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

Monthly Archive: May 2014

End of May update

Produce available on the market this weekend includes asparagus, rhubarb, romaine lettuce, salad mix, spinach, kale, and cucumbers/tomatoes from our greenhouse.

We are starting to bring in the long English cucumbers from the greenhouse now

Asparagus Update: We expect to have asparagus on the market until mid-June, so keep enjoying it while it is in season.

Strawberries: We will have a great crop of strawberries and it looks like they will ready by the middle of June for U-Pick and pre-picked. We are now taking orders for picked strawberries. The price is the same as last years:  $3.25 quart or $24.00 for a flat of 8 quarts.  Call us if you would like to get on our list:  269-244-5690.

Bedding Plants and Flowers: We have flats of vegetables, tomatoes, flowers and herbs that you can mix and match for your gardening needs. We have a good selection of hanging baskets and pre-made flower arrangements in unique pots.  Hurry out, we will not be getting any more in this year.

Bakery: This weekend in the bakery we will have available: 

  • Cookies: frog shaped cut outs, monster (oatmeal, M&M’s, choc, chips and peanut butter)  and lemon.
  •  Pies: Apple, blueberry, blueberry-rhubarb, cherry, peanut butter, rhubarb, and strawberry-rhubarb.
  •  Bread: 12 grain, whole wheat, cinnamon. Cinnamon rolls, and sticky buns.
  • Donuts: blueberry, buttermilk, and cherry.
  • Frozen slushies: apple cider and black cherry Concord grape

If you would like to reserve any baked goods please call us at 269-244-5690.

  • A final note from the bakers: We were really pleased that the blueberry-rhubarb pies were such a hit!! It was our top selling pie all weekend long (even surpassing our always popular strawberry rhubarb)! A big thank you to everyone who made it out on such a beautiful weekend. You kept us very busy and the donut machine in constant motion.
  • We have some good news, today we installed a freezer in the front area of the bakery. We will be offering “take and bake” frozen pies! These will be our famous home-made pies, complete with baking instructions. All you need to do is put it in your oven.  You can now have warm pie for dessert, and the same aroma you smell in our bakery should be in your own kitchen.

Update from Becca: The front garden is almost fully planted for the summer , and those of you here the past week have probably noticed that we planted the terrace garden east of the market. I seeded most of my bedding plants in March and April, so it has really been satisfying to get the majority of them in the ground. If you drop by the market, you will see me weeding furiously most days.

A note: if your family kitchen generates a lot of food scraps (coffee grounds, egg shells, asparagus ends, vegetable peels, etc.), please talk to me about adding that waste to my compost pile! I’d love to put it to good use rather than thrown out in the trash. Leave me a message at the market or call me for more information. (269) 244-5690.

Bee Update: We have two beekeepers managing nearly 40 hives at various locations on our farm. With honeybees pollinating a third of the food we eat, and nearly 100% of what we grow here at Corey Lake Orchards, this insect is very critical to our survival, and yet as you’ve probably seen in the news, honeybees are struggling to survive.

On our farm, they gather nectar and pollen from the plants and make cherries, apples etc. for us in the process. They also make honey which we sell at the market (packaged in the honey bears with hats). You can learn more about bees, and how we can all help them, in about a month at our upcoming ‘Meet the Beekeepers’ sessions at the market. You will meet my sister Charlotte (the one brave enough to take off her hood for the picture), who speaks locally and nationally about honeybees (for more info, see www.hubbardhive.com) Weather permitting she’ll bring live bees in a cage and talk about them and answer questions.

Charlotte and crew keeping bees in April.

Happenings on the farm this week: 

It was actually a slow week on the farm, having gotten everything planted last week. One of our absolute favorite things was watching it rain on Tuesday–we got a half an inch, which our orchards, vineyards and plants were most thankful for. On the cooler mornings, our crew worked in the greenhouse, continuing to train our already very tall tomato plants to grow taller….we now have to use a step ladder to continue to tie them to the trellises!

Very tall tomato plants, 5-29-14

Some of the clusters of tomatoes are so large we have to use clips to hold up their weight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On our daily farm checks, we have been scrutinizing the “fruit set” on our crops. We are now able to estimate the damage that was caused to our fruit by a “trifecta” of events—the trees went into winter stressed from how much they produced in 2013, the severe winter (many days at -20 degrees) caused “winter injury” to trees and bushes, and the frost event on May 15th/16th froze out what was in bloom at that time. Many of you have commented you have seen your own bushes and flowers not “coming back” or producing any flowers this year….much of this is due to winter injury.  So far, this is what we think we will have:

  • Strawberries:  Great crop!
  • Sweet Cherries:  About 5% of normal crop
  • Tart Cherries:  About 40% of normal crop
  • Blueberries:  About 60% of normal crop (and we were very lucky)
  • Peaches:  No peaches
  • Plums: About 25% of normal crop
  • Pears: About 25% of normal crop
  • Apples: Variety dependent, about 50% overall
  • White Niagara Grapes:  25% of normal crop
  • Purple Concord Grapes:  60% of normal crop

We’re providing these estimates to you now and will update them as we learn more.  For those of you who can and freeze a lot of fruit, you may want to ration some fruits we will be short of.

