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

Monthly Archive: June 2014

End of June Update

Another month gone and when June leaves, it takes strawberries with it.  We are grateful for the wonderful strawberry season we had that was around for most of June.  The 3 inches of rain we got this week took its toll on them, but thankfully came as they were just ending.  Our last day for U-Pick strawberries will be Friday, June 27th from 8 until 11.  We will try to pick Friday and Saturday to have some for the weekend.  It will be hard for all of us to wait another year for strawberries!

Everyone is asking “what’s next?”  Normally we would be just starting to pick sweet cherries, but due to the severe winter and the May frost we lost 95% of our sweet cherry crop. The 5% we had left have been enjoyed by the birds and unfortunately, the rain this week made what was left crack and split.

U-Pick Sour Cherries:   We do have a fairly good crop of tart cherries this year, we lost some to the frost but not all. We will open the Sour cherries for U-Pick on Sunday, June 29th. The type of tart cherry we grow is Montmorency.  They are typically used for pies, tarts, or making jelly, but some people like to eat them and enjoy their tartness. Becca especially likes to eat them frozen.

  • Pricing: $1.00 per pound to pick, 75 cents per pound for 50 pounds or over
  • U-Pick Hours:  8 – 6 daily, please be finished picking by 5:45 pm to be back to the market by 6pm.
  • We will be open each day until they are gone. (Maybe a week? Depends on how many people come out to pick.)
  • The sour cherry trees are about 10 – 20 feet tall. For good picking, you should bring your own ladder.
  • Be sure to dress appropriately (closed shoes, long pants and sleeves) as you many run into poison ivy or prickly plants in the orchard area, among other hazards.
  • Please bring your own containers. We have buckets you may borrow to pick in, then you can transfer to your own containers (bowls, tubs, buckets, etc.)
  • Check in at the market first for directions and to weigh the containers you are picking in.

Summer vegetables:  We are supplementing the market right now with produce purchased from local growers in Indiana, whose growing season is a touch ahead of ours.  Right now in the market we have cucumbers, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, summer squash, red potatoes, onions, cabbage, lettuce and peas. We are mixing this with produce that’s starting to come in out of our own fields.

This weekend in the bakery we will have:   

  • Pies: apple, blueberry, cherry,  choco-butter (chocolate/peanut butter), rhubarb,  strawberry rhubarb, banana cream, and coconut cream. 
  • Cookies: frog and flower shaped cut outs, monster (oatmeal, choc chips, m&m’s and peanut butter) zucchini chocolate chip (Beth’s favorite!!) and lemon.
  • Bread: 12 grain, whole wheat, cinnamon.
  • Cinnamon rolls and sticky buns.
  • Donuts: blueberry, buttermilk, and cherry.
  • Slushies: Apple cider and white grape cherry.
  • If you would like to reserve any baked goods please call us at (269) 244-5690.

A final note from the bakers: This weekend in the bakery we will have two new pies: Banana Cream, and Coconut Cream. We have had a lot of people ask for these in the past, to which we would answer “but we don’t grow bananas or coconut!” So what’s the exception this year? With fruit in short supply this year we are trying to make all of our own fruit we froze last year stretch to as many pies all year as possible! So come on out this weekend and try a banana cream or coconut cream pie. You never know, you may just find a new favorite!

See you this weekend!– The Bakers

Update from Becca: Back from my week away! Reflecting upon my weedy garden, I thought, well, the only natural ecosystems with swaths of bare ground are deserts and rocky cliff sides and mountains, so I won’t worry about too many of these weeds. Snow peas and sugar peas coming in, kohlrabi on its way out. Still going strong are kale, chard, lettuce, cilantro, basil, radishes, and some other greens, as well as the u-pick herb garden.

I’m starting to see my first jalapeno, bell, and cayenne peppers. The predatory beetles and bees abound in my buckwheat. I’m hoping my tomatoes ripen up soon! (And I also hope that the kids going down the slide continue to stop before they catapult straight into my several rows of tomatoes. Kids have been awesome so far, but one of these days I’m afraid it’ll happen…) I’m crossing my fingers for some carrots and callaloo soon. As always, call ahead if you want anything special from the yarden set aside for you.

