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

Monthly Archive: July 2017

It takes a village…or maybe just some corn…

Save the date for our August 6th All Things Local:  “Downtown to Down Home” Celebration.  From 11 to 3 on that Sunday we’ll be featuring food, drink art, music, book signings by local authors and more. Pick up a flyer at the market, see the schedule at the bottom of this post, or find it on our Facebook page as an event**

Here’s what is on the market now:

  • FRUIT
    • Picked Blueberries: by pint, quart, 5 lb. and 10 lb. box  (Note we expect to have blueberries through most of August) 
    • Lodi Apples (by the pound and bushels)  This will be the last week for them, this is a green, very tart apple loved by many for applesauce or because they love tart flavors that shock their taste buds
    • Jersey Mac Apples (1/4 pecks and 1/2 pecks ) a summer apple which is like a Macintosh, soft skin and flesh, mildly tart
    • Canteloupe– Just starting to come on
  • VEGETABLES
    • Broccoli
    • Brussels Sprouts
    • Zucchini
    • Yellow Squash
    • Spaghetti Squash
    • Greenhouse Tomatoes and Greenhouse Cucumbers
    • Green Tomatoes
    • Field Cucumbers
    • Onions: fresh-pulled with green tops
    • Peppers–all kinds and colors from sweet to hot
    • Eggplant
    • Potatoes:  Red Norland and Yukon Gold and Blue Adirondack – fresh dug!
    • Green Beans
    • Sweet Corn — incredibly sweet right now, by the dozen or bushel
    • U-Pick Herbs
    • Check out the new Michigan made dip mixes to make up for vegetable or bread dipping.  Our staff taste-tested these last week and we mixed them with the local yogurt we carry.  One of our clever staff members scooped out the insides of a round zucchini and peppers to hold the dip!  Munching on cold vegetables with this tasty dip was the perfect thing after such a long hot day of work.

Organic Produce: 

  • Sungold Cherry Tomatoes – super sweet, like candy! We have so many right now,  Pick some up!
  • Lettuce.
  • Cabbage. Becca grows caraflex cabbage, which is a smaller, “personal” size (1-2 lb. on each head) and known for its delicate, tender, sweet leaves.
  • Kale. Curly kale coming in very well right now! If you’d like a large quantity at a discount to make kale chips or other things that require a lot of kale, please call ahead and place an order. Our certified organic kale is $4/lb. for 2 lbs. or more but we do need you to call ahead so we can pick it fresh for you.
  • Collards, green garlic, garlic scapes, cucumbers, Roma paste tomatoes, slicer tomatoes in right now, too. Eggplant and peppers coming in slowly, as are tomatillos. If you’d like us to pick you certified organic basil for pesto, please call ahead and place an order! It’s coming in very well now.

U-Pick opportunities:   We currently do not have any thing for you to pick right now.  Our blueberry field has just a few left but you are welcome to go out for the experience and pick a handful or so.  Blueberry picking is still going strong in Southwest Michigan and we would recommend Brookside Farms as a great place to go. They are located in Paw Paw, their phone number is 269-657-3500 or find them online at:  http://brooksidefarmsmi.com/

Our next U-Pick fruit opportunity will be when fall apples and grapes arrive.  Stay tuned for more info as we get closer to apple season.

Bakery Update: Yes, our popular blueberry-zucchini bread is here while we have fresh blueberries and zucchini. Due to this being such a  labor-intensive bread to make (come watch us grate bushels of zucchini!)  we do have a limited supply we can make per day. We know that many of you like to freeze this bread, so it would help us if you could place those orders with us and we will call you when we can fill those. This allows us to have as much on hand as we can to ensure everyone can get a loaf or two. Just call us at 269-244-5690 for bread orders or anything else you would like to order.

Bakery offerings for the weekend will be:

  • Cookies: Zucchini Chocolate Chip, Cut Out Sugar, Monster (chocolate chips, M&M’s peanut butter and oatmeal), Iced Lemon, Peanut Butter, Ginger Molasses, S’mores, and Cherry White Chocolate Chip
  • Pies: Blueberry, Blueberry Rhubarb, Cherry, Peach, and Strawberry Rhubarb. We will also have Blueberry Glaze pie, Chocolate Cream and Peanut Butter cream available Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
  • Bread: Blueberry-Zucchini, Whole Wheat, Cinnamon, Italian, Whole Grain, Honey Oat, Vegetable and Tuscan, as well as Hamburger Buns and Hot Dog Buns. We are partnering again with La Brea bakery this year and will have the following breads: Semolina Cheese, Roasted Garlic Loaf, Sourdough, and Jalapeño Cheese
  • Cinnamon Rolls and Pecan Sticky Buns
  • Assorted Dessert Bars
  • Muffins: Banana Nut, Blueberry, Lemon Poppyseed, Pistachio, Raisin Bran, Chocolate, and Cherry Almond. 
  • Donuts: We will have our Blueberry, Buttermilk, and Cherry Cake Donuts available Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We will also have Cherry Fritters, Vanilla Fluff Longjohns, Yeast Twists, Bavarian Cream (Custard) Longjohns, Raspberry Bismarks, and Yeast Rings (available all week)
  • Slushies – Apple Cider, Grape

Alcohol offerings: We’ve got a lot of varieties of bottled cider right now. Cherry/Sage, Blueberry, Rhubarbary Coast (rhubarb), Sweet Cider, Ginger, Prince Tribute, Hopped, Brunch (maple/vanilla), and Bark Bite (smoked hickory/oak). We have cherry wine and Kaiser Cyser as well. We’ll have a few additional ciders on tap during our hard cider happy hour. This weekend we’ll have hard cider tastings:

  • Friday from 4-6
  • Saturday from 3-6

Stop on by to sample some cider. On tap during tasting: Afternoon, Ginger, Bark Bite, Blueberry, Strawberry, Cherry/Sage, Rhubarb, Brunch, and Hopped ciders. If we run out of one thing, we may replace it with something else, so get it while you can! During tasting hours, feel free to bring your own clean 32 oz. or 64 oz. growler if you’d like one filled, or buy a new growler here at the market to take home fresh draft cider. And of course, we have our usual brandy house tours with Bruce from 1-3 on Saturdays, and full range of brandy offerings.