Blueberries blooming on 5-29-14, their blossom is such a delicate bell-shaped blossom–beautiful

Earli-blaze apples are just loaded this year, it is an early summer apple, tart, and great for pies and sauce

We have all endured these kind of years before (remember 2012?) so this will be another year where we will all learn to like vegetables even more than we do now!!  Despite the shortage of fruit, we remain committed to continuing to give you a great farm experience, delicious fresh-picked fruits and vegetables and the very best from our bakery.  We value you as a customer and we truly appreciate your business and buying local.

Thanks—from everyone at Corey Lake Orchards

 

 

Happy Memorial Day Weekend and yes….we have donuts!

Produce available on the market this weekend includes asparagus, rhubarb, tomatoes and cucumbers from our greenhouse. Nothing like asparagus on the grill for a holiday weekend cookout! See the end of this post for a great recipe one of our customers gave us for a sauce to put over your asparagus.**

We picked 4 bushels of tomatoes from the greenhouse today!

Bedding Plants and Flowers: We have flats of vegetables, tomatoes, flowers and herbs that you can mix and match for your gardening needs. We have a good selection of hanging baskets and pre-made flower arrangements in unique pots. Bakery: This weekend in the bakery we will have available:

  • Pies: Apple, blueberry, cherry, chocolate, rhubarb, strawberry rhubarb and a new one: blueberry rhubarb!!
  • Bread: 12 grain, whole wheat, cinnamon.
  • Cinnamon rolls and sticky buns.
  • Donuts: blueberry, buttermilk, and cherry.
  • Cookies: frog shaped cut outs, monster (peanut butter/m&m/choc.chips & oatmeal), and lemon. If you would like to reserve any baked goods please call us at 269-244-5690.

A note from the bakers: the number one question we have been asked so far this year hasbeen “Where are the donuts??” Well, we are so happy to be making them for you this weekend!! We will have them from now on every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Our new summer flavors are blueberry and cherry, and we will still have the same buttermilk donuts that we made last fall. The new flavors have been taste tested by many of our coworkers (very willing guinea pigs), and they have all given a thumbs up! We look forward to seeing you this weekend.

The blueberry-rhubarb pie mix looks good enough to eat without being put in a crust and baked!

Update from Becca: Those of you who have stopped by the market have probably seen the garden coming to life! I started hundreds of plants over the past several months and it’s nice to finally get them out of trays, into the ground. This weekend, the market will have limited quantities of spinach, curly kale, and Swiss chard. All of these were raised without synthetic chemicals. There will be more and more within the next couple of weeks, and I will be harvesting lettuce and other greens soon.

Becca’s garden sprouting to life

 

Kale and spinach on 5/23.

Happenings on the farm this week:

  • Finally we are able to plant hot season crops! This week we got in our eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, squash and melons. Today we planted 3000 new Jewel strawberry plants (those large, tasty strawberries we all love) for the 2015 season.

Planting the U-Pick tomato field, May 22, 2014, putting in our favorite varieties

Despite the hard ground, the potatoes have pushed through and are on their way. We have planted 2 new kinds this year in addition to our standard red potatoes.

As we were planting, two of our beekeepers were working on their hives. Bees are such an important asset on our farm. Thank you beekeepers for all of your work!

  • If you were driving by you saw us painting our peach trees trunks. This is their 4th year and they have “outgrown” the tree guards we put on them when we first planted them. Many of you have asked why we do this. Painting fruit tree trunks with white latex paint can prevent the bark from splitting and cracking off. Splitting can happen when the tree is exposed to freezing evening temperatures, followed by a daytime thawing (as you know a fairly common occurrence in this state!!). The painted white trunk helps reflect sunlight during the daytime hours and keep the tree warmer at night. It also helps protect against rodent damage, mice and voles can girdle a tree under the snow cover. Even better, we have found that rabbits don’t like the taste of paint.
Newly painted tree trunks, it looks like a group of graceful ladies dancing with new white stockings!
  • Strawberries: We are thrilled to see so many strawberry blooms and little strawberries forming…..we anticipate strawberries will be ready about mid-June this year.
A cluster of blossoms with berries forming, May 21, 2014
  • Market beds are planted: A huge thank-you to Cathy who puts together all of our planters and market beds each year….can’t wait for the old potato planter she planted this week to fill out!

