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

U-Pick grape opening dates, cider is here, more apples are in, fresh pumpkin pies are in the bakery!

U-Pick grapes:  We will officially open for picking the White Niagara grapes on Sunday, September 15th and the Blue Concords 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.

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.

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.   (except for the Mutsu–see note below.)   We expect to open U-Pick apples on Sunday, September 22nd.  Not all varieties will be ready at that time, we will publish a list next week of what will be ready for picking.

The apples that are yet to come are:

  • Braeburn–mid October–(no -U-Pick)
  • Cameo–late September
  • Fuji–mid October
  • Golden Delicious–late September
  • Golden Supreme– early October (no U-Pick)
  • Ida Red-early October
  • Jonathan-late September
  • Jonagold–late September
  • Mutsu–early October**(very few trees of these–call ahead to place order)
  • Northern Spy–end of September
  • Pink Lady–mid October–(No U-pick)
  • 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

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.

Honeycrisp pricing:  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.  Check back with us.

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.

Cider:  We pressed our first cider on Thursday afternoon.  It is a mix of Earli-blaze, McIntosh, Gala, Jon-a-Mac’s, Mollie’s Delicious and some Nu-reds.     For the first cider of the year we think it came out well.   Ask us for a sample if you would like to try it before you buy some.  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, pumpkins, indian corn and winter squash to choose from.

Pears:  We only have a few bushel of Bartlett left and then they will be gone for the year.  We do have our famous Sugar pears on the market for sale now.

Stanley Prune Plums:  We still have plenty of plums for sale at $20 a bushel.  This is a great plum to eat, make jam or to can because they are freestone.  This year they are very sweet.  We have samples available to try.

Tomatoes:  Our tomatoes have really been picked out and with the cool weather need to ripen again.  Please do NOT come out for U-Pick until they ripen up (please call us for an update on 269-244-5690).  We are no longer offering our picked tomato special. If you are looking for bushels of picked tomatoes, please call us to order them.

Onions:  Our hanging and bagged onions are now available in the market.  We had a very difficult growing season with our onions getting off to a bad start in the cool, damp spring.  Therefore, they never reached their full size and are considerably smaller than we have ever had.   We only were able to harvest about 50% of the crop so we will not have as many as we usually have.  Sorry….we’ll hope for a better season next year.

Watermelon Special:  Now that are watermelon are finally ready, we are offering a special of $3 your choice until they are gone.  We have some huge ones, we grow these right here.

Bakery update:  All it took was the cooler fall air coming in this week, along with our harvesting of pie pumpkins to get our bakery staff in a fall mood.    This weekend we will have:

  • Pies:  pecan, pumpkin, blueberry, cherry, pear and peach
  • Apple Dumplings are back!!
  • Pumpkin cupcakes
  • Cinnamon rolls and pecan sticky buns
  • Bread:  whole wheat and 12 grain

We now have a frozen slushy machine in the bakery where we are offering cider slushies, made with our own cider.  You will want to try these.  In a few weeks we will also have grape juice slushies.

While I have made pumpkin pies before, (by going to the grocery store and buying canned pumpkin and using the recipe on the can) I for one was pretty surprised when I saw the bakers actually using real pie pumpkins that we grew.  And….when I tasted the pumpkin muffins this morning, the real pumpkin flavor was delightful.

Above:  Michaela picking out pie pumpkins to use in the bakery, then with help from Patti and Jan, preparing them to go into pies and cupcakes. 

Brandy: The brandy house will be open on Saturday as usual from 1 – 4.  Bruce has been very busy this week fermenting our largest run of pear brandy in history!  (Pear brandy is my favorite….can’t wait for it to be distilled!!)

Lots happening as fall arrives at Corey Lake Orchards–we thank you for buying local and hope to see you soon.

Beth and everyone at Corey Lake Orchards