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

The Smells of Summer: Fresh Sweet Corn, Newly Dug Onions, Vine-Ripe Melon, and Peach Pie

August is the month where the market starts to “burst at the seams” as we try to find spots to put out the produce that comes in each day. The medley of bright colors, smells, textures, shapes and sizes of the summer bounty adorns the market. If you can’t find something you’re looking for, just ask, as it may just be in a different spot than it was last time you were here.

Conventionally-grown produce available at the market: 

  • Apples, Jersey Mac and Lodi  (more info below)
  • Blueberries (more info below)
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cantaloupe, (added a new variety this year called “sugar cube”, they are personal size melons for 1!)
  • Cucumbers
  • Cut Flowers
  • Green Beans, Picked or U-Pick
  • Onions, very sweet and red, white and yellow varieties
  • Peaches (more info below)
  • Peppers! Bell Peppers, Sweet Banana Peppers, and Hot Hungarian Peppers
  • PotatoesYukon Gold, Red Norland and Adirondack Blue
  • Summer Squash and Spaghetti Squash
  • Sweet Corn (now available by the bushel as well)
  • Tomatoes (still from the greenhouse, no field tomatoes yet (more info below)
  • Zucchini
Cathy putting out the new variety of cantaloupe we are growing called "'Sugarcube"

Cathy putting out the new variety of cantaloupe we are growing called “‘Sugarcube”

Peaches: Finally we are picking our small crop of Red Haven peaches. Hooray! Only about half of our Red Haven peach trees have any fruit on them, so we will only be able to sell them in small eating quantities: one-quart box for $4, a two-quart box for &7.50 and possibly some pecks (price is to be determined).  We will be picking them tomorrow (Friday 8-7) and thus, hope to have them that afternoon and over the weekend. After we sell these Red Havens, there will be a gap until our next variety ripens.

Lodi Apples: They are all harvested and in our cooler, so this is the end of them. This variety makes a delightful tart applesauce and can be used in pies, breads and other recipes. Summer apples are not “keepers” so once you get this apple, you want to refrigerate it and use it soon. They are priced at: $20 a bushel, $12 a half-bushel, $7 a peck, or a half-peck bag for $4. We’ll also have samples for those of you who want to try this mouth-puckering apple.

Picked and U-pick blueberries continue: 10-pound boxes: $25, 5-pound boxes: $13.50, quarts: $5 or pints: $3.00. The blueberry variety is now Draper, which is a nice large, sweet berry that keeps very well, coming from Brookside Farms in Paw Paw, Michigan.  For picking your own blueberries, we would recommend Brookside Farms as a great place to go.  Their phone number is 269-657-3500 or find them online at:  http://brooksidefarmsmi.com/.    We have a few of our last variety left (Jersey’s, which is a very small but popular berry). If you are already here and want to try to pick a few, let us know.

Tomatoes: Tomatoes are going to be in short supply for a while as our greenhouse tomatoes are ending and our field tomatoes are simply not turning red. As many of you know, my Dad prided himself on having the first tomatoes in the state ready, looks like now we might get an award for the latest tomatoes ever. We are taking orders for bushels of tomatoes, both firsts and seconds, and we will call you when they begin to come in – 269-244-5690. We will have U-Pick tomatoes when they get ripe…which they eventually did last year so we assume they will this year. We will continue to update you, meanwhile patience is appreciated.

Naturally grown produce from Becca: Looking for lettuce? It’s in the pop cooler! With the summer heat, I’ve begun sticking a lot of my greens in there, as well as carrots and occasionally some other things. As always, my produce is grown with organic standards in mind without synthetic chemicals. If you want, call ahead and we’ll set some aside for you as often we sell out fast – 269 244 5690.

  • Green Beans from the hoophouse, $3/lb., last ones of the season as I pulled the plants to seed fall and winter produce!
  • Bell Peppers ($1/each), Jalapeno Peppers ($0.25/each), and Capperino Peppers (5/$1) from the hoophouse. These are like pimento (pimiento) peppers, just smaller. Great for shish kebabs, stuffing and pickling. Slightly spicy. though much less spicy than jalapenos.
  • Big Beef Slicer Tomatoes ($2.50/lb.), and a few Heirloom Tomatoes. I also have boxes of Plum Tomatoes which are sort of like a cross between a Roma and a Slicer…slicer flavor and texture but smaller and with few seeds.
  • Red Russian, Curly, Siberian and Tuscan Kale, $3/half lb. bag.
  • Lettuce. After this weekend, lettuce may be in short supply until fall plantings come in.
  • Carrots, $3/lb. for large carrots and $1.50/lb. for small carrots. I grow several varieties, including yellow and white carrots! They are all very sweet. Carrots are a surprising amount of work to grow, but every time I bite into a fresh carrot, it seems worth it. The flavor is just outstanding.
  • Basil from the hoophouse and from the field, $1/bag or loose for $1/oz. Now is the time to order basil for pesto if you want it. Please call ahead with how much you’d like so we can make a bag for you. 269 244 5690.

The u-pick herb garden is open for u-pick at $1/bag, look for the bags and scissors hanging on the large bird overlooking the garden. Bring your recipes and pick them fresh! We know some of you just want to get your herbs already picked, so we are going to try to have some of the more popular herbs available picked and ready.

Brandy is available as is Cherries Jubilant Hard Cider and Kaiser Cyser (the traditional name for an apple-honey wine). Kaiser Cyser is a very strong-bodied wine, best served chilled. Both the cider and the cyser are now about ten months old. We will have open tasting at the market from 1pm-3pm on Saturday for people who would like to sample.