Fruit and vegetable update:  To order please call us on 269-244-5690

  • Green Beans: They are finally coming in now so we have them available by the pound, and within a few weeks we should have enough to sell by the bushel. Please add your name to our bushel list if you want some.
  • Sweet Corn: We  have plenty coming in now, if you are looking for large quantities to freeze or for a large gathering, we have it by the bushel.  It helps us if you can call and pre-order as we pick daily to make sure it is fresh.  We have planted enough sweet corn to have it through the month of August, if the weather cooperates.
  • Peaches:  As we are able to pick a few peaches here and there, we are offering them by the quart but they sell out fast.  Sorry for those of you who have been trying to get your first peach taste of the year.  Our trees either have too many peaches (and branches breaking despite how many times we thinned them) or no peaches.  Our early peaches froze out in the spring, so we only have a few coming in right now.  We expect to have more as the mid-season peaches come in around August 5th.  We hope to be able to offer bushels. Call and get your name on our list if you’d like to pre-order. If you are looking for Red Haven peaches, we will not have any of those this year due to losing them in the spring.  We will be picking a few Flamin’ Fury peaches over the next week until our mid-season peach called Coral Star is ready.    All our peach varieties are freestone.
  • Plums: We do not have a very large crop of plums and will not be able to have any by the bushel this year.
  • Bartlett Pears: We have a good pear crop (usually 3rd week of August). If you want bushels to can, please call and get added to our list.
  • Tomatoes: Despite numerous problems (animals eating 800 plants and other issues) we will have a good tomato crop. We have just started bringing in some tomatoes from the field; they are coming!  We are taking bushel orders for “firsts” and “seconds” tomatoes which are blemished but great for salsa, juice, etc.
  • Apples: We have a good crop of apples this year and will provide an update closer to fall.

Happenings on the farm:

This was a really “corny” week here.  We picked, we packed, we moved, we delivered, and the abundance of sweet corn swirled in our minds constantly.  As many of you saw, we did a Facebook posting earlier this week to let everyone know we had corn, so much, that we’d try to donate when we could.  Much to our surprise, over 26,000 people have seen it, shared it and helped spread the word.   We were able to honor a good number of requests from local food banks, pantries, senior citizen homes and shared with as many different communities as we could, around 9,000 ears of corn.  It was pretty humbling to hear how these organizations will use this fresh corn and how many families they are able to feed.  One of the chefs in the Kalamazoo area made time to drive over and pick up the corn himself and told us how they prepare 8,000 meals a week for the homeless, disabled and folks who don’t know where there next meal will come from.  He says he loves being able to serve fresh produce because it makes a statement to those that they are serving that someone cares……cares enough to provide something which is in season and fresh–not out of a can.

We do a lot of succession planting here which means during the spring we plant things seven days to two weeks apart, especially things like corn and green beans, with the goal being that they will be spaced such that when one planting finishes, the next is ready—-(yes all the things we do behind the scenes to keep produce coming for you!)  But….when a heat wave or cold wave comes, which seems to be the new normal, all bets are off.  So what happens is that two and sometimes three plantings come in at the same time which is what happened this week with corn.  With fields overflowing, this puts farmers like us in a dilemma.  If we can’t sell it, do we pick it or leave it in the field?

sweetcorn

We live in a world where people go hungry, so we will not leave food in the field if we can help it. Our farm philosophy has been to help others wherever we can, so our desire is to pick it before it spoils and get it to food banks and those in need.  In the past years when this situation occurred, we were overwhelmed and gratified with people who asked to help be part of this community caring.   Here’s how you can help us help others, if you feel so inclined. For customers who would like to help, for every one dozen of corn you buy at $5, if you want to put an additional $5 towards helping others, we will go pick, pack and donate two dozen on your behalf. We feel strange about asking for money for this, but we pay our employees fair wages for their work and it helps us cover that cost, plus packing and delivering so that we can afford to donate a substantial amount.

We will have a sign up sheet for this and provide a list of names to the food bank for all who helped with this – we want to be accountable to you and to them. Because of times like these, we maintain connections to all area food banks  Together, we can help make a difference and put fresh sweet corn on someone’s empty plate. We thank everyone who is able to help us with this effort, and understand if you can’t.

Everyone at Corey Lake Orchards appreciates you buying local, we are grateful to have you as part of our community.

— Dr. Seuss–Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.

