At the end of this long update is a note about some special events we’ll be offering this weekend: farm tours and a gardening workshop. If you’re interested in a behind-the-scenes look at the farm please make sure to scroll down and read that!
Here’s what we have available in the market right now:
Asparagus! Available at $2.25/lb. for up to 10 lb. and $2.00/lb. for orders of 10lb. or more. 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. The cool weather has slowed its growth a bit but that helps us keep up!
Rhubarb: $2.50 pound
Plants, plants and more plants: We have most of our plants in now. 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 gotten them 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.
- New starting this weekend: We will have pots of perennial flowers: Yarrow, Sweet William, Cone Flowers, Delphinium, Baby’s Breath, Daisies, Statice, Bee Balm, Rudbeckia, (Black-eyed Susans) and Salvia. We have them in many color choices! We are also planting our own in the cut flower garden.
- Flats of Vegetables include: broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, and kohlrabi
- Flats of Annuals include: asters, cosmos, gomphrena, impatients, lobelia, marigolds, morning glories, nasturtium, ornamental cabbage and 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
- Large Tomato pots for your patio, both regular and mini tomatoes
- Seed potatoes: Norland Red and Yukon Gold
- Many types of hanging flower baskets
- Lettuce Bowls
- Many herb and flower pot arrangements in unique containers
- Pepper plants: Will be here this weekend (But still early to plant given the cold)
Plants which are coming soon:
- The “vine” crops are yet to come: melons, squash and cucumbers as well as eggplant
We would recommend that you let all plants “harden up” outside for a few days before planting in the ground, as they have just left their warm greenhouse environment, especially tomatoes and flowers. Cold-crop items are fine to plant when you get home.
Greenhouse produce: We still have beautiful, large, but unfortunately still green tomatoes in the greenhouse. Some are beginning to turn red! We picked cucumbers today for the first time so they will be available as we have them. I have to confess, there was a tomato ripe this week and I have now had my first BLT! Yours will be coming soon.
Bakery offerings for the weekend will be:
- Cookies: Flower Cut-Out Sugar Cookies, Monster (chocolate chips, M&M’s peanut butter and oatmeal), Iced Lemon, Triple Berry, Peanut Butter, and Ginger Molasses
- Pies: Apple, Blueberry, Cherry, Strawberry Rhubarb and Rhubarb
- Bread: Whole Wheat, Cinnamon, Italian, Multi-Grain, and Tuscan, as well as Hamburger Buns and Hot Dog Buns
- Cinnamon Rolls and Pecan Sticky Buns
- Dessert Bars: Cream Cheese Cookie Dough, Caramel Brownie, Mississippi Mud, Tiramisu, Lemon, Chocolate Truffle, Peanut Butter Mousse Brownie, Chocolate Caramel Mousse Brownie
- Muffins: Double Dutch Chocolate, Strawberry, Pistachio, Wildberry
From Michaela: It was truly wonderful to see all of you out this past weekend! A lot of you are probably wondering why you don’t see the familiar faces in the bakery from last year. Well, we are all still here! Michaela and Patti have begun baking in the wee hours of the night (like the Keebler elves) to ensure you get the freshest baked goods possible and to ensure the shelves are stocked full each morning. Jan and Lindsay are here, but you may only see them select days until we begin to get busy again. Gene and Mikaela will also be returning this year to make those wonderful donuts you are all asking about, which will make their debut for the year on Memorial Day Weekend. Please feel free to call and order in advance at 269-244-5690.
Meat: This year we are getting meat from Drake’s Country Cuts in Cassopolis. They are a 3rd generation butcher shop currently owned by Thom and Carrie Colley, who are the hands-on owners. They have created an extensive selection of USDA-certified meat cuts and choices, which are hormone and antibiotic free. During asparagus season, one of their offerings will be asparagus brats made with our asparagus! We will continue to add meat products over the season so stay tuned for additions and new items.
Cheese: We are stocking Michigan-made cheese from Reny Picot in Benton Harbor. The varieties are: Smoked Gouda, Gouda, Brie rounds and Wedge Fontina.
Eggs are back! We will be carrying brown eggs from Sunrise Acres in Hudsonville, Michigan, which are hormone and antibiotic free.
Brandy: Brandy is available: apple (oak aged and glass-aged), cherry, pear, Niagara grape, and Concord grape. We expect to open our Saturday tastings and tours a bit later in the season.
From Becca: This year’s kale is coming in but is still limited. I’m harvesting lots of fresh lettuce right now from the hoophouse and schoolhouse. As with the kale, lettuce will be $3/half pound bag. Some radishes and baby spinach as well. The rain is helping everything grow, including the weeds! Oh well. Looking at my first green tomatoes in the hoophouse. Very exciting.
Happenings on the farm: This was the week to try to get ahead of the weeds, if that is even possible. Many hands (yes we pull weeds out of the ground the old fashioned way) worked in the blueberries, the strawberries and other plantings. Probably like in your own yard, the grass in the vineyards and orchards grew mighty tall this past week with the rain. We spent many hours mowing and we don’t feel like we made a dent.
The orchards have moved into the “petal fall” phase—on some days with the winds it seemed like it was snowing. Now we have a chance to evaluate fruit sets and so far we are pleased with what we are seeing. You will notice the vines growing back on the grape vineyards and they will be blooming soon. The blueberries are in full bloom and they are quite lovely.
The baby robins have left the nest. For those of you here the past few weeks watching the baby robins by the market area, today they tested their wings and flew away. It was fun to watch this up close!
Farm tours: We were hoping to offer a U-Pick asparagus this coming Saturday, but weather is not going to allow for that. I’m very sorry. In its place we will have mini-tours where we’ll give you an inside peek into the hoophouse, the greenhouse, and the vineyard. You will learn how our plants grow, how we care for them and how we harvest them. You may come away surprised at how much is involved, how much work there is, and how much we tend to each and every plant from the seed to harvest.
We’ll be offering tours Saturday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and Sunday: 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. Please gather at the market area at the appointed time. The tours will be about 30 minutes long (depending on any questions you may have) and will involve a small amount of walking.
Garden planning workshop on Saturday, May 16th at 2 p.m. for anyone interested in gardening basics. Becca is going to talk about planting schedules for our area, companion planting, soil management, and local garden resources. Some of you may know she used to work as an Agricultural Extension Agent so hopefully this will be a fun, approachable workshop even for people who have never planted a thing.
So on behalf of everyone here at Corey Lake Orchards, we thank you for buying local and hope to see you out this weekend or soon.