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

Broken Heart…Healed Heart…Happy Valentine’s Day

I’ve spent about ten days of the past two weeks traveling, starting January 31st with a trip to to Nashville, TN for a one-week Agritourism conference. As I was leaving for the airport, I grabbed the local paper out of the box at the end of the driveway. I saw a thick insert inside it and realized it was the annual printing of the winners of the “Best of” local awards. I knew then and there that since we hadn’t been notified, we had not won in the category of “Best Place to Buy Fruit” in Three Rivers. I tore through the pages to find the winner, and when I saw that it was a big box chain store, my heart was broken. If we aren’t serving our local community, what is our purpose? I arrived in Nashville later that night with my spirits down.

The next day, eight buses of farmers like myself headed on the road where over five days, we visited some pretty amazing farms and had two days of classroom style learning. I met some really great folks, had some fantastic local food and drink, had some down time just  for me, and got a chance to think out loud with my peers. It was exactly what I needed.

Upon my return, I read the summary of the survey we invited you all to participate in–still on a positive high from my week away, I read the many wonderful comments from all of you. My heart was restored along with my energy and enthusiasm to give my all to this family farm–to make it not only the “Best Place to Buy Fruit,” but a one of a kind destination that gives people a happy and memorable experience. Your feedback will help guide some of the changes we hope to make this year, so we are grateful so many of you found the time to take the survey. If you haven’t taken it yet, you’re still welcome to do so – just click here. We’ll leave it up until 2/20/15.

Becca also took a work trip recently, but a little closer to home! She spent four days in Chicago at CiderCon, a national conference on all things hard cider. Though she commented she feels all February conferences should be held in New Orleans or possibly Hawaii, she came back ready to brew. So you may anticipate the addition of more hard ciders and fruit wines this season too.

For those of you in Three Rivers, please come celebrate Winterfest downtown on 2/14! Patti and Michaela will be entering World Fare‘s “Chocolate Affair” contest, and there’s plenty more to do in case eating chocolate desserts isn’t enough for you. We also want to give a shout out to our farm’s beekeeper (also Becca’s mom/Beth’s sister/farm helper) Charlotte Hubbard who discussed her love of bees in this week’s Three Rivers Commercial-News.

This is normally the week we start up the greenhouse, but we are waiting on this next cold snap to be finished so we can safely get the tomato plants from Schram’s greenhouse in Portage back to the farm.  We are still on track for the first BLT of the year in about 100 days!

Beth and Becca and everyone at Corey Lake Orchards, stay warm!!

Just a few of the hundreds of pictures Beth took while in Tennessee:

Enjoyed touring their gift shops, cider mill, winery, restaurant and bakery

Enjoyed touring their gift shops, cider mill, winery, restaurant and bakery

Southern hospitality and "good eatins" like these homemade fried apple pies and homemade ice cream was abundant

Southern hospitality and “good eatins” like these homemade fried apple pies and homemade ice cream was abundant

We made a side stop in Gatlinburg to visit the moonshine distilleries.  This blue flame 128 proof couldn't put a candle to my  Dad's original 120 proof apple brandy!

We made a side stop in Gatlinburg to visit the moonshine distilleries. This blue flame 128 proof couldn’t put a candle to my dad’s original 120 proof apple brandy!

Really enjoyed the great antiques displayed at so many of the farms we stopped at.

Really enjoyed the great antiques displayed at so many of the farms we stopped at.