___________________________________________________________________________

Our family is committed to this area and are working to support the community in every way that we can to have it be the vibrant town of yesteryear…. Here is the weekly town update from Dave Vago, Executive Director of DDA, Three Rivers

Community can mean a lot of different things, but whatever it means to you, it is important to everyone. It is the means through which we interact with the world, receive support, and live our lives. Because a good community helps us to thrive, it is important that we participate in our communities–or to give back. If you are familiar at all with downtown Three Rivers, you know that we have been working hard to r-energize our Main Street, and that new businesses are popping up that will help to bring new life, vitality, and sense of community. I knew a strong sense of place here as a kid, spending my own summers on Corey Lake. My grandfather was a pharmacist at a drug store downtown, and he knew the value of good community. It meant not simply selling a product, but knowing customers and their needs, and being willing to do the work of maintaining personal connections – even if it meant a midnight house delivery. Three Rivers has a strong sense of community, and it has been its strongest when our downtown thrives, and has a sense of purpose. That community exists today, made up of merchants who don’t just offer food, drink, and merchandise, but who believe in this community and their place in it. The nice thing is, you don’t have to be from here to enjoy that sense of community. It’s as simple as coming downtown for a drink, a bite, or to shop. It’s strong enough that you’re sure to find a conversation, and perhaps even make some new friends. I am here because this place helped to shape the kind of person I am. I benefited from this place as a kid, and now I am working to maintain and grow it, and I get to be a part of it. That’s how I give back, and we’re proud to partner with Corey Lake Orchards, because they see how community benefits everyone too. Good product helps their reputation tremendously, but at the end of the day, they are successful because they believe in community, and work to make themselves an invested part of it. So, we all mean it when we invite you to join us, even if just for a visit. Come check out our downtown, and if you’d like to say hi in person, I’ll have a Downtown table at the All Things Local event at the orchard next Sunday, August 6th. See you there.
Best, Dave Vago
 **

Celebrate “All Things Local” hosted by Corey Lake Orchards. Tickle your taste buds with food and drink to sample and purchase. Enjoy a feast for the eyes presented by the Three Rivers Artists Guild and some food for thought by local authors. Let the “Pipers 4” serenade you as you learn about or refresh your memory of downtown Three Rivers and River Country with its many parks and spiritual centers.

11:00 to 3:00 PM        Activities throughout the Event

Displays representing

  • Downtown Three Rivers
  • River Country Tourism
  • St. Joseph County Parks
  • Three Rivers Artists Guild
  • Local spiritual centers

Food for purchase and samplings

  • Corey Lake Orchard products
  • Kalamazoo Pizza Company Food Truck
  • Mill Lake Farms (meat)
  • Speaking Stone Café (opening soon), coffee and expresso

12:00 to 1:00 PM        Charlotte Hubbard, local Queen Bee and author of both children’s and adult books – children’s book reading, honey tasting, and beekeeping discussion

12:00 to 3:00 PM        Brandy House Tastings by distiller, Bruce Ruesink

12:00 to 3:00 PM        Hard Cider Tastings by hard cider maker, Becca Sonday

1:30 to 3:00 PM          William Baltz, local author of “Spiritual Nexus” on the area’s spiritual centers

1:30 to 3:00 PM          Musical Serenade by local ensemble, the “Pipers 4”

3:00 PM                       Gift Basket and door prize drawings (need not be present to win)

Corey Lake Orchards Market and Bakery will have normal operation hours from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM for shopping, playground, and picnic fun.

We’ll Have Fun, Fun, Fun…

Fun is the enjoyment of pleasure, particularly in leisure activities. Fun is an experience … Its meaning in in 1727 was “cheat, trick, hoax”, a meaning still retained in the phrase “to make fun of.” We are all about the first definition and couldn’t make it through each day if we didn’t have a little fun. So throughout this update, find out more about fun: here on the farm and in the community.

Here’s what is on the market now:

  • Picked Blueberries: by pint, quart, 5 lb. and 10 lb. box  (Note we expect to have blueberries through most of August)
  • U-Pick Herbs
  • Lodi Apples (by the pound only this weekend, bushels coming this weekend)
  • Jersey Mac Apples (by the pound and 1/4 peck right now)
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Peas
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Zucchini
  • Yellow Squash
  • Greenhouse Tomatoes and Greenhouse Cucumbers
  • Green Tomatoes
  • Field Cucumbers
  • Onions: fresh-pulled with green tops
  • Peppers–all kinds and colors from sweet to hot
  • Eggplant
  • Potatoes:  Red Norland and Yukon Gold and Blue Adirondack – fresh dug!
  • Green Beans
  • Sweet Corn — incredibly sweet right now and with the heat, we will have plenty thru the weekend
  • Cut Flowers

Organic Produce: 

  • Sungold Cherry Tomatoes – super sweet, like candy! We have so many right now, they’re on special for a bit. Pick some up!
  • Lettuce. We now offer 1# bags of certified organic lettuce for $5. Seems like a hit with customers! Lettuce is pretty good right now, a mix of baby lettuce and buttercrunch.
  • Cabbage. Becca grows caraflex cabbage, which is a smaller, “personal” size (1-2 lb. on each head) and known for its delicate, tender, sweet leaves.
  • Kale. Curly kale coming in very well right now! If you’d like a large quantity at a discount to make kale chips or other things that require a lot of kale, please call ahead and place an order. Our certified organic kale is $4/lb. for 2 lbs. or more but we do need you to call ahead so we can pick it fresh for you.
  • Collards, green garlic, garlic scapes, cucumbers, Roma paste tomatoes, slicer tomatoes in right now too. Eggplant and peppers coming in slowly, as are tomatillos. If you’d like us to pick you certified organic basil for pesto, please call ahead and place an order! It’s coming in very well now.