So everyone at Corey Lake Orchards thanks you for buying local and we hope to see you soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Late June Update

Asparagus is now gone for the seasonSo sad, we will have to wait another year to have it fresh again.  Greenhouse tomatoes and cucumbers are in short supply for a few weeks as our greenhouse production has dropped down.  So just be aware we tend to sell out of these early most days.  We will have fresh greens available, lettuce and kale.

Strawberry season is winding down, we anticipate having U-Pick go through Wednesday June 25th.  We will open the U-Pick field from 8 am until 11 am on Thursday, 6-26 and Friday, 6-27, however, we will no longer be assigning rows.  It will essentially be “pick where you can find them.”  We hope to have some picked berries in the market through June 28th, all of this depending on the weather.    We are no longer taking orders for flats of strawberries.   As the week goes on, best to call to see what the berry situation is before coming.

We have loved how many people have come out to pick berries this week, so many new families, we hope you had a great time.  (We’d love to have you share your pictures on our facebook page—-and we saw all of you taking them so we know you have them!!)

 Picked strawberries are available on the market for $3.25 a quart.

U-Pick strawberries:

  • Location is on AL Jones Road close to M60 by the old barn
  • U-pick strawberry pricing will be $1.75  quart.
  •  There is about 1.5 pounds in a quart of strawberries
  • Please bring  quart containers if you have them. If not, you may borrow ours for picking and bring your own containers (bowls, tubs, etc.) to get the strawberries home.
  • We will open the field at 8:00 am and it will remain open until we are picked out or until 12:00 pm daily
  • We are offering two afternoon picking options this year: Mondays and Wednesdays from 4 pm to 6 pm
  • We plan to open each day weather permitting, closing only for berries to ripen if the weather turns cold. If we close the field for ripening, we will make that decision the day before, so please call us the day/night before you plan to come to make sure we are picking that day. For safety, we will close the field during lightning or a thunderstorm.

Strawberry picking is a great learning experience for kids!

Cherries:  There will not be any U-Pick sweet cherries this year as we lost 95% of our crop with the winter freeze.  We are investigating trying to get some from another farm and will let you know if we are able to.    We have about 60% of our tart cherry crop and we will have those available when they are ready for U-Pick.  Please check back about June 27th for an update and pricing.

This weekend in the bakery we will have:   

  • Pies: apple, blueberry, blueberry rhubarb, cherry, chocolate,  choco-butter (chocolate/peanut butter), peanut butter, rhubarb,  strawberry rhubarb, and fresh strawberry glaze.
  • Cookies: frog shaped cut outs, monster (oatmeal, choc chips, m&m’s and peanut butter) chocolate chip, and lemon.
  • Bread: 12 grain, whole wheat, cinnamon.
  • Cinnamon rolls and sticky buns.
  • Donuts: blueberry, buttermilk, and cherry.
  • Slushies: Apple cider and Concord grape.
  • Homemade shortcakes to use with your  fresh strawberries
  • If you would like to reserve any baked goods please call us at (269) 244-5690.

A final note from the bakers: For the past two weeks, we have been very busy washing, hulling, and freezing strawberries to use all summer and next spring for our pies. They have been absolutely incredible this year, juicy, sweet, and of course tasty! Unfortunately all good things must come to an end, and this may be the last weekend for fresh strawberries, which also means it may be the last weekend for fresh strawberry glaze pies. So come on out this weekend and get one while they are still here! See you this weekend!– The Bakers

Happenings on the farm this week.  We absolutely loved the rain (maybe not the wind….) we got almost an inch this week.  It rejuvenated our crops and prevented us from having to irrigate.  It also allowed us to more easily pull weeds–a daily activity here it seems.  No update from Becca this week as she had the week off, however, as most of you have noticed, she will have many weeds to deal with upon her return.  We are at one of those “awkward” stage at the farm….waiting for all of the summer vegetables to be ready to fill up the market.    The rain and heat of this past week is helping to push things along, potatoes are blooming which means we will soon have fresh dug new potatoes, our field tomato plants are big enough to be staked.

So, we hope to see you out for strawberry picking this weekend.  Everyone at Corey Lake Orchards thanks you for buying local.    Beth

The U-Pick tomato field is getting staked and tied, who has already used up their tomato and salsa supply and is just waiting for 2014’s crop??

 
The potatoes are in bloom, 6-19-14

 

A potato blossom is truly lovely

Strawberries, strawberries, strawberries……and a good Father’s Day to all!

