Mother Nature has certainly found some interesting ways to welcome in the new year. While we had to hunker down for those worst below-freezing days, most days find everyone around the farm pretty busy.
We have a crew trimming the Concord grapes, our most labor intensive job on this farm. If you have driven by in the last few weeks, you saw construction going on with a building behind our market. No, not another new building, just a repair job going on to our existing crate barn that lost its roof in the November storm. Our maintenance man is getting equipment in and out of his stop, making sure it is already to go if spring ever arrives. We have a crew working to get the greenhouse ready for our tomato plants, which are currently growing in Schramm’s greenhouse for us in Portage. This puts us about 125 days away from being able to enjoy a fresh-tomato BLT sandwich!
It seems to us like we are in apple season here since we still have apples left from the 2013 abundant crop. We have never had this many apples, this long after harvest, still in our cold storage. In fact, we are getting a little tired of having to move the snow (16 inches at one point last week) and ice so that we can get in and out of the cold storage! All these apples are driving new winter activities:
- Bruce has been making apple brandy almost non-stop. Since we have been out of apple brandy for almost 2 years this is a good thing!
Michaela helping to sort apples to be ground up for brandy
Crushed apples falling into barrels where it will be fermented for making bandy
- We have been able to keep local food banks and pantries in fresh apples. Loaves and Fishes picked up a load today, this makes 68,600 pounds or 1,430 bushels of apples now that have gone to folks who need them.
Loaves and Fishes picking up 8500 pounds of apples to distribute to local food banks
Jay loading Jonathan apples for Loaves and Fishes
We are taking the 100 bushels of Northern Spys we had left over and making apple pies and freezing them. There should be no shortage of apple pies in our bakery in 2014!
Who would believe that inside of this snowy-cold closed market there is an apple pie making crew working away in the warm bakery?
Michaela recruited her grandmother to help peel all the apples
Jan, Michaela and Patti—quite an assembly line going!
Dayton Hubbard decided it was a lot warmer to oversee the pie making from his corner perch then the grape trimming going on out in the vineyards!!
The final result: Bins piled high with apple pies in our bakery freezer
And then there is the pile of office work, much pushed aside during our hectic fall season, seeds to order, field planning for this coming year, conferences and seminars, and a chance to finally read up on the latest and greatest things going on in the world of agriculture. But for me, the slower pace allows for some reflecting and longer term planning, more relaxed time with family, basketball watching and cozying up to the fire with a good book and a warm piece of apple pie (well somebody has to be in charge of making sure the pies taste good!!)
We miss our customers and look forward to seeing you in the Spring!
Beth and everyone at Corey Lake Orchards