U-Pick opportunities:

U-Pick Blueberries: We have a relatively small field compared to most major blueberry growers (only three acres), so our u-pick blueberries are for folks who just want to come over to pick a few pounds for the experience. In order to allow everyone to have a chance to pick some, we are limiting the picking to 10 pounds per family until more are ready. We are just finishing with the “Duke” variety and now the “Jersey” berries are coming on. This is a small blueberry, but very sweet.

    • The hours for u-pick will be 8 until 5:45 each day, must be finished and checked out by 6 at market. It is best to come in the morning when it is cool!
    • Pricing will be $2.00 a pound to pick (this makes it about $3.50 a quart).
    • We will have them off and on probably through most of the month of July.
    • We have buckets for you to pick in and boxes to send them home in.
    • For anyone who wants large quantities, we would recommend Brookside Farms as a great place to go. They are located in Paw Paw, their phone number is 269-657-3500 or find them online at:  http://brooksidefarmsmi.com/

Bakery Update: Yes, our popular blueberry-zucchini bread is here while we have fresh blueberries and zucchini. Due to this being such a  labor-intensive bread to make (come watch us grate bushels of zucchini!)  we do have a limited supply we can make per day. We know that many of you like to freeze this bread, so it would help us if you could place those orders with us and we will call you when we can fill those. This allows us to have as much on hand as we can to ensure everyone can get a loaf or two. Just call us at 269-244-5690 for bread orders or anything else you would like to order.

Bakery offerings for the weekend will be:

  • Cookies: Zucchini Chocolate Chip, Cut Out Sugar, Monster (chocolate chips, M&M’s peanut butter and oatmeal), Iced Lemon, Peanut Butter, Ginger Molasses, S’mores, and Cherry White Chocolate Chip
  • Pies: Blueberry, Blueberry Rhubarb, Cherry, Peach, and Strawberry Rhubarb. We will also have Blueberry Glaze pie available Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
  • Bread: Blueberry-Zucchini, Whole Wheat, Cinnamon, Italian, Whole Grain, Honey Oat, Vegetable and Tuscan, as well as Hamburger Buns and Hot Dog Buns. We are partnering again with La Brea bakery this year and will have the following breads: Semolina Cheese, Roasted Garlic Loaf, Sourdough, and Jalapeño Cheese
  • Cinnamon Rolls and Pecan Sticky Buns
  • Assorted Dessert Bars
  • Muffins: Banana Nut, Blueberry, Lemon Poppyseed, Pistachio, Raisin Bran, Chocolate,  and Cherry Almond. 
  • Donuts: We will have our Blueberry, Buttermilk, and Cherry Cake Donuts available Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We will also have Cherry Fritters, Vanilla Fluff Longjohns, Yeast Twists, Bavarian Cream (Custard) Longjohns, Raspberry Bismarks, and Yeast Rings (available all week)
  • Slushies – Apple Cider, Grape
  • Blueberries and rhubarb make the perfect sweet-tart pie!

Alcohol offerings: We’ve got a lot of varieties of bottled cider right now. Cherry/Sage, Blueberry, Afternoon (chamomile/rooibos), Rhubarbary Coast (rhubarb), Sweet Cider, Ginger, Prince Tribute, Hopped, Brunch (maple/vanilla), and Bark Bite (smoked hickory/oak). We have cherry wine and Kaiser Cyser as well. We’ll have a few additional ciders on tap during our hard cider happy hour. This weekend we’ll have hard cider tastings:

  • Friday from 4-6
  • Saturday from 3-6

Stop on by to sample some cider. On tap during tasting: Afternoon, Ginger, Bark Bite, Blueberry, Strawberry, Cherry/Sage, Rhubarb, Brunch, and Hopped ciders. If we run out of one thing, we may replace it with something else, so get it while you can! During tasting hours, feel free to bring your own clean 32 oz. or 64 oz. growler if you’d like one filled, or buy a new growler here at the market to take home fresh draft cider. And of course, we have our usual brandy house tours with Bruce from 1-3 on Saturdays, and full range of brandy offerings.

Fruit and vegetable update:  To order please call us on 269-244-5690

  • Green Beans: We had trouble with cold spring weather getting our first few plantings to make it, so they are a bit late but within a few weeks we should have enough to sell by the bushel. Please add your name to our bushel list if you want some.
  • Sweet Corn: We should have plenty coming in now, if you are looking for large quantities to freeze or for a large gathering, sign up on our bushel list and we’ll call you. Each sweet corn variety we have planted will get sweeter as summer progresses.
  • Peaches: Our trees either have too many peaches (and branches breaking despite how many times we thinned them) or no peaches.  ur early peaches froze out in the spring, so we will only have a few coming this next week. We do have a lot of mid-season and later peaches and hope to be able to offer bushels. Call and get your name on our list if you’d like to order.
  • Plums: We do not have a very large crop of plums and will not be able to have any by the bushel this year.
  • Bartlett Pears: We have a good pear crop (usually 3rd week of August). If you want bushels to can, please call and get added to our list.
  • Tomatoes: Despite numerous problems (animals eating 800 plants and other issues) we will have a good tomato crop. Hope to start bringing in field tomatoes in a week to 10 days. Our greenhouse tomatoes are ending so we’re bridging the gap with tomatoes from an Indiana greenhouse. We are taking bushel orders for “firsts” tomatoes and “seconds” which are blemished but great for salsa, juice, etc.
  • Apples: We have a good crop of apples this year and will provide an update closer to fall.

Fun Happenings on the farm:

We work really hard here, long hours and go home physically and mentally fatigued…but we do have our fun! When talking to our staff about what they find fun about working here there was one common theme—interaction with customers. Whether it is meeting them, helping them to find something, listening to how they cooked/grilled or roasted our vegetables, gushing about how beautiful our produce is (especially the cauliflower) and watching their reaction when they taste some of our samples, we do truly enjoy our customers.

