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

Monthly Archive: April 2014

Asparagus is ready!!

Just a quick update to let you know we are picking asparagus now and have it available on the market in small quantities, like 10 pounds or less. It is not going to be plentiful until the weather stays consistently warm. If the weather person is correct and it is cool the rest of this week, that will limit how often and how much we can pick. So, you are best to call ahead (269-244-5690) and we will save it for you as we tend to sell out early at the beginning of the season. If you want larger quantities (like 20 pounds or more) please call and get on our order list and we will call you when it is available. The price is the same as last year. $2/lb or over 10 pounds is $1.75 a pound.

Just a reminder we have 2 new kinds of asparagus we are growing in addition to the old variety we have had for the past 18 years.  This is why it might look different at times.

  1. Jersey Knight–which is traditional green asparagus but the spears are longer and fatter than the old variety we had.  Do not worry—even with the larger size–it is tender!
  2. Sweet Purple–this is a dark purple that is sweeter than standard green varieties.  The spears are large–but also very tender.

 

Bedding plants: We have been holding off bringing in flower and vegetable plants due to the cool weather coming. However, we have onion sets available now (Varieties: Red Candy, Yellow Candy and White Superstar). We will start bringing in a selection of cold crop plants on May 1: cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, lettuce, broccoli, Swiss chard, etc. These plants like cold weather and you can get these in your own gardens any time now.

By the middle of May we hope to have all of our plant selections available: tomatoes, squash, eggplant, peppers, melons, cucumbers, and more. So plan on getting your garden items here, call ahead to make sure we have the plants you want before you drive out. We will be bringing them in every few days.

Bakery: Our bakery will open on Friday, May 9th for the season. Michaela will be updating you soon on what we will have available.

Thanks as always for buying local, Beth and everyone at Corey Lake Orchards

 

Asparagus sighting…..It must be spring!

Update from Beth:

  • We are convinced it is really spring. The farm is in our beginning-of-the-year flurry of long work days, preparing ground, planting, preparing more ground, more planting…This week we got in all of the onions, potatoes, peas and our first plantings of sweet corn and green beans.   Right now, everything is about two weeks later than last year.

Jay plowing the fields for planting 4-23-14

Planting onion sets on 4-24-14

Planting seed potatoes on 4-24-14, we planted 3 new kinds this year

 

Feeding the potato planter

  • The surest sign spring is here was finding asparagus spears pushing through the ground!! So….we should have asparagus (if the weather cooperates) the first part of May. If you want to place an order for asparagus, please call (269-244-5690) or email us, let us know how many pounds you are looking for and a phone number. We will call you when we can fill your order.
  • We will open the market for the year when asparagus is fully ready, we will know more next week, but anticipate opening possibly the weekend of May 3rd.
  • We will be open in time for Mother’s Day and in our next update we will provide a detailed list of items you may want to consider for Mother’s Day gifts. We will have our usual assortment of planted pot arrangements (with both flowers and herbs) and hanging baskets. We also have “lettuce bowls” growing in the greenhouse, basil plants in colorful pots and both cherry and large tomato plants for setting on a patio or deck. Of course, we will offer a variety of baked goods and yes, pies!! (See Michaela’s section for more updates.)

Cathy planting cherry tomatoes for Mother’s Day

 

  • Garden plants: We will soon be stocking our spring supply of plants for your garden. This will include most vegetables, tomatoes, herbs and flowers. We’ll publish a list of what is going to be available and pricing next week for those of you anxious to get started.
  • Tomatoes: We’ve got big green tomatoes in the greenhouse. We’re still thinking some will be ripening about May 15th date, just after Mother’s Day. So a BLT is hopefully less than one month away!

Just waiting for them to turn red

The tomato plants are now as tall as I am! 4-25-14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Update from Michaela & the bakery staff:

  • Happy spring everyone!! Our short vacation will soon be over and we are readying the bakery for full production! We have missed all of our loyal customers over the past few months, but we stayed busy. This winter we made a lot of apple pies and froze them so you can have our mouthwatering apple pies all summer long. We also have been planning and testing several new additional bakery items to offer.
  • We are looking forward to baking for your Mother’s Day celebrations. Next week we will publish our full list of baked good offerings and start taking orders. At the very least, we’ll a variety of cookies, pies, cinnamon rolls and bread.

Update from Becca:

  • In the last update, we mentioned putting in a large terrace garden on the east side of the market, and another large garden in the yard by the house. A family member with a very nice rototiller came over on Saturday to help us prepare the soil – thank you Greg! – and Tuesday we got a delivery of beautiful leaf and mushroom compost to integrate. Hooray!
  • These gardens have several purposes. First, they’re part of our market operation, so expect to see fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers going from the these gardens to the market shelves for you to purchase. They will both have u-pick herbs, flowers, and vegetables. We’re also planning to have some educational components to these gardens.
  • I’m happy to answer any questions about how we’re managing these gardens.

