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

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