Daughter Charlotte offers fresh honey to customers as dad Dayton Hubbard looks on, 2013.

For Father’s Day, consider an outing to the farm.  We will have U-Pick strawberries happening on Sunday morning, fresh donuts coming out of the bakery and a special beekeeping presentation at 1pm! Charlotte Hubbard is a nationally known beekeeper and speaker AND one of Dayton’s daughters! She keeps almost 40 hives on our farm and will be giving a talk that will be fun and enjoyable for kids and adults starting at 1pm on Sunday. You will have the opportunity to explore an empty hive, try on bee suits, sample honey, and more.

Asparagus will be done this weekend.  The last picking will be Friday, so we will have it until we run out.  It is always so sad to have asparagus season end and have to wait another whole year.

Greenhouse tomatoes have really slowed down.  They are now $2 a pound and we sell out quickly each day.   We also have greenhouse cucumbers, though they usually sell out pretty fast.

This weekend in the bakery we will have:   

  • Pies: apple, blueberry, blueberry rhubarb, cherry, chocolate,  choco-butter (chocolate/peanut butter), peanut butter, rhubarb,  strawberry rhubarb, and fresh strawberry glaze.
  • Cookies: frog shaped cut outs, monster (oatmeal, choc chips, m&m’s and peanut butter) and lemon.
  • Bread: 12 grain, whole wheat, cinnamon.
  • Cinnamon rolls and sticky buns.
  • Donuts: blueberry, buttermilk, and cherry.
  • Slushies: Apple cider and black cherry concord grape blend.
  • If you would like to reserve any baked goods please call us at (269) 244-5690.

A final note from the bakers: This weekend we will be offering a new pie, Strawberry Glaze.  This pie is made using our own fresh picked strawberries with a glaze mixture, topped with whipped cream.  It is a cold pie, the strawberries are not cooked, so they retain their great “just picked” flavor.  If you tried our fresh blueberry or peach glaze pies last year, it is very similar to those.  It is definitely a must try if you love strawberries!! And….we think it would make a great Father’s Day gift. We can only make this pie when strawberries are in season, so we will offer them for about 2 weeks. See you this weekend! – The Bakers

A strawberry glazed pie ready to be topped with whipped cream!

Strawberry season has finally arrived. The weather continues to be perfect for strawberry growing: cool nights and rain give them a nice size and help them ripen very evenly.

We picked a lot of beautiful strawberries today!

We are still picking our early strawberries and bringing in a lot more each day. We have filled our flat orders that we had taken, so most days we will have picked strawberry flats (8 quarts) available for you to pick up on the market.  These run $24. It is always best to call ahead to place an order, (269) 244-5690.

U-Pick strawberries:

  • Will open on Sunday, June 15th (See hours below)
  • Location is on AL Jones Road close to M60 by the old barn
  • U-pick strawberry pricing will be $1.75  quart.
  •  There is about 1.5 pounds in a quart of strawberries
  • Please bring  quart containers if you have them. If not, you may borrow ours for picking and bring your own containers (bowls, tubs, etc.) to get the strawberries home.
  • Depending  on the weather, expect strawberry picking to last 10 days to two weeks
  • Best picking is now as this week’s heat is really bringing them on.
  • However, we rotate picking in 3 fields to ensure good picking each day
  • If  you are trying to pick larger quantities of berries (over 5 cases or 80 quarts), please call us in advance and so we can try to schedule you in on a day when we have lots of berry availability. Ask to be put on our “large quantity list.” (269) 244-5690
  • We welcome customers who want to take advantage of being on a farm and enjoying the U-Pick “experience.” We know there are many families who would like to have their children understand where their food comes from and how it grows. For this group, the experience is almost more important than how many berries are picked. If you are newcomers to strawberry picking, let us know when you arrive and we will give your family information on how berries grow and show you how to pick them.

U-Pick Strawberry times:

  • We will open the field at 8:00 am and it will remain open until we are picked out or until 12:00 pm daily
  • We are offering two afternoon picking options this year: Mondays and Wednesdays from 4 pm to 6 pm
  • We plan to open each day weather permitting, closing only for berries to ripen if the weather turns cold. If we close the field for ripening, we will make that decision the day before, so please call us the day/night before you plan to come to make sure we are picking that day. For safety, we will close the field during lightning or a thunderstorm.