  • The U-Pick Herb garden is being plantedThis was quite popular last year, this year we have moved it by the parking lot, you can pick the herbs you need on your way up to the market. We’ll let you know when you can start cutting them, they need a little time to mature first.

  • The Terrace Garden is planted. We have lots of specialty and heirloom tomatoes planted, as well as peppers, eggplant, spinach, kale, chard, leeks, herbs, mustards, collards, and more. We are also using this space to grow gladiolas, cosmos, sunflowers, zinnias, and other flowers for cutting.

Starting to plant the new Terrace garden

Rivers of Justice Film Festival Drawing:   With the chance of frost we think finally gone, we drew the winner of our large tomato plant contest for those that entered the drawing during the Rivers of Justice Film Festival in April. And…..the winner of her own patio cherry tomato plant is Ruth Eichler, congratulations!

Beth awarding Ruth her tomato plant

For the second year, the League of Michigan Bicyclists’ (LMB) with the Pedal and Paddle Bicycle Tour stopped at our farm.  We were their last stop after a three day event which included a combination of 130+ miles bicycling along rural roads and paddling down the two of the local rivers.  We loved hosting them and thank them for coming to our area.

Diane, (right) the mobile bike repair lady supported the group

From everyone at Corey Lake Orchards, Happy Memorial Day weekend, enjoy the weather and thanks as always for buying local. **Asparagus with Honey Garlic Sauce

  • 1/2 cup Dijon-style mustard
  • 1/2 cup of dark ale or beer
  • 1/3 cup of honey
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix the above ingredients together and pour over your asparagus however you normally fix it: grilled, sautéed or steamed. Enough to cover about 2 – 3 pounds of asparagus. From the National Honey Board, www.honey.com

Happy Mother’s Day Weekend and….Happy Spring!

With today’s heat, we are finally ready to believe spring is here….hooray! We’re grateful to see the sun and to have its warmth in the soil so that seeds will start sprouting and plants will start growing.

The fruit trees are beginning to bloom, which we think is one of the loveliest things to see around our farm in the springtime. If you drive by, cherries across from the market have started blooming. Pears, plums and apples will be close behind.  You’re welcome to take your fill of pictures.  Sadly, you won’t see much life in the peach trees on Corey Lake Road east of the market, there are no buds or blossoms, so it appears we have lost the peach crop for 2014.

The market was bustling today with all-hands-on-deck to scrub, rake, sweep and clean out any remnants from last season to be ready to welcome our customers. It was a pleasure to do this as the bakers were making pies – the aroma wafting through the air reminded us how much we have missed the bakery!

Here’s what we have available now:

Asparagus! We are starting to pick every day and have bulk quantities available. We are pricing it at $2/lb. for under 10 lb. and $1.75/lb. for orders of 10lb. or more. It is such a nice, fresh flavor to have in the springtime. We think we’ll have a constant supply, but as always, you’re welcome to call before you come to have us set some aside for you. (269) 244-5690.

Rhubarb: We will have rhubarb available starting Friday, May 9th.  Given the heat the past few days, we anticipate having a hearty supply.

Plants, plants and more plants: We have most of our plants in now for you to come select from. Some of the plants we have seeded and grown in our own greenhouse, but most of them come from a local source that we have bought from for over 25 years, Schram’s Greenhouse in Portage. This gives us confidence that you are getting a good plant when you get them here.

  • Flats of Vegetables include: broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, eggplant, many varieties of peppers and onion sets
  • Flats of Flowers include: asters, celosia, cosmos, gomphrena, impatiens, lobella, marigolds, morning glories, moss rose, nasturtium, ornamental cabbage and ornamental kale, pansies, petunias, salvia, snapdragons, verbena, vinca, and zinnias. There are different colors and heights to choose from.
  • Herbs (sold by the pot) include: basil, dill, lemon balm, many mints, oregano, thyme, sweet marjoram, and parsley
  • Flats of Tomatoes: Many varieties including mini tomatoes and regular tomatoes
  • Many types of hanging flower baskets
  • The “vine” crops are yet to come: melons, squash and cucumbers (probably a week away)

We would recommend that you let these plants “harden up” outside for a few days before planting in the ground, as they have just left their warm greenhouse environment, especially tomatoes, pepper and flowers. Cold-crop items are fine to plant now.

