Thanks to everyone who came out over Labor Day, we loved seeing so many of you here enjoying the farm and orchards. What a picture perfect weekend it was. We loved the cooler temperatures—but apparently they were just a fall teaser as the hot-humid weather returned this week. One of the ways we always know it is fall on the farm is the wonderful aroma of the grapes ripening. Yes, that fragrant smell when you drive in our parking lots are the white Niagara grapes!
So many of you enjoyed apple picking last weekend that we are going to have U-Pick apples open again this weekend.
- The varieties available will be: Gala, Jon-A-Mac, and Mollie’s Delicious.
- Apple picking will be available on Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m – 6 p.m. We need everyone checked out at the market by 6, so you must be in the apple orchard by 5:30 to be able to pick. Please check in at the market to get directions and a bag to pick them in.
More varieties of apples are coming in! Here’s what we have at the market right now. Apples are running about one week to 10 days ahead of their normal annual schedule due to the weather…so the season is moving fast.
- Mollie’s Delicious is a large, sweet eating apple. It is a late summer apple which we will only have a short time.
- Gala is a great eating and cooking apple. It has a crisp snappy bite over a mellow sweetness.
- Jon-A-Mac: This is a good cooking or eating apple. It has all of the best qualities of a Jonathan apple and a McIntosh. A favorite for apple sauce.
- Earli-blaze: This is a good cooking or eating apple, and it particularly makes a wonderful apple pie. We sell this apple to bakeries (including our own) for apple pie. (These apples are specially priced at $20 a bushel)
- Macintosh: This is a soft, white fleshed apple, very popular for baking and applesauce.
- JonaGold: Superbly crisp and juicy with shades of tart and sweet in each apple, very large and aromatic. Cross between a Jonathan and Golden Delicious
- Honeycrisp: This seems to be many people’s favorite. It is crisp with an excellent sweet flavor and a “bite” to it. Great for eating fresh or using in salads. We will have some this weekend, sold by the pound only ($2/lb.).
Apple Pricing for the year: with the exception of a few special varieties (like Honeycrisp) all the apples will be: $24 a bushel**, $13 a half-bushel, $7.50 a peck (1/4 of a bushel), $5 a half-peck, $3 a 1/4 peck and $1.00 a pound. **When we have bushels available. The price is the same for picked apples or u-pick apples.
- We have a good crop of apples and have made a forecast on when we think the varieties will be ready. We have copies of this on the market or you can continue to check back on our website where we will keep it updated. Please click here to view this: http://www.coreylakeorchards.com/2016-apple-information/.
Grape Update: We will take a sugar sample of grapes the week of 9-12, then hopefully we can determine an opening date for both the purple Concords and the white Niagaras. Best guess now is the white grapes could be ready the week of 9-19 and the purple grapes the week of 9-26. But it depends on the weather. Before we open, we will want them to be at their full ripeness and sugar content. Please check back with us around September 14th when we get our sugar sample back.
- Pricing will be the same as last year: U-Pick Pricing for both color grapes is the following, please note we sell them by the pound, and consider a five-gallon pail or a 1/2 bushel basket to be 20 pounds.
- 40 cents a pound for 20 pounds or less, 1 five-gallon bucket or a ½ bushel= $8
- 21 to 100 pounds: 35 cents pound, 1 five-gallon bucket or ½ bushel = $7
- Over 100 pounds; 25 cents pound, 1 five-gallon bucket or ½ bushel=$5
Picked grapes: We are taking orders for bushels of picked grapes both white Niagara and purple Concord, they are $26 a bushel, $14 half bushel, please call the market at 269-244-5690 to order them.
Bartlett pears: The Bartlett pear is a good eating and canning pear, very sweet and juicy. We still have some left. If you have already called us to reserve bushels, you should have received a call that they were ready, if not, please call us or come and get them. If you would still like some, please call the market and let us know how many you would want and we can save them for you. 269-244-5690. Pricing is $29 a bushel, $15 a half bushel, and we also have them in eating size quantities.
