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

U-Pick Grapes, U-Pick Apples, Cider, Dumplings, and Spookley…

We are loving this weather and delighted that the weather people have told us it will be here through the weekend. It will be a great few days to be out on the farm. Here’s what we will have this weekend.

Summer vegetables are winding down as fall produce fills the market. We still are picking some of these daily, but not huge quantities: zucchini, summer squash, cabbage, peppers (many kinds), kale (red Russian, Tuscan, and curly from Becca’s garden), eggplant, brussels sprouts, black beans and herbs.

We have lots of fall squash now: acorn, butternut, buttercup, spaghetti squash, and heart of gold. Sage bundles are ready for those who want them. $1 for small bundles and $2 for large bundles. Fall cauliflower is here–huge and beautiful.

Apple cider is here! Our cider is not pasteurized or treated in any way–just pure squeezed apples! It has been flying off the shelf so we have already adjusted our pressing cycle to make it on demand….but…there is a chance we might run out in any given day, so always feel free to call us to make sure we have it before you drive out.  269-244-5690.

Picked Tomatoes: Tomatoes are slowing down with the cool weather and we are no longer taking orders for bushels of tomatoes. We will continue to have them for sale by the pound until the first frost.

U-Pick Tomatoes: The U-Pick tomato field is open 8 to 6 daily, you can pick your own for $14 a bushel. It will be open until the first frost. You do not need to call ahead to come as we have gotten through everyone on the list who signed up for U-Pick – please just come to the market to check in. We appreciate everyone’s patience this year with tomato picking as we had to work through the weather issues. The tomatoes are really beautiful this year.

Fall Ornamentals: Pumpkins, gourds, specialty pumpkins, rainbow corn and popcorn, and small hay bales are ready for your fall decorating. Diane’s famous painted pumpkins are on the market too.

Diane's famous painted pumpkins are here

Diane’s famous painted pumpkins are here

Potatoes: We have white, red, and the russet baking potatoes on the market. We’ve harvested all our potatoes for the year, so they are now available by the bushel for your fall/winter use. They are $20 a bushel, which  makes them less than 50 cents a pound. Bring containers to put bushels in, preferably crates or something similar so air can circulate through.

Bagged onions: Our sweet candy onions (red and yellow) and our white superstar onions have now been cleaned and bagged. They have been dried and cured and will keep for you. Shallots and special cipollini cooking onions are also available.

This weekend in the bakery we will have:

  • Pies: apple, blueberry, cherry, cherry berry, pear, pecan, fresh pumpkin
  • Apple Dumplings
  • Cookies: apple and lady-bug cut outs, monster (oatmeal, m&m’s and peanut butter), oatmeal raisin, lemon
    Bread: whole wheat, cinnamon, vegetable.
    Cinnamon rolls and sticky buns.
    Donuts: apple, buttermilk, pumpkin.
    Slushies: apple cider and white grape peach.

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

A note from the bakersApple Dumplings are here! Starting this weekend we will have apple dumplings available in the bakery. We take a whole Cortland apple, peel it, core it, and wrap it in our pie dough. We then bake the apples in pans with our special cinnamon caramel sauce. Fall is the only time we can make them and they are wonderful! We will have apple dumplings available every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday now thru Fall Color Tour (October 12).  Reminder that we have our Northern Spy frozen apple pies on special since it is apple season….you can buy three large pies for $25. Stock up for the winter. See you this weekend! -The Bakers

It was very hard to not go get a spoon when the apple dumplings came out of the oven today

It was very hard to not go get a spoon when the apple dumplings came out of the oven today!

We put plenty of apples in our pie--after the crust that is the next best part.

Apples pies ready to go in the oven…We put plenty of apples in our pie–after the crust that is the next best part!

Picked grapes:  We are taking orders for bushels of picked grapes, they are $20 a bushel, please call the market at 269-244-5690 to order them.

Concord grapes--looking good for picking over the next several weeks.

Concord grapes–looking good for picking over the next several weeks.

U-Pick grapes:  we will open for U-Pick on Sunday, September 28th, for  both the white Niagara and the purple Concord.

  • Picking hours:  Our picking hours are 8 am to 6 pm, we ask that you be finished and checked out by 6, except for Tuesday and Thursdays, where we will stay open until 8 pm (please check into the market by 6pm).
  • Please check in at the main market on Corey Lake Road before you start.  You will be directed to the vineyard in which we are picking that day and be given rows to pick on.
  • Pricing:  They are 25 cents/pound to pick or if you pick over 100 pounds, they are 20 cents/pound. A 5-gallon bucket filled to the top weighs approximately 20 pounds which is also equivalent to a half bushel.
  •  If you pick over 100 pounds of grapes, that is $4 a bucket (20 cents/lb)
  • If you pick less than 100 pounds, it is $5 a bucket (25 cents/lb).
  • Sugar Content:  When the grapes were tested on 9-23, the Concords’ sugar solid was at 13.2 and the Niagaras’ was at 14.8. Both of these will have gone up by the time we open on Sunday–but the bottom line is: yes, they have plenty of sugar and are sweet.

When you come to pick grapes, please bring the following if you have them:

  • Five gallon buckets to pick in, this is how we measure how much you pick instead of having to weigh them all. If you don’t have these, you can borrow ours, but bring containers to take them home in.  You can also purchase pails from us for $4.00.
  • Scissors or clippers to cut them with.
  • Small wagons to help you get them out of the vineyard (our rows are very long!)