Update from Becca:  Out of the “yarden” this weekend: chard, kale (curly, red Russian), lettuce (romaine and salad mix), cilantro, kohlrabi, and peas. We’ll also be opening the u-pick herbs. Check this out in the large metal tub at the edge of the parking lot, smells are free!!  Bring your recipes and cut or pinch off what you need.

I’d like to take a minute to answer a question I’ve been getting a lot, usually in reference to the tall, scraggly-looking flowers. “Why the weeds?” Short answer: I like bees and complex ecosystems. Long answer:

This is a gardening practice that works like this: upon hearing the buzz of bees, cabbage loopers and slugs stop eating the leaves of my produce and drop to the ground to hide, because these pest insects associate these vibrations with the sound of predatory wasps looking for a meal.

We see weeds, and the bee sees food.

Now that early spring mustard, turnips, radishes, and arugula have gone to flower, I’m happy to report the bees have taken notice and have begun visiting my garden. As an added benefit, these flowers also attract omnivorous wasps, a lovely group of insects that feed on both insect pests and pollen (and haven’t stung me…yet).

These insects aren’t so numerous that they would scare kids playing on the slide and the swing: only when the market is quiet and I take a moment to listen do I hear the thrum of insects at work.

There are many things besides bees and wasps. I went weeding at dusk the other night and was pleasantly surprised to find ladybugs all over my bolting spinach, filling up on pollen until they can find more aphids and whiteflies to eat. While thinning seedlings, I often see ants dragging root maggots and scale insects that have become their prey back home. I find tiny, elegant spiders filling up on thrips. I’m sure there are others yet.

Of course I observe plenty of harmful insects living unencumbered in my garden, or at least I observe their effects. This year I had a terrible flea beetle problem on my arugula, so much so that I couldn’t sell it. I considered applying a pesticide, but the organic program-approved chemical I could have applied would have killed the flea beetles…and the lady beetles (ladybugs) and bees and a host of beneficial insects right along with it. With a sigh, I chose ants over arugula, and while I’m sure I now saved beneficial insects, well, I also have a whole row of weedy, hole-ridden leaves. I can only hope that nature will tilt the balance again, and that so many flea beetles will attract a large predator population.
Update from Beth:  Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads, grandfathers, stepdads and all. This Father’s Day for sure, I will be remembering Dad, like I do every day. The reminders are easy: in the beautiful greenhouse tomatoes that he potted that we pick each day or in the strawberry fields that he planted which are so laden with berries. It is a daily pleasure for all of us at Corey Lake Orchards to continue his legacy.

Have a great weekend! Everyone at Corey Lake Orchards thanks you for buying local.

June means strawberries! We pick, u-pick, and more.

Asparagus will be in season for about another week to ten days. Our asparagus field is finished for the year, but we are bringing it in from another farm in town for the rest of the season. Greenhouse tomatoes and cucumbers are really coming in now. We have a tomato special running right now on tomatoes: 3 pounds for $5.

This is what happens when we let our asparagus go to seed to replenish the field.

Lots of tomatoes!

Bedding plants and hanging baskets: We are winding down the plant season, so if you have not gotten yours for the garden yet, come soon. We have plenty of pepper, tomato, melon, and cucumber plants for sale.

This weekend in the bakery we will have:

  • Pies: apple, blueberry, blueberry rhubarb, cherry, chocolate, choco-butter (chocolate/peanut butter), peanut butter, rhubarb, and strawberry rhubarb.
  • Cookies: frog shaped cut outs, monster (oatmeal, choc chips, m&m’s and peanut butter) and lemon.
  • Bread: 12 grain, whole wheat, cinnamon.
  • Cinnamon rolls and sticky buns.
  • Donuts: blueberry, buttermilk, and cherry.
  • Brownies: frosted chocolate and turtle.
  • Slushies: Apple cider and black cherry concord grape blend.
  • If you would like to reserve any baked goods please call us at (269) 244-5690.

A final note from the bakers: This weekend we will be bringing back the ever-so-popular brownies we made last year. Also, with many customers asking us to put the peanut butter and chocolate pies into one, we created a new one: choco-butter pie. If you are in need of a serious chocolate fix this weekend, come to the bakery, we’ll be able to help!! See you this weekend. -The Bakers

June gets everyone thinking about fresh Michigan strawberries.

The first strawberries of 2014! Sold quickly on Wednesday.