Here were some specifics that we hope resonate with you:

“I love making the cinnamon rolls every morning….the whole process from smoothing out the dough, patting with cinnamon, cutting them, and then the customers coming in and smelling them baking!”

Cinnamon rolls ready to go in the oven

“You smile when you get home from work and realize you have cherry tomatoes that have made their way to your pocket!”

“It is so fun to watch almost every child pick out the donuts with eyes on them, and 99% of them eat the eyes first! It’s universal…”

“It’s really fun to figure out how to display produce, love getting creative with it!”

“Fun for me is being out in the orchard and vineyards with customers and seeing their joy of picking fruit!”

“It’s really fun to be the person creating hard ciders—trying different ways to flavor it from what we grow on the farm, and taste testing!”

“It’s amazingly fun to experience the “first” of everything when it comes into season, like the peaches this week–we couldn’t stop smelling them having missed that smell for one year.”

The first peaches of the season smelled so good!

We all have a lot of fun watching Mother Nature trick the weather forecast people everyday!

It’s so much fun to work with my granddaughter and the happiness we find in doing simple tasks together, like washing cherry tomatoes.

We hope you have a fun experience  on the farm when you visit. We’ve worked hard to create an inviting space and want you to enjoy it. Whether it is having a picnic on one of the yard tables while the kids play on the swings or go down the big slide, enjoying baked goods and produce at one of the many tables we have (some in the yard, some in the breezeway where our happy hours are–feel free to sit there or the space outside the bakery). We’ve planted coloring books, games, cookbooks, and some of our favorite books to read to your children.

What fun: A 5 pound box of blueberries and a cherry fritter by the herb garden

This is a great book to read to your children during blueberry season

Other local fun events: 

Experience fun this weekend at the Huss Future Festival. Many activities, great food, music, art and old fashion fun. Check it out here and try to make it over there.  https://www.facebook.com/events/1724948294463969/?acontext=%7B%22action_history%22%3A%22null%22%7D Even Beth and Becca make a point to get to Future Fest despite busy farm Saturdays, we really like it!

Save the date for our August 6th All Things Local:  “Downtown to Down Home” Celebration.  From 11 to 3 on that Sunday we’ll be featuring food, drink art, music, book signings by local authors and more. Pick up a flyer at the market and stay tuned here and on Facebook for more details.

Everyone at Corey Lake Orchards appreciates you buying local.  Hope to see you soon.  Have a fun week!

___________________________________________________________________________

Our family is committed to this area and are working to support the community in every way that we can to have it be the vibrant town of yesteryear…. Here is the weekly town update from Dave Vago, Executive Director of DDA, Three Rivers

If you’re like me, you grew up with your feet in the water and you’ll probably agree that summers at the lake are about as fun as it gets. However, I am here today working to bring success to downtown Three Rivers because when I was a kid, the fun on Corey Lake wasn’t complete without a walk down to Main Street from my grandparents’ house. We’d spend some time with the animals at Scidmore Park, grab a bite to eat, perhaps do some shopping, and certainly, visit the Riviera Theater, where A/C and a movie was a welcome treat. Today, I still feel the same sense of fun here that I felt then, even with a grown-up twist. In fact, I still visit the Riviera for a show and to escape the heat, but it also happens to be one of my favorite watering holes. The selection includes Corey Lake Orchards ciders among many other things, and pizzas that give any artisan shop a run for its money. The environment is classy, the entertainment hits the spot, and it’s an easy place to strike up a conversation with friends or strangers. Kelsey Block Brewing is fun in its own right: owner Jerry Barkley is constantly changing the tap selection as he delivers new and excellent variations on his natural talent for brewing. The brewery’s “Taco Tuesdays Every Wednesday” is quickly becoming a staple for me that competes with any California food truck, while Main Street Cafe keeps me in breakfast, and often lunch. I notice this week that Rooster’s Wing Shack is taking limited reservations for seating in the next few days, and will have a full opening soon. It’s another step forward for us. Someday soon, we expect downtown to be widely known as one heck of a fun place to spend time, but even today, it’s already worth the trip. Our own out-of-town house guests consistently agree, so I hope you’ll plan a visit. The park animals, the pizzas, the tacos, the wings, the shows, and the cold beverages will all be waiting!
Best, Dave Vago

 

Market Spilling Over With Vegetables? Now We Declare It Is Summer!

This is the time of year (helped by rain and heat) where the market begins to burst at its seams as we gather so much lovely produce. As more comes in, we have to move things around to fit it all in. So if you don’t see what you’re looking for, ask one of us! We are also posting recipes beside the produce, please take and try making your favorite veggie in a new way. We have a large collection of cookbooks at the bakery entrance for you to browse for even more ideas and recipes.