 

Many flats of flowers available

 

Many unique types of flowers in hanging baskets

Greenhouse tomatoes: We still have beautiful, large, but unfortunately still green tomatoes in the greenhouse. It looks like it will be at least a few more weeks until that first BLT.

Bakery opens Friday, May 9th, for the year! Our offerings for the weekend will be:

  • Cookies: Large Flower Cut-Out sugar cookies, large Monster (chocolate chips, M&M’s peanut butter and oatmeal) and Iced Lemon
  • Pies: Apple, Blueberry, Cherry, Chocolate Cream, and Strawberry Rhubarb and Rhubarb (fruit pies made from our own produce we preserved last year)
  • Bread: 12 Grain Bread, Whole Wheat, Cinnamon
  • Cinnamon Rolls and Pecan Sticky Buns

Michaela and Patti making strawberry-rhubarb pies….mmm…

 

Cherry pies coming out of the oven.

So….where are the donuts? We will start making donuts on Memorial Day Weekend. We’ll be making special summery flavors as different fruits come into season, like cherry, blueberry, and other flavors.

Mother’s Day gift ideas:

  • Our local vendors have their items on the market now. These include: local honey, maple syrup, cards, art and Ruth’s famous pecan and cashew brittle. 
  • Why not buy Mom a “living” salad? We will have large tomato plants for the patio or to set outside—they are already blooming, staked and some have little tomatoes on them. Pair these with one of our lettuce bowls. They’re planted with cold-tolerant greens that can be put outside now, and the lettuce can be picked and it grows back! Grab a basil plant in one of our colored pots, then add a bottle of your Mom’s favorite salad dressing and you have a healthy gift she can continue to enjoy.

    Salad bowls and tomato plants.

    Salad bowls and tomato plants.

  • An arranged flower container for the patio or door step for Mom. Once again we will be making up special containers with flowers and herbs. Come see the many unique containers available for sale at all price ranges. If you have a container you would like us to plant, bring it over and tell us what you would like in it.

Our terrace garden to the east of the market is still a work in progress, so we apologize for the pile of materials in the corner of our parking lot. However, we think you will love the final result, especially as the plants start to fill!

Another family milestone:  My Mother’s Day is even more special this year as my son Chad graduated last weekend from the University of Michigan’s Business School. Chad has worked here most summers and is a familiar face to many of you. We are so proud of him.

Congratulations, Chad!

So on behalf of everyone here at Corey Lake Orchards, we thank you for buying local and really hope to see you out this weekend or soon.

Beth

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mother’s Day Weekend Update – Bakery Reopening!

Farm & Market update from Beth: We have officially opened the market for the 2014 season. We will be open daily from 8am to 6pm and everyone is looking forward to another season.

Asparagus: Because of the cool weather, we aren’t able to pick asparagus every day yet. So, please call ahead to make sure we have it or place an order at 269-244-5690. We did pick today (May 1) and hope to pick again on Saturday (May 3). We hope to start filling larger orders soon.

Bedding plants: We have our “cold crop” plants available now which you can already plant in your garden! These include: cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, various lettuce varieties, broccoli, swiss chard, kohlrabi and onion sets. When it gets warmer, we will start bringing in the other vegetables and tomato plants.

Mother’s Day ideas: 

  •  This year, consider some of our special Mother’s Day items we are putting together. Many of our local vendors will have their items on the market on Mother’s Day Weekend, including local honey, cards, art and Ruth’s famous pecan and cashew brittle. We will also have a nice variety of flower pots and hanging baskets.
  • Why not buy Mom a “living” salad?  We will have large tomato plants for the patio or to set outside—they are already blooming, staked and some have little tomatoes on them. Pair these with one of our lettuce bowls. They’re planted with cold-tolerant greens that can be put outside now, and the lettuce can be picked and it grows back! Grab a basil plant in one of our colored pots, then add a bottle of your Mom’s favorite salad dressing and you have a healthy gift she can continue to enjoy.

    Salad bowls and tomato plants.

  • An arranged flower container for the patio or door step for Mom. Once again we will be making up special containers with flowers and herbs. Come see the many unique containers available for sale at all price ranges. If you have a container you would like us to plant, bring it over and tell us what you would like in it.

 

Bakery Update: Our bakery will open for Mother’s Day Weekend. Our first day will be Friday, May 9th. Feel free to call us to place an order so that you are sure to have what you would like for that weekend. 269-244-5690.

Baked Goods for Mom:

  • Cookies: Large flower sugar cookies, giant M&M “Monster” cookies, and Lemon
  • Pies: Apple, Blueberry, Cherry, Chocolate Cream, and Strawberry Rhubarb.
  • Also 12 Grain Bread, Whole Wheat Bread and Cinnamon Rolls