Our strawberry crop looks great so far this year. The rains are helping to them to be nicely sized and the forecast for the next several weeks is the kind of weather which strawberries like (cooler nights with hot, but not too hot days). We will be picking a few quarts daily now of the early variety, quantities are very low still, so if you are trying to get some, it is best to call ahead and have us hold them for you if we have them. (269-244-5690.)

We are taking orders now for picked strawberries. Please call (269-244-5690) or email us your order and we will call you when we have them picked. Already picked strawberries will be $3.25 a quart this year or a flat of picked berries (8 quarts) is $24.00 ($3.00 a quart).

U-Pick strawberries will be starting soon! Please check back around June 11th for a better idea on when the u-pick might open.

  • U-pick strawberry pricing will be $1.75 quart. Please bring quart containers if you have them, if not, you may borrow ours for picking and bring your containers (bowls, tubs, etc.) to get the strawberries home.
  • We have doubled the size of our u-pick berry field from previous years in order to have more berries available for those who want to pick their own.
  • If you are trying to pick larger quantities of berries (over 5 cases or 80 quarts), please call us in advance and we would like to work with you to schedule you in on a day when we have lots of berry availability. Ask to be put on our “large quantity list.” 269-244-5690.
  • We welcome customers who want to take advantage of being on a farm and enjoying the U-Pick “experience.” We know there are many families who would like to have their children understand where their food comes from and how it grows. For this group, the experience is almost more important than how many berries are picked. If you are newcomers to strawberry picking, let us know when you arrive and we will give your family information on how berries grow and show you how to pick them.

U-Pick Strawberry times:

  • We will open the field at 8:00 am and it will remain open until we are picked out or until 12:00 pm daily
  • We are offering two afternoon picking options this year: Mondays and Wednesdays from 4 pm to 6 pm.
  • We plan to open each day weather permitting, closing only for berries to ripen if the weather turns cold. If we close the field for ripening, we will make that decision the day before, so please call us the day/night before you plan to come to make sure we are picking that day. For safety, we will close the field during lightning or a thunderstorm.

From Becca’s Garden:

I picked cilantro today! This will be available on the market from now on (good to pair with those greenhouse tomatoes). This weekend, I will have chard, romaine lettuce, salad mix lettuce, curly kale, red Russian Kale (like curly, but a bit sweeter), Tuscan kale (also called lacinato or dinosaur kale), and a few other things. I anticipate the herb garden should be ready for harvest within a week: basil, lemon balm, mint, thyme, lovage, and oregano are available now with the cilantro for anyone interested. The peas are blooming, the carrots are forming, and I’m a happy gardener. As the heat picks up, so do the challenges of organic garden management, but mostly things are doing well. If you would like any naturally grown produce set aside for you, please call and let us know: (269) 244-5690.

Heat tolerant Simpson lettuce is thriving right now!

The garden and the market.

Happenings on the farm this week: Wasn’t the weather truly delightful this past weekend? Maybe because of the post-winter syndrome it just seemed even better than normal. Everyone has a different way of gaging the temperature: Is it a light jacket day, can we go in the lake yet, do we run AC or not…..but on the farm, we look at growing degree days. Growing degree days (abbreviated GDD) is a way of assigning a heat value to each day. The values are added together to give an estimate of the amount of seasonal growth our crops have achieved. With the exceptional summer-like days we had last week, the growing degree days for this year have now caught us up from the cold winter and late spring…..so what that means is while we thought things would be late, the crop seasons will be about at their normal timing this year (which is probably all you really wanted to know anyways)!

45,000 onions growing strong.

This past week we spent time working on maintaining the orchards and vineyards. We do an annual vine removal from the fruit trees and a sucker removal from the bottom of the grape trunks. The last several days we have done a “crawl through” of the strawberry fields removing weeds that might have sprouted up that can get in the way of the berries ripening and harvest. All of these jobs are done manually, difficult tasks but necessary. Our sensitive cucumbers and cantaloupe plants did not like the strong winds and sun from last weekend, so this week we had to replace them all with new plants. We’re looking forward to a good melon crop this year.

New cucumber plants.

Grape suckers must be taken off this time of year to help the grapevines thrive next year.

We have loved seeing all of our customers back out at the market. Thank you so much for coming to Corey Lake Orchards for your produce and for buying local.