Here’s what is on the market now:

  • Picked Blueberries: by pint, quart, 5 lb. and 10 lb. box
  • U-Pick Herbs
  • Lodi apples (by the pound only this weekend, bushels next week)
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Peas
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Zucchini
  • Yellow Squash
  • Greenhouse Tomatoes and Greenhouse Cucumbers
  • Green Tomatoes
  • Field Cucumbers
  • Onions: fresh-pulled with green tops
  • Peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Red Norland and Yukon Gold Potatoes – fresh dug!
  • Green Beans
  • Sweet Corn (coming in slowly so we may sell out quickly the first few days)
  • Cut Flowers

Organic Produce: 

  • Lettuce. We now offer 1# bags of certified organic lettuce for $5. Seems like a hit with customers! Lettuce is pretty good right now, a mix of baby lettuce and buttercrunch.
  • Cabbage. Becca grows caraflex cabbage, which is a smaller, “personal” size (1-2 lb. on each head) and known for its delicate, tender, sweet leaves.
  • Kale. Curly kale coming in very well right now! If you’d like a large quantity at a discount to make kale chips or other things that require a lot of kale, please call ahead and place an order. Our certified organic kale is $4/lb. for 2 lbs. or more but we do need you to call ahead so we can pick it fresh for you.
  • Collards, green garlic, garlic scapes, cucumbers, sungold cherry tomatoes, slicer tomatoes in right now too. Tomatillos, peppers, eggplant all coming soon. If you’d like us to pick you certified organic basil for pesto, please call ahead and place an order! It’s coming in very well now.

U-Pick opportunities:

Tart Cherry U-Pick:  There are still trees with nice cherries, but need to get here soon as they are ripe and ready.  U-PIck pricing: $1.50/pound, over 50 pounds @ $1.25/pound.

U-Pick Blueberries: We have a relatively small field compared to most major blueberry growers (only three acres), so our u-pick blueberries are for folks who just want to come over to pick a few pounds for the experience. In order to allow everyone to have a chance to pick some, we are limiting the picking to 10 pounds per family until more are ready. We are picking “Duke” and “Jersey” berries now. If we get picked out, we will close to allow the berries to ripen up again. So, you may want to call ahead to make sure our u-pick patch is open,  269-244-5690.

    • The hours for u-pick will be 8 until 5:45 each day, must be finished and checked out by 6 at market.
    • Pricing will be $2.00 a pound to pick (this makes it about $3.50 a quart).
    • We will have them off and on probably through most of the month of July.
    • We have buckets for you to pick in and boxes to send them home in.
    • For anyone who wants large quantities, we would recommend Brookside Farms as a great place to go. They are located in Paw Paw, their phone number is 269-657-3500 or find them online at:  http://brooksidefarmsmi.com/

Bakery Update:  Yes, our popular blueberry-zucchini bread is here while we have fresh blueberries and zucchini.  Due to this being such a  labor-intensive bread to make (come watch us grate bushels of zucchini!)  we do have a limited supply we can make per day. We know that many of you like to freeze this bread, so it would help us if you could place those orders with us and we will call you when we can fill those. This allows us to have as much on hand as we can to ensure everyone can get a loaf or two. Just call us at 269-244-5690 for bread orders or anything else you would like to order.

Bakery offerings for the weekend will be:

  • Cookies: Zucchini Chocolate Chip, Cut Out Sugar, Monster (chocolate chips, M&M’s peanut butter and oatmeal), Iced Lemon, Peanut Butter, Ginger Molasses, S’mores, and Cherry White Chocolate Chip
  • Pies: Blueberry, Blueberry Rhubarb, Cherry,  Peach, and Strawberry Rhubarb. We will also have Blueberry Glaze pie available Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
  • Bread: Blueberry-Zucchini, Whole Wheat, Cinnamon, Italian, Whole Grain, Honey Oat, Vegetable and Tuscan, as well as Hamburger Buns and Hot Dog Buns. We are partnering again with La Brea bakery this year and will have the following breads: Semolina Cheese, Roasted Garlic Loaf, Sourdough, and Jalapeño Cheese
  • Cinnamon Rolls and Pecan Sticky Buns
  • Assorted Dessert Bars
  • Muffins: Banana Nut, Blueberry, Lemon Poppyseed, Pistachio, Raisin Bran, Chocolate,  and Cherry Almond. 
  • Donuts: We will have our Blueberry, Buttermilk, and Cherry Cake Donuts available Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We will also have Cherry Fritters, Vanilla Fluff Longjohns, Yeast Twists, Bavarian Cream (Custard) Longjohns, Raspberry Bismarks, and Yeast Rings (available all week)
  • Slushies – Apple Cider, Grape

Alcohol offerings: We bottled up our Sour Cherry/Sage Cider this week! Many of you have tried this on tap at happy hour and enjoyed it. It’s on the dryer side. Blueberry cider is back, and so is Afternoon Cider. Other bottled cider: Rhubarbary Coast (rhubarb), Sweet Cider, Ginger Cider, Prince Tribute Cider, Hopped Cider, Brunch Cider (maple/vanilla), and Bark Bite (smoked hickory/oak). We have cherry wine and Kaiser Cyser as well. We’ll have a few additional ciders on tap during our hard cider happy hour. This weekend we’ll have hard cider tastings:

  • Friday from 4-6
  • Saturday from 3-6

Stop on by to sample some cider. On tap during tasting: Afternoon, Ginger, Bark Bite, Blueberry, Strawberry, Cherry/Sage, Rhubarb, Brunch, and Hopped ciders. If we run out of one thing, we may replace it with something else, so get it while you can! Feel free to bring your own clean 32 oz. or 64 oz. growler if you’d like one filled, or buy a new growler here at the market to take home fresh draft cider. And of course, we have our usual brandy house tours with Bruce from 1-3 on Saturdays, and full range of brandy offerings.