- Tomatoes from the field remain plentiful now. We have called everyone on our list to come and get them. If you did not receive a message, please call us and we’ll get your order filled.
- “Firsts” Tomatoes are $19 a bushel or $10 a half bushel.
- “Seconds” Tomatoes (have blemishes or are misshapen) are $14 a bushel… This is great for making sauce, juice or salsa.
- U-Pick Tomatoes are now open and can be picked for $15 a bushel. Please check in at the market for directions and containers.
- How long will they last? We say up until the first frost, but they are in peak production right now so you should try to get them in the next several weeks if you want large quantities.
Here’s what we have at the market now:
- Apples–Earli-blaze, Gala, Mollie’s Delicious, Jon A Mac, Jon A Gold, McIntosh and Honeycrisp
- Brussels Sprouts
- Eggplant–3 different sizes
- Fresh Cut or “Cut Your Own” Herbs.
- We now have plenty of specialty basil as well as organic Genovese and are picking it in larger quantities for making pesto (look in our cooler for it). Some of the other herbs are not plentiful due to heat. Plus we finally have cilantro!
- Fresh Dug Potatoes: Yukon Gold, Red Norland and Adirondack Blue
- If you want potatoes by the bushel they are $25, this is about 50 pounds or more
- Field Tomatoes
- Peppers (so many sizes, colors and tastes!) Check out our chocolate habanero!
- Plums: Stanley Prune plums
- Onions–We are now bagging them in the red mesh bags
- Specialty Onions: Red Torpedo Tropea, Red Marble Cippolini, and Borrettana Cippolini are in. These are incredible for cooking or roasting
- Watermelon: Seeded, we think they have more flavor than the seedless ones!
- Zucchini, Yellow Squash and Spaghetti squash
- Winter Squash–Butternut now but more coming
Becca’s certified organic produce: Kale, Lettuce, Eggplant, Slicer Tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, Basil, Bunching Onions, Super Sweet Snacking Peppers, Anaheim Peppers, Poblano (Ancho) Peppers, and Personal Cabbage. Some of this is in limited quantities so please call ahead and place an order if you want any of these items.
Bakery Update: Look for our “take and bake” pies for you to stock up on in your freezer (for you to indulge in or keep to share for the holidays). If you cannot find them, please ask and we will get them for you! As we work to stock up, please feel free to special order and we can get them ready. “Take and bake” pie choices are all large-9″ pies and available flavors are: Apple, Blueberry, Cherry, Cherry Berry, Peach, and Strawberry Rhubarb.
We will be making our pear pie now, this is a must try if you haven’t had one before!
Bakery offerings for the weekend will be:
- Cookies: Frosted Sugar Cut Outs, Caramel Apple, Monster (chocolate chips, M&M’s peanut butter and oatmeal), Iced Lemon, Triple Berry, Peanut Butter, and Ginger Molasses.
- Pies: Apple, Blueberry, Cherry, Pear, Peach and Strawberry Rhubarb. We will have chocolate pies available Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
- Bread: Whole Wheat, Honey Oat, Cinnamon, Italian, Whole Grain, Vegetable and Tuscan, as well as Hamburger Buns, Hot Dog Buns, and Focaccia Bread. We are partnering with La Brea Bakery on the following breads: Semolina Cheese, Rosemary Olive Oil, Roasted Garlic Loaf, and Toasted Sunflower Honey.
- Cinnamon Rolls and Pecan Sticky Buns
- Assorted Dessert Bars
- Mini Cupcakes
- Slushies: Concord and Niagara Grape Blend and Our Own Apple Cider
- Muffins: Double Dutch Chocolate, Cherry Almond, Pistachio, Wild Berry, Lemon Poppy Seed, Raisin Bran, and Banana Nut
- Donuts: We will have our Apple, Pumpkin, and Buttermilk Cake Donuts available Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We also have our Chocolate Iced Yeast Donuts as well as Bavarian Cream-Filled Long Johns, Raspberry-Filled Bismarks and Apple Fritters!