Becca getting the compost worked into the soil

 

  • My Earth Day celebration was planting two of the new beds in the garden by the house – I have seeded radish, peas, carrots, spinach, lettuces, arugula, beets, scallions, and orach (sort of like spinach, and purple!). We also have the first plantings of kale, chard, kohlrabi, spinach, lettuce, and chives in the ground.

Becca planting a section of the raised garden area

  • This is the most hopeful part of the garden year, seriously! The soil is still fluffy and weed-free, there are no pests or molds or blights, and I can plant whatever I want. It is very difficult to suppress the urge to plant all those empty beds right now – I’m just so excited. I hope to see you all at the market this year so you can give me feedback on how it looks/tastes.
  • On a semi-related note, I’m very excited to have built a couple of compost bins here at the farm, and I’m looking to add more compost bins as the year goes on. If you have kitchen scraps that you’re currently throwing in your trash can (egg shells, orange peels, wilted greens, vegetable peels, coffee grounds, tea, etc.), get in touch with me, because we might just have space for that in our compost. I’d hate to see good material go to a landfill, especially when it could be future fertilizer for my fields.

So, from everyone at Corey Lake Orchards, we thank you for buying local and look forward to seeing you soon!

 

 

 

 

 

Signs of spring….

What beautiful spring weather we are finally having! We’ll take it, even if it did snow last night. Finally, we are getting caught up from being behind due to the non-stop winter.

So the most frequently asked questions of late are: When are you opening? When will you have asparagus? When can we get baked goods?!! We wish we knew. Due to the cool nights this spring, asparagus will definitely be late. While we normally have it by the end of April, it will be coming in May this year given how things look. The ground needs to be warm 8 to 10 inches down before it can start to grow, so we still need some more warm weather. We will open the market and the bakery when asparagus is ready, so stay tuned.

Please welcome my niece Becca, adding to the 3rd generation now working on the farm. She brings a wealth of experience from working for the Peace Corps in Paraguay on gardening, farming, and beekeeping projects, as well as experience from working on several organic farms in Latin America and the United States. She has some great plans she is putting into motion, including a terraced garden by the market for educational opportunities and U-pick organic vegetables. She’ll also be preparing organic vegetable and herb starts for customers at the market this year. Check out her beautiful little basil pots (another tidbit about Becca: she loves basil). She will start giving her own updates in future website posts.

Basil pots on 4/15.

Happenings on the farm:

1. The last apple orchard brush got cleaned up….Denim and I tackled the brush and debris in the final orchard over the weekend. Doing this reminded me of playing the game “pick up sticks” when I was a young child. Except this time, the rules were the opposite: the more the sticks and branches touching each other, the more that comes out in one large group as you pull them away from the tree. The large branches get pulled to the middle where my son Jay pushes them out to the end of the rows. Any of the limbs that are decent sized, he cuts up for fire wood. The small branches stay on the orchard floor where they get mowed up into little pieces, which provides mulch that helps replenish the soil.

Beth pulling the brush from under the trees

Denim is not a retriever! He was happy to watch and not participate.

Jay pushing the brush into one big pile 4-12-14

2. We are racing to finish tying the grape vines up before they buds start popping out — once they come out, the wrapping of them and tying them can damage the buds and thus, no grapes. With 50 acres of white Niagara grapes–this takes a while.

Becca tying the grape vines to the trellis wire

3. The greenhouse tomatoes are looking great. Today, it was Cathy’s turn to pollinate them. We hand-pollinate around noon each day because in the greenhouse environment, there is no wind which would allow them to self pollinate, nor do we keep bees in the greenhouse. (The bees we have on the farm don’t seem to find their way into the greenhouse.) We estimate that we are about one month away from our first BLT.

Cathy pollinating tomatoes on 11-11-14
A battery operated wand gently shakes the plant where the blossoms are

Look at the tomatoes coming….Dad would have been so proud.

4. Field preparation: We have the fields plotted and mapped out as to what gets planted where, and we’re now simply waiting to be able to get into the ground and get started. Jay got some of the fertilizer down where we will be planting.

Fertilizing the young peach orchard

If the spring weather holds, you will hopefully start seeing a flurry of planting activities here on the farm (and please….no more snow flurries). We are all getting excited about beginning another season and can’t wait to see our customers back at the market. Thanks as always for buying local.

-Beth and everyone at Corey Lake Orchards