Happenings on the farm: We did one of our favorite things this week: empty the rain gage over and over! We’ve gotten around 3 inches in the last few days…this amount really helps our orchards and vineyards which have been so parched for over a month.   It makes walking  picking in our fields a bit tricky, as boots get stuck in the mud, and with this much wetness we can’t dig potatoes for a few days (sorry…).  And to think that some athletic events now do mud runs, when they could just come to a farm and experience naturally and help pick! Along with the rain came the sweltering heat and humidity, so once again, plants over produced each day as everything ripened quickly. Please help us out with our abundance of cucumbers, summer squash, zucchini, and cauliflower!

Thanks to our green picking crew for getting through this mud this morning!

We have a new sign up in front of the market that you may notice. Earlier this year we obtained our MAEAP certification after a rigorous review and audit from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. MAEAP stands for Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program.  This certifies that our farm is committed to keeping the land, water and air healthy. It represents the highest standards of environmental stewardship and the pinnacle of responsible agriculture. Our family has always understood the importance of caring for the land and used best practices – there is a reason there is so much forest and wood left on the farm, cared for ponds and lake frontage and our use of an integrated pest management strategy.   To receive this ultimate certification, we had to do some major infrastructure changes that have taken us 4 years to complete. So behind the fresh quality produce you find here on our farm, there is a plethora of processes and procedures, education and training, dedicated buildings and roadways, that you don’t see which supports our philosophy and commitment of taking care of the environment.  Getting this accomplished was great, but the importance is living it each day, which is a true team effort by all of us. We are grateful to have such a strong farm team here.

Everyone at Corey Lake Orchards appreciates you buying local.  Hope to see you soon.

We were all so happy to have the rain we joined Emma Grace in playing in the mud puddles

___________________________________________________________________________

Our family is committed to this area and are working to support the community in every way that we can to have it be the vibrant town of yesteryear…. Here is the weekly town update from Dave Vago, Executive Director of DDA, Three Rivers

57 N. Main St. – Three Rivers, MI 49093
 
Greetings from Downtown Three Rivers! It’s been a rainy week off and on here, and if you’re like me, sometimes you just enjoy watching the rain from inside. However, if you are looking for something to do, I’d encourage you to visit our historic downtown, which is on the cusp of some great changes, including several new restaurant options due to open soon. Even now, there are some great activities that are as suitable for a rainy day as any other. I am always on the lookout for unique furniture, antiques, and collectables, and so I am happy to report that I do very well shopping at Centsible Treasures and CZs Secondhand, both on North Main Street, and within a block of one another. In the past couple of months, I’ve picked up two antique chairs and an Eastlake lamp, vintage maps, and some great kitchenware. There is also Golden Finch Frame and Gallery (one of the best frame shops in the business, which carries a good selection of art prints as well), Lowry’s books, the third largest bookstore in the state and a VERY easy place to lose yourself for an afternoon, and World Fare, a fair trade store that keeps me supplied in chocolate and coffee, and stocks some exceptionally nice clothing, regional souvenirs, and housewares. That’s five stores to keep in mind I’ll tell you more about why I love it here soon, but for now, suffice it to say that this is a great place. In the meantime, keep up on businesses and doings by watching the Downtown Three Rivers Facebook page! We hope to see you here!   Dave

We’ve Got the Blues! Blueberry Hard Cider, Blueberry Bread/Pie, and Just Plain Ol’ Blueberries!

Thanks to everyone who came out over this past holiday weekend. It was great to have all of you here enjoying the farm!

Here’s what is on the market now:

  • Picked Blueberries: by pint, quart, 5 lb. and 10 lb. box
  • U-Pick Herbs
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Peas
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Zucchini
  • Yellow Squash
  • Greenhouse Tomatoes and Greenhouse Cucumbers
  • Green Tomatoes
  • Field Cucumbers
  • Onions: fresh-pulled with green tops
  • Red Potatoes: fresh dug!
  • Cut Flowers

Just dug red potatoes being washed by Emma-Grace!

Organic Produce:

  • Lettuce. We now offer 1# bags of certified organic lettuce for $5. Seems like a hit with customers! Lettuce is pretty good right now, a mix of baby lettuce and buttercrunch.
  • Cabbage. Becca grows caraflex lettuce, which is a smaller, “personal” size (1-2 lb. on each head) and known for its delicate, tender, sweet leaves.
  • Kale. Curly kale coming in very well right now! If you’d like a large quantity at a discount to make kale chips or other things that require a lot of kale, please call ahead and place an order. Our certified organic kale is $4/lb. for 2 lbs. or more but we do need you to call ahead so we can pick it fresh for you.
  • Collards, green garlic, garlic scapes, cucumbers, sungold cherry tomatoes, slicer tomatoes in right now too. Tomatillos, peppers, eggplant all coming soon. If you’d like us to pick you certified organic basil for pesto, please call ahead and place an order! It’s coming in very well now.

U-Pick opportunities:

Tart Cherry U-Pick: Open for picking now, there are still plenty left, but they are ripe and won’t last much longer. U-Pick pricing: $1.50/pound, over 50 pounds @ $1.25/pound.

U-Pick Blueberries: We have a relatively small field compared to most major blueberry growers (only three acres), so our u-pick blueberries are for folks who just want to come over to pick a few pounds for the experience. In order to allow everyone to have a chance to pick some, we are limiting the picking to 10 pounds per family until more are ready. We are picking “Duke” berries now. If we get picked out, we will close to allow the berries to ripen up again. So, you may want to call ahead to make sure our u-pick patch is open,  269-244-5690.