Other Local Products:

  • Thick Greek-style yogurt
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Cards
  • Pecan and Cashew Brittle
  • Honey and Maple Syrup
  • Michigan made chips
  • Michigan-made Sanders Dark Chocolate Fruit Dip
  • Gift items

With our previous meat supplier, Drakes, unable to supply us, we are going to take the winter to find a new supplier, so we will not have meat for the rest of this year. Our deepest apologies. There is a lot of regulation around this to ensure consumer safety, and we want to make sure we get you high quality products.

From the Bakery:  Our update will be brief this week as with the news of peach pie finally available, there really is nothing more to add! This weekend in the bakery we will also have:

  • Donuts: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Cherry, Buttermilk and Blueberry.  
  • Fruit Pies: Peach, Apple, Blueberry,  Cherry Berry, Cherry, Strawberry Rhubarb, and Rhubarb
  • Specialty Pies: Fresh Blueberry Glaze
  • Cookies: Zucchini-Chocolate Chip, Cut Out, Monster, Lemon, Peanut Butter, Ginger Molasses and Chocolate Crinkles
  • Bread: Blueberry-Zucchini, Cinnamon, Whole Wheat, Vegetable, Honey Oatmeal, Italian, Whole Grain, Tuscan, and Hamburger Buns/Hot Dog Buns
  • Cinnamon Rolls and Sticky Buns
  • Muffins: Double Dutch Chocolate, Cherry-Almond, Pistachio, Wildberry, Raisin Bran, and Lemon-poppy seed
  • Dessert Bars: Cream Cheese Cookie, Caramel Brownie, Mississippi Mud, Tiramisu, Lemon, Chocolate Truffle, Peanut Butter Mousse Brownie, Chocolate Caramel Mousse Brownie
  • Frozen Slushies: Welch’s White Grape/Peach or our own Apple Cider
 Fruit Outlook: 
  • Watermelon: mid to late August
  • Plums: Some eating varieties around mid- August, but the Stanley prune plums probably the last week of August. If you would like some of these to can, please call us and get added to our list, we’ll call you when they are ready. (269-244-5690)
  • Pears: late August, probably the last week. Please call to get on our Bartlett pear bushel list (269-244-5690)
  • Apples: Fall apples probably mid to late September (Earli-Blaze apples sooner)
  • Grapes: mid to late September

Happenings on the farm this week:

Thank you to the family who donated some great little trucks, tractors, and wagons to our new corn crib area (still trying to find the corn). For all of the little ones who have asked this week if they can play with them, the answer is of course!

We hosted our friends from Camp Tavor who did their annual bike ride from Chicago to the camp across the lake from us.


The USDA’s farm service team was back again this week to conduct more training on the farm, using their new GPS backpack technology.

The Farm Service Agency team measuring our sweet corn field with back pack GPS

The Farm Service Agency team measuring our sweet corn field with back pack GPS

It’s National Farmers Market Week.  So here is a huge thank you to Becca and her Mom for all they do to get our baked goods and produce to  the Texas Township Farmers Market on Tuesday.  Also, our thanks to Rob V and the team from The Huss Project (and *culture is not optional) for taking our baked goods and produce to the Thursday Three Rivers Farmers Market.  Last, a thank you to the many customers who find us at the farmers market and also come visit us at our farm location.

With so many items to harvest, this is our main activity each day. Because we pick everything fresh for the day, the dedicated crew brings in multiple loads each morning. Right now the afternoons are spent beginning to harvest the 45,000 onion sets we planted. Each onion is pulled, bundled together and then tied.  Then we hang them in the market and the “onion barn.” The purpose of this is to cure them so they will keep for a long time (usually 4 – 5 months.)   Once they dry in 2 – 3 weeks, we will pull them back down and bag them. You are welcome to buy them by the bunch and hang them in your own dry area to finish drying if you would like.

A load of onions coming in to be hung

A load of onions coming in to be hung

Yesterday I hung the onions on the market. The pungent smell and dirt flying in my face as I lifted them onto the same nails that have been there for 40 some years, brought back memories of hanging them with Dad. When Dad harvested the onions, he commandeered  a large crew and set out on a mission to “get the job done.”  They would harvest most of the day, then bring in truck loads by mid afternoon. The crew would have two fork lifts going across the market and would be hanging them at a feverish pace,  with dirt and onion skins flying, oblivious to the customers trying to shop who quickly figured out they better stay out of the way!

Then there was Mom, cringing at the level of activity decimating her orderly market.  I don’t recall any customer being upset about the mess on those afternoons, in fact, they were actually quite fascinated to watch the market be transformed. For Dad, harvest was the priority, for Mom, it was always about the customers and the market. While their two missions may have seemed in conflict on onion-hanging days, in reality they were the same. For Dad, growing and harvesting a worthy crop was all about the customer, despite his methods of getting it on the market!

I choose to hang the onions a bit differently. Several of the market clerks help me do a section at a time, we use a small step stool instead of a noisy lift truck, and we clean up as we go, very mindful of the customers in the area! We try not to hang a bundle where someone’s head will knock into it. In continuing my parent’s legacy, I have had to take on both of their roles. We all work very hard to please our customers and we hope that it shows.

As always, everyone at Corey Lake Orchards thanks you for buying local. Hope to see you out at the farm soon.