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

Eat your spinach!

Probably like you, we remain a bit perplexed and constantly surprised by the weather….and apparently so are the robins that we see in our yard and the one lonely crocus that appeared this week and…yes our fruit trees and other perennials.    We are missing our share of snow, which is an important slow-release form of the overall precipitation that our trees and vineyards depend on. Our strawberries are missing their winter insulation:  3 – 4 inches of snow can raise the soil’s surface temperature by about 30 degrees, especially when it gets below zero. Yes, this is Pure Michigan weather! As a farmer, we don’t know what “normal” is anymore.

But, our unheated winter hoophouse is still a workhorse, producing a weekly abundance of naturally grown carrots, spinach, green onions, lettuce, and kale.

Naturally Grown Produce: Check out the small table/fridge at World Fare in downtown Three Rivers which we are stocking with kale, lettuce, spinach, onions, carrots, and more as Becca harvests this winter. With the winter roads and snow around the market, this is another way for you to access fresh produce from the hoophouse plus do your other shopping in downtown Three Rivers. We’re also happy to reserve items for you and put your name on them in the fridge, just give us a call at 269 244 5690.

Brandy, Wine and Hard Cider, Frozen Apple Pies:  These are available here at the farm by appointment only. Our popular Cherries Jubilant Tart Cherry Cider from last year is back and bottled, $6 for a 750mL bottle or two bottles for $10. Double Cherry Wine is available, $11 for a 750 mL bottle or two bottles for $20. 269-244-5690.

We are busy preparing for the opening of the heated greenhouse! Within the next week we will be getting the pots ready with dirt and then bringing the tomato plants in, which are planted and growing nicely at Schramm’s greenhouse in Portage.

Tomato plants are about 4" tall and almost ready to come to our greenhouse!

Tomato plants are about 4″ tall and almost ready to come to our greenhouse!

Quite a delivery of dirt and other supplies being unloaded for the greenhouse and hoophouse

Quite a delivery of dirt and other supplies being unloaded for the greenhouse and hoophouse

Becca has been busy putting the finishing touches on wine and hard cider to finally bottle things up in the coming months before we get too busy. She also went to the Northern Michigan Small Farms Conference (NMSFC) in Traverse City, which was a really unique event. Every year we go to the Great Lakes Expo in Grand Rapids, which is great. However, it is also one of the biggest ag. conferences in the country, whereas the NMSFC is really dedicated to small family farms and homesteads and is pretty tiny comparatively. It seemed like a great experience with lots of good information and it looks like another event we’ll add to our annual winter calendar.

Eat your spinach!  With an abundance of fresh spinach coming from Becca’s hoophouse I have been enjoying it in many ways.  As I have been out and about this winter sharing this with folks, many of them are surprised by how I am preparing it and tell me they don’t like spinach. Most have horror stories from their childhoods when they were forced to eat spinach that was boiled into a strange tasting and smelly clump. Having parents from the South, most of my childhood experience with vegetables were similar, unless of course the vegetables were cooked or fried with some bacon grease. And even though I grew up in the Popeye era, where after eating spinach, he amazingly grew these fabulous muscles, that didn’t convince me to like it any more. But properly prepared, it is one of my very favorite vegetables.  Last week I made spinach-goat  cheese pasta, tuna-spinach tarts, spinach quiches’ in muffin pans and of course, used fresh in salads.  Mmmmm, delicious!

If you don’t know…spinach is so good for you. It is a super food loaded with tons of nutrients in a low calorie package.  The leafy greens like are important for skin and hair, bone health, and provide protein, iron, vitamins and minerals.  And another incentive for me as I get older, eating leafy greens like these help keep your brain young and can protect against decline in brain function.

So, please pick up some freshly picked spinach at our refrigerator at World Fare and have at it. Or call us ahead of time and pick it up here! Since it is Super Bowl weekend, here is a healthy recipe you can make and bring to your SB party.

Spinach Balls

Ingredients:  2 lbs of fresh spinach** (or two (10 ounce) boxes of frozen spinach, drained well, 3/4 cup melted butter, 1 small onion finely chipped, 4 eggs, 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 2 cups of season bread crumbs

Combine all ingredients in a bowl until well mixed.  Roll into 2 inch, walnut sized balls.  Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours,  Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes….Enjoy!!

**To prepare fresh spinach for recipes like this, I wash it and put about 1/2 pound at a time into the microwave for about 1 minute.  Just enough to wilt it.  Then I put that in a colander and drain well, usually squeezing excess moisture out with paper towels.

Enjoy, and may your favorite team win!!

Everyone at Corey Lake Orchards appreciates your buying local!

See the sunrise as I make my way to the farm on a cold, crispy morning, never gets old

See the sunrise as I make my way to the farm on a cold, crispy morning, never gets old