How is the crop and how long will the grapes last? We have around 50 acres of grapes for U-Pick this year and think they will last up until the first hard frost, that depends of course on the weather and how many customers we have. If you want white Niagara grapes, we would encourage you to come earlier than later, as we have only 1 block of those for picking.

Why can’t I smell the grapes this year? For those of you who have been coming here annually, you know that one of the most wonderful things about coming to the market during the fall….is that extraordinary sweet aroma from our vineyards. The reason it isn’t wafting through the breeze is that most of the white grapes around our market we lost due to the winter injury–no grapes, no smell. However, if you are picking apples, you will smell the grapes once you get there, and of course when you are picking grapes–you can immerse yourself in that wonderful aroma.

Apple pricing for the year: Our apple pricing will be the same as last year, and is the same for picked apples or u-pick apples. With the exception of a few special varieties (like Honeycrisp) apples will be: $24 a bushel**, $13 a half-bushel, $7 a peck (1/4 of a bushel), $4 a half-peck, $2 a 1/4 peck and $1.00 a pound.  **When we have bushels available. Please see apple update at the bottom or visit our official page here.

U-Pick apples:  We are open 8 to 6 daily for U-Pick apples. The varieties you can  pick now are: Red and Golden Delicious,  Cameo, Fuji and Northern Spies. Please realize that when you go out to the U-Pick orchards and see so many tree with no apples, some trees that have died, plus some with few apples, that this is due to the severe winter followed by a May 15th frost. It impacted some varieties severely.  We will continue to mark trees which still have good picking to ensure you have a good picking experience and on weekends our orchard guide, George, is there to help you find what you are looking for.

Picked Apples on the market.

  • Gala is a great eating and cooking apple.  It has a crisp snappy bite over a mellow sweetness.
  • Jon-A-Mac:  This is a good cooking or eating apple.  It has all of the best qualities of a Jonathan apple and a McIntosh.  Hurry, we only have a few of these left
  • Cortland:  This is an old fashioned apple which is excellent for baking.  It is a descendent of the McIntosh, but a bit sweeter,  it also juices well.   Hurry, we only have a few of these left
  • Honeycrisp:  This seems to be many people’s favorite, it is crisp with an excellent sweet flavor and a “bite” to it.  Great for eating fresh or using in salads.  We will have these off and on as we pick them during the season, so feel free to call ahead before you come out.
  • Jonathan:  A very popular apple for fresh eating and cooking.  It has a spicy tangy flavor, a favorite for making apple butter or taffy apples.
  • Cameo:  A firm-textured, crisp and sweet tart apple.  Great for snacking or baking and is an outstanding dessert apple.  Keeps well in coldest part of refrigerator.  We are only picking a few of these as they ripen, so they are not available by the bushel yet.
  • Fuji: This is an apple with sweet and tart flavor, with a low acid content.  It is a very good keeper.  We are only picking a few as these begin to ripen, so they are not available by the bushel yet. 
  • Northern Spy:  This is an antique apple that cooks up well in applesauce, pie and other dishes…..very popular for apple pie.
  • Golden Delicious:  A gingery-smooth, sweet taste lies under a thin skin.  Great for applesauce, cider, pies or other desserts. We are only picking a few of these as they ripen, so they are not available by the bushel yet.
  • Gone for the year:  Ginger Gold, Macintosh, Mollies Delicious, Earliblaze and Jonagold.

Pumpkins: We have lots of pumpkins for sale, ranging from huge to small, but this year we have moved them to the parking lot area to make it easier for you to take to your car.  You can’t miss them, right beside the vineyard and in front of the old white truck.

The Spookley Storybook:  Please check out our large storybook about Spookley the square pumpkin in the yard by the farmhouse.  There are 12 storyboards to walk children through.  It is a wonderful story about a pumpkin that grows square instead of round, gets teased and bullied because he is different, than something happens on the farm where Spookley ends up saving all of the pumpkins—and we won’t give the rest of the story away. This story has some great teachable moments about how all of us need to value the unique and different qualities that individuals have.

Photo opportunities:  There is no lack of places to take your fall photos, but here are a couple of places set up just to get the group photo….

Ultra large pumpkins, squash and watermelon grown by Keith Whitford--no wonder he took first place at this year's fair.

Ultra large pumpkins, squash and watermelon grown by Keith Whitford–no wonder he took first place at this year’s fair.

Will your kids pose as still as Denim did for a picture??

Will your kids pose as still as Denim did for a picture??

Happenings on the farm this week: Unfortunately, our farm was the victim of a theft this week. Many of you have called, stopped by or emailed to tell us how sorry you are about that–we appreciate your thoughts and concern. It is unfortunate that all of us live in a world where these things continue to occur. Two of our ATV utility vehicles were taken which we use for the U-Pick grape picking to get customers and their grapes up and down the long rows—so this was very untimely with us opening this Sunday. For those of you following all of the “downs” we have had this year due to crop losses due to the weather, this one sure added another blow to us.

Remember those words I shared with you in last week’s update:  “Farming is about the most unpredictable thing you can venture into—so you have to be able to embrace change, be very flexible and let nothing surprise you! ” This surprise went from shock and disbelief, to some anger and real discouragement. Yes, your words of encouragement and ongoing support are a wonderful help right now for all of us here as we begin the final home stretch of our fall season! We’re grateful for all the kindness our customers have shown us this week.

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