s Delicious–now
  • Mutsu–early October
  • Northern Spy–end of September
  • Red Delicious–early October
  • Red Rome-mid October

Information for apple picking:  We are open 8 – 6 daily, please be finished by 6 pm.  Bring baskets if you have them, if not, we will set you up with bags/baskets.  Please dress appropriately for an orchard, where natural hazards exist (bees, tall grass under the trees, the occasional sprig of poison ivy, etc.)   This year it has been particularly difficult to mow next to the  trees, because the trees are so full of apples that the branches touch the ground.  We do not supply any ladders, so if you would like to get that perfect apple that is beyond your reach, please bring your own.

Apple Gleaning:  Many of you are looking for a way to get apples inexpensively for feeding horses, deer, or even juicing and canning in large quantities.  This year due to the size of the apple crop we will probably be able to open our end of year gleaning, where you can pick what is left on the ground or on the tree, for $4 a bushel.  This will not be until sometime in late October when the harvest is complete.

U-Pick grapes:  The White Niagara grapes are now open for picking and the Blue Concords will open on Sunday, September 22nd. 

  • Picking hours:  Our picking hours are 8 am to 6 pm, we ask that you be finished and checked out by 6.
  • Please check in at the main market on Corey Lake Road before you start.  You will be directed to the vineyard in which we are picking that day and be given rows to pick on.
  • Pricing:  They are 25 cents/pound to pick or if you pick over 100 pounds, they are 20 cents/pound.    A 5 gallon bucket, filled to the top weighs approximately 20 pounds which is also equivalent to a half bushel.
  •  If you pick over 100 pounds of grapes, that is $4 a bucket, (20 cents lb)
  • If you pick less than 100 pounds, it is $5 a bucket (25 cents lb).

When you come to pick grapes, please bring the following if you have them:

  • Five gallon buckets to pick in, this is how we measure how much you pick instead of having to weigh them all.   If you don’t have these, you can borrow ours, but bring containers to take them home in.  You can also purchase pails from us for $4.00.
  • Scissors or clippers to cut them with.
  • Small wagons to help you get them out of the vineyard (our rows are very long!)

How is the crop and how long will the grapes last?   We have around 50 acres of grapes for U-Pick this year and think they will last about a month or so.  That depends of course on the weather and how many customers we have.   We have many blocks of Concord available but fewer white Niagara.  There is a good grape crop this year, the vines and foliage are very heavy this year, which is one of the reasons why they are late….it has taken more days to get the sun and warmth through the foliage to ripen them.

Can I wait and pick both colors of grapes at the same time?  Yes, but you should plan on trying to come in the first several weeks we are open for the Concord grapes, as there are fewer white grapes to pick.

Cider:  We will be pressing cider every Thursday evening, so a fresh batch will be available around 8:30 on Friday mornings.    Cider pricing this year is $6 a gallon, buy 3 or more gallons at the same time at $5 a gallon.

Fall ornamentals, mums and squash:  We have a good selection now of mums, gourds, indian corn and winter squash to choose from.

Pumpkins:  Riley Pumpkin Farm, just down the road from us has brought over some of their amazing extra large pumpkins.  These are great to put on a deck or porch for the season.  They are priced at a special of $8 each, 2 for $15 or 3 for $20.  There are other pumpkins available, white, tan and orange at a variety of pricing from $2 on up.

Spookley Storybook:  Please check out our large storybook about Spookley the square pumpkin in the yard by the pumpkin wagon.  There are 12 storyboards to walk children through.  It is a wonderful story about a pumpkin that grows square instead of round, gets teased and bullied because he is different, than something happens on the farm where Spookley ends up saving all of the pumpkins—and I won’t give the rest of the story away.  This story has some great teachable moments about how all of us need to value the unique and different qualities that individuals have.

Tomatoes:  We are reopening the U-Pick field, as with a few days rest there are now some orange and red tomatoes again.  However, the tomato picking is never going to be like it was in August, as tomatoes need summer-like weather not fall to be plentiful.  If it gets picked out we will have to close it again for ripening, so check with us before you come.  269-244-5690.

Bakery update:  If you were in our bakery last weekend, you got to watch us attempt to make our first donuts and help us taste test them.  Saturday we are going to try again.  If we are successful, we will have pumpkin, apple and plain donuts this weekend!

The fall bakery items we are offering are:

  • Pies:  pecan, pumpkin, blueberry, cherry, pear and peach
  • Apple Dumplings
  • Pumpkin cupcakes
  • Cookies–several varieties
  • Cinnamon rolls and pecan sticky buns
  • Bread:  whole wheat and 12 grain
  • Slushies:  Cider and grape

Brandy:  Our brandy house will be open on Saturday from 1 – 4, Bruce has been busy distilling pear brandy all week.

We hope to see you this fall, Beth and everyone at Corey Lake Orchards.  Thanks as always for buying local.