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

Monthly Archive: November 2014

Thanksgiving Pies, Hard Cider, and Early Winter

Happenings on the farm: We finished getting apples trimmed and pruned for the season today, which means we’re now moving full speed ahead on Concord grape trimming (Niagara grape trimming begins in January when the vines have gone truly dormant). This will take most of the next month, and if you drive by, you’ll see us hard at work, snow, rain, or shine.

Thanksgiving pie pick up: Pick up day is Wednesday, 11/26, from 8am to 4pm. If you still need to order Thanksgiving pies, please contact us ASAP and we’ll fit you in! Your pies will be ready for you with friendly smiles from our bakery staff (we have missed you!). You are also welcome to buy brandy, wine, and hard cider while the bakery is open on 11/26 (or by appointment any day, just call us at 269 244 5690 to set up a time).

Hard cider? Becca has brought her homebrewing experience to our winery and distillery, making 400+ gallons of hard cider, mead, cyser (a mead/hard cider blend), apple wine, and cider vinegar to add to our market. She’s made two brews ready for this winter, both of which will be available starting Wednesday:

owlsomen   snowlinepreview

-Owl’s Omen, a traditional dry hard cider, made without any added sulfites
-Snowline Cider, a semi-dry hard cider with light spicing

Read more here. Both ciders come in standard 12oz bottles, $2.50 each or $13/6 pack. There’s a growing interest in hard cider, so for those of you who are new to it, Becca offers this primer:

Hard cider was the beverage of choice of Western European settlers, and was an immensely popular table beverage across the United States until the 1800s, at which point it slowly declined in popularity, finally nearly disappearing with Prohibition.

Hard cider is to apples what wine is to grapes: if you expect it to taste like apples, you may be in for some news! Newcomers to craft cider are often surprised that it doesn’t taste exactly like alcoholic apple juice. A lot of the misconception comes from the flavor profiles offered by big hard cider brands, which nearly universally utilize chemical flavorings, sugar, artificial carbonation, and other stuff to ensure an apple juice flavor and a perfectly clear product. Craft ciders, like craft beers and wines, are made differently, and vary immensely in flavor and style.

Having enjoyed craft and commercial cider from the USA, Spain, England, Wales, France, Austria, Argentina, and Chile, I really like the variation and hope to offer that at our market. Cider comes in the full range of sweet, semi-dry, or dry, and sparkling or still. Try what you can, here and at other small cideries, and get a sense of what you like. If you’re worried about sugar, it’s best to go for a semi-dry or dry cider, since sweet cider often has a full tablespoon (or two) of residual sugar. Like commerical wines, craft cider usually has added sulfites, though this depends on the cidermaker or cider variety.

Like craft beer, craft cider can be bottle conditioned, meaning some carbonation or intentional aging occurs in the bottle. It is often unpasteurized and should be kept in a dark cool place. When you buy a bottle or a six-pack of hard cider from us, Becca will send along a little information on the variety you bought so you know what considerations you should have. All of the ingredients are clearly listed on our labels.

Stay tuned for cherry, pear, plum, and peach ciders – made with Corey Lake Orchards produce! – which we will offer next year.

From all of us here at the farm, we’re hoping you are staying warm and keeping up with the snow shoveling!

Isn't it a little too early for this?

Isn’t it a little too early for this?!

Happy November

Since we closed on October 24th we have seen it all: a few beautiful summer days last weekend followed by Friday’s snow! With this year’s strange weather (and Michigan’s climate in general) pretty much nothing surprises us.

It's hard to get used to the closed sign being up every day....we miss our customers

It’s hard to get used to the closed sign being up every day….we miss our customers

Just a reminder that even though the market is closed, you are welcome to call us at (269) 244-5690 if you’d like to place Thanksgiving pie orders or purchase brandy and wine.

How did we spend our first few days off? Taking advantage of the weather to work outdoors of course! With un-harvested mums still in the field, my “can’t waste” mindset overcame me and before I knew it, I has transplanted mums in front of the parking lot! They look pretty! Too bad none of you are here to see them…

Bringing in a load of freshly dug mums from the field

Bringing in a load of freshly dug mums from the field

Raking, sweeping, cleaning, stacking, and organizing overtook everyone as we attacked the market, barns, back buildings, and the cold storage, putting baskets, boxes, signs and pretty much a little of everything away that had gotten tossed aside during our busy season.

Becca raked leaves into a pile at the surface of the slide....but with no little customers around there was no one to jump into them!!

Becca raked leaves into a pile at the bottom of the slide….but with no little customers around there was no one to jump into them!!

As the weather was predicting the first real freeze for the year on Halloween —it took a small crew to scramble and get everything winterized: the irrigation system, shut off wells not being used during the winter, and blow out all of the water lines we have at the market, gardens, cider mill, etc. A big thanks to Jay for walking us one more time through the maze of waterlines we have to get through to get the job done.

Apple orchard pruning continued–making great progress and the Northern Spy orchard is now complete.

Brush piled neatly between the trimmed rows ready to be moved.

Brush piled neatly between the trimmed rows ready to be moved.

The grapes are so easy to see now that the frost has hit the leaves and they have fallen….plus another job almost complete–picking up all of the cones we use to mark the grapes for U-Pick….thanks, George.

Uh--now we can see where someone missed picking a bunch of grapes!

Uh–now we can see where someone missed picking a bunch of grapes!

On Tuesday, nine of us went to visit farms and markets in the Grand Rapids area. Our early closing this year allowed us a rare opportunity to get out and visit other farm operations while they were still open. Our mission was to stop at as many places as possible, shamelessly steal good ideas, and of course, indulge in the edible delights of their farm (cider, fudge, bread, cookies, donuts and wine tasting, oh my!). We thank all of our gracious hosts who stepped away from their busy farms for a bit to show us around and share their experiences. We came back enthusiastic about some things we saw that we may want to try out at Corey Lake Orchards and felt good knowing we had further stimulated the Michigan farm economy as our two cars laden with fresh produce, baked goods and gifts arrived back in Three Rivers.

Cathy buying produce at Brechting Farms

Cathy buying produce at Brechting Farms

 

Jan with the big pumpkin

Jan with the big pumpkin

 

Sandy found some nice sized carrots

Sandy found some nice sized carrots

Teri practically brought them out of these beautiful brussel sprouts

Teri practically bought them out of these beautiful brussel sprouts

We had a delightful lunch following our tour of Robinette's

We had a delightful lunch following our tour of Robinette’s