Local Products: We try to offer as many local and Michigan made products as we can.
- Meat from Mill Lake Farms, http://www.coreylakeorchards.com/other-products/mill-lake-farm-meats/.
- Yogurt from Mattawan Creamery
- Mollie’s Clay Vessels, a Flint based artist who does one of a kind bowls, planters, vases and more
- Unique cards made by 4 area artists
- “Flatware” flowers and lady bugs made by our neighbor Dave
- Honey and maple syrup, we have comb honey. Check it out!
- Ruth’s pecan and cashew brittle
- Ladd’s Jalapeno Mustard (made with peppers grown here on the farm!)
- Artisan Cheese from Remy Picot (Benton Harbor)
- Michigan-shaped chairs with matching tables (Kalamazoo)
- Eggs (Kalamazoo)
- Detroit Bold Coffee Company coffee (Detroit)
- Dried blueberries and cherries (Traverse City)
- 4 flavors of Great Lakes Chips (Traverse City)
- 5 varieties of Michaelene’s granola (Clarkston)
- Boxed (totally recyclable) water (Grand Rapids)
Brandy and Hard Cider: We’re launching two new hard ciders this weekend, though if you were at HarmonyFest on in Three Rivers on Sunday or our free Saturday tasting sessions, you may have already tried these. The first is Preach, a sweet pear/peach hard cider. This one has gotten rave reviews from samplers. The second is Crop Rotation, a barrel-aged, bottle-conditioned dry cider. We put this in an apple brandy barrel last December, which imparts such an incredible flavor. This is a completely unfiltered cider, and the only cider we made this year without any added sulfites (though they do occur naturally in the fermentation process) and we recommend drinking this one soon or keeping it cold.
Made right here, we also have Blueberry, Sweet, Strawberry, Dry, Peck of Peppers, and Hopped Hard Ciders for sale in 12 and 22 oz. bottles. We also have Peach Polecat, Black Cherry Polecat, Cherry Wine, Kaiser Cyser, and Tart Cherry Hard Cider in 750mL bottles, and our usual line of brandies made exclusively from estate-grown produce, including our ever-popular oak aged apple brandy. Come try any of these at our free tasting sessions, Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Happenings on the farm this week:
Apples: The apple harvest has continued, but under tough conditions with the heat. This week we picked McIntosh and Jon-a-mac apples. You might notice that these apples and others don’t have the red coloring they have had of previous years. This is due to the weather, we need cool nights to help color the apples. So while you will find some in your bag that are green, they are ripe and have flavor. We are very careful to test the apples, but the final test is the “Beth eating some off the tree and saying yes or no!”
We continue to get the cider mill ready and plan to make cider on September 15th, which means we will have it in the market on September 16th.
We did complete almost all of our sunflower maze—so it is open for your enjoyment. This is a small children’s maze, for toddlers up to around 8 years old, but last year we found our pumpkin maze was enjoyed by all ages. There are educational posters, a craft activity, a book reading station and many other things to enjoy. Please ask for directions to it when you come.
Today we had a great crew prepare peaches for brandy….for a while it was fun–squeezing the heck out of a peach—a sure way to get rid of stress, frustrations and find your “inner peach.” But with 117 baskets lined up to get through, it became quite a task. Thanks so much to this group for getting this job done. Bruce will be working with the “mash” created today, oversee the fermentation and will be making it into peach brandy!
To any of our customers in the Lansing, Grand Rapids, or Ann Arbor areas (or those customers who don’t mind a drive), come visit us at the Mid-Mitten Cider Festival at Uncle John’s Cider Mill on Saturday in St. John’s, Michigan! From 2 p.m. until 7 p.m., you can enjoy the great atmosphere at Uncle John’s as well as over 100 Michigan ciders, perries, and wines. Hope to see you there. Learn more about the event here: http://www.ujcidermill.com/event/cider-perry-fest/
Everyone at Corey Lake Orchards thanks you for buying local.