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

End of September Update

What picture perfect weather we have had all week–for those folks picking in the vineyard  or in the apple orchard, the sunny skies against the apple trees and delightful aroma of the grapes was an additional bonus.

Bakery update:  We are thrilled with the popularity of our bakery and could never have imagined how many donuts you all could eat!  Due to popular request…..we are now making donuts 7 days a week:  Pumpkin, apple and buttermilk which you can buy plain or cinnamon sugared.  $6 a dozen.

In our bakery, everything is made from scratch (including the crust plus preparing all of the fruit, etc.)  While this is time consuming, we feel it provides the quality product we want you to have.   While we will  continue to have the bakery open 7 days a week, please realize there may be limited baked goods available on Mondays as the bakers regroup from the weekend baking and sales volume.    If there is a particular pie/cookie or bread you want on a certain day, just call ahead by a day and order it to make sure we have it for you.  (269-244-5690).

Hand decorated apple sugar cookies—these are the only worms you will find in apples here!

The fall bakery items we are offering are:

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

Sweet Potatoes:  I have a different philosophy than my Dad had when deciding what crops to grow on the farm.  I plant things that I like and I love sweet potatoes, especially making sweet potato chips!  If you wondered why back in my Dad’s era there were not peas and broccoli, it is because he didn’t like them!!  Yesterday we harvested our first planting of sweet potatoes, several different varieties and they are available on the market now.  You might be surprised at how good a freshly dug sweet potato tastes!

Health and Nutrition fact sheets about the benefits of eating squash and apples are available in the market, please pick one up when you are here.   (Note:  We will not be providing a sheet about the benefits of eating donuts!)

Bosc Winter Pears are here.  They are a golden russet colored pear with an elegant shape.  They are sweet and firm.  They keep very well.   These are available in eating quantities or by the bushel.

Brandy:  Our brandy house will be open on Saturday from 1 – 4,  the pear brandy is finally done and bottled!  Come out and try some and get an informative tour of the brandy process from Bruce.

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.
  • Jonathan:  A very popular apple for fresh eating and cooking.  It has a spicy tangy flavor, a favorite for making apple butter or taffy apples.
  • Braeburn:  Sweet with a hint of tart and a firmness that stores well.  They are great bakers too.

We are just starting to pick a few of the following apples, available in small quantities for now, bushels later:

  • Cameo:  A firm-textured, crisp and sweet tart apple.  Great for snacking or baking and is an outstanding dessert apple.  Keeps well in coldest part of refrigerator.
  • Fuji:  This is an apple with sweet and tart flavor, with a low acid content.  It is a very good keeper.
  • Golden Delicious:  A gingery-smooth, sweet taste lies under a thin skin.  Great for applesauce, cider, pies or other desserts.

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:

  • Golden Supreme– early October
  • Ida Red-early October
  • 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 are 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 3 bushel special” this year when you buy apples by the bushel.   We started the apple season with this special being for 5 bushels.  But…..reality hit this week when we started some serious harvesting of apples and realized how many there are.    So in order to share the bounty with our customers we are making it a 3 bushel special.

  • The 3 bushel special is good on all of the $24/bushel apples purchased by the bushel, (not by the peck) whether we pick them or you pick them.  (Not on Honeycrisp since they are priced differently.)
  • 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 3rd bushel.  If you get more than 3,  any bushels purchased after that will be $20.

The reality of how many apples we have hit when we realized that it only took two Cortland trees to fill a 22-bushel bin!

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:   While not all of the apples are ripe yet, we are going to go ahead and open up the balance of the orchard to pick most of the varieties now.  The ideal picking weekend when most varieties will be ripest will be October 5th and later.  But based on the reality of hectic schedules, some of you can’t come later.    The apples in italics are ready now, the other apples you may pick but we are advising you to wait if you can, but if you can’t, “spot pick” them carefully, going after the ripest ones on the tree.

  • Cameo
  • Cortland
  • Fuji
  • Gala
  • Golden Delicious
  • Ida Red
  • JonaMac
  • Jonathan
  • Jonagold
  • Mollie’s Delicious
  • Mutsu
  • Northern Spy
  • Red Delicious

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 Purple Concords are open for picking, but still not as ripe as we would like.  We would advise you to wait until the 2nd week of October if you can to allow the Concord grapes to get riper, the foliage is very thick this year. 

  • 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.     There is a good grape crop this year, but the vines and foliage are very heavy this year, which is one of the reasons why they are late and not ripening well.

Can I wait and pick both colors of grapes at the same time?  Yes, we have held a large vineyard of the white Niagara to pick when you come for the purple Concords.

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, in addition to Diane’s painted pumpkins.

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.

A page from our large storyboard Spookley story.

For planning purposes, the annual Fall Color tour is October 13th this year….there will be lots going on here at the farm that weekend, pick up a brochure when you are here.

Everyone at Corey Lake Orchards thanks you for buying local and we hope to see you during our fall season!