    • The hours for u-pick will be 8 until 5:45 each day, must be finished and checked out by 6 at market.
    • Pricing will be $2.00 a pound to pick (this makes it about $3.50 a quart).
    • We will have them off and on probably through most of the month of July.
    • We have buckets for you to pick in and boxes to send them home in.
    • For anyone who wants large quantities, we would recommend Brookside Farms as a great place to go. They are located in Paw Paw, their phone number is 269-657-3500 or find them online at:  http://brooksidefarmsmi.com/

Bakery Update: A popular favorite returns this weekend with blueberries and zucchini now in season: yes, the famous blueberry-zucchini bread! This is a labor-intensive bread to make (come watch us grate bushels of zucchini if you don’t believe it!). So we do have a limited supply we can make per day. We know that many of you like to freeze this bread, so it would help us if you could place those orders with us and we will call you when we can fill those. This allows us to have as much on hand as we can to ensure everyone can get a loaf or two. Just call us at 269-244-5690 for bread orders or anything else you would like to order.

Bakery offerings for the weekend will be:

  • Cookies: Zucchini Chocolate Chip, Cut Out Sugar, Monster (chocolate chips, M&M’s peanut butter and oatmeal), Iced Lemon, Peanut Butter, Ginger Molasses, S’mores, and Cherry White Chocolate Chip
  • Pies: Blueberry, Blueberry Rhubarb, Cherry,  Peach, and Strawberry Rhubarb. We will also have Blueberry Glaze pie available Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
  • Bread: Blueberry-Zucchini, Whole Wheat, Cinnamon, Italian, Whole Grain, Honey Oat, Vegetable and Tuscan, as well as Hamburger Buns and Hot Dog Buns. We are partnering again with La Brea bakery this year and will have the following breads: Semolina Cheese, Roasted Garlic Loaf, Sourdough, and Jalapeño Cheese
  • Cinnamon Rolls and Pecan Sticky Buns
  • Assorted Dessert Bars
  • Muffins: Banana Nut, Blueberry, Lemon Poppyseed, Pistachio, Raisin Bran, Chocolate,  and Cherry Almond. 
  • Donuts: We will have our Blueberry, Buttermilk, and Cherry Cake Donuts available Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We will also have Cherry Fritters, Vanilla Fluff Longjohns, Yeast Twists, Bavarian Cream (Custard) Longjohns, Raspberry Bismarks, and Yeast Rings (available all week)
  • Slushies – Apple Cider, Grape
  • Michaela putting the whipped cream on the blueberry glaze pies! Yum!

Alcohol offerings: Blueberry cider is back, and so is Afternoon Cider! Other bottled cider: Rhubarbary Coast (rhubarb), Sweet Cider, Ginger Cider, Prince Tribute Cider, Hopped Cider, Brunch Cider (maple/vanilla), and Bark Bite (smoked hickory/oak). We have cherry wine and Kaiser Cyser as well. We’ll have a few additional ciders on tap during our hard cider happy hour. This weekend we’ll have tastings:

  • Friday from 4-6
  • Saturday from 3-6

Stop on by to sample some cider. On tap during tasting: Prince Tribute, Ginger, Bark Bite, Blueberry, Strawberry, Cherry/Sage, Rhubarb, Brunch, and Hopped cider. If we run out of one thing, we may replace it with something else, so get it while you can! Feel free to bring your own clean 32 oz. or 64 oz. growler if you’d like one filled, or buy a new growler here at the market to take home fresh draft cider. And of course, we have our usual brandy house tours with Bruce from 1-3 on Saturdays, and full range of brandy offerings.

Happenings on the farm: Sweet cherries and strawberries have come and gone for another year, now we will begin the process of renovating the strawberry fields for maintenance and next year’s production. So when you see them cut off and the rows cut down in size, not to worry, that’s all part of the process.

We irrigated and irrigated and irrigated, and then weeded everywhere due to the weeds which thrive under any adverse weather condition! The heat of the last few days has hurried along growth on heat loving crops, like zucchini and yellow squash. We have our annual “too many squash” problem so we have a special on, please find a way to work these into your menu (a spiralizer to make noodles out of zucchini and yellow squash really helps here!). All of the cauliflower is ready at the same time too, it is just beautiful. We have some great recipes available at the market for new ways to use this.

Today’s cauliflower harvest

Sweet corn, green beans, eggplant, peppers and field tomatoes are moving along faster with this heat. Everyone is ready for sweet corn….we hope to have within a week.  We have lots of varieties planted, all selected for sweetness! With the field tomatoes coming along, we will start to transition from the greenhouse to those. Which means, we will start harvesting green tomatoes for the market now: yep, fried green tomato time!

Field tomatoes are coming along great

This week we spent some time with Dave Vago, Executive Director of the Three Rivers DDA/Main Street program. It was exciting to hear his updates about the activities planned to rejuvenate my hometown. “Back in the day” you could get everything you needed in Three Rivers. There were multiple clothing stores, shoe stores, a wonderful five and dime store with a soda fountain counter, drugstores and the still existing Riviera Theatre. And a there was a huge JC Penney store for if you couldn’t find it, you could order it!  All this was within the confines of the walkable downtown. So when I returned to this area in 2008 to my parent’s farm, it was disheartening to see the change that sadly is typical of small town America.

Our family is committed to this area and are working to support the community in every way that we can to have it be the vibrant town of yesteryear…. I have invited Dave to share updates in our weekly blog postings to keep all of us informed.    You will find these updates at the end of the posts. Please give us some feedback on what else you’d like to know about  our surrounding community. Truly, there are many hidden gems we hope to make sure you know about and enjoy as much as we do. It is a pleasure to walk Three Rivers’ walking trails, enjoy the downtown shops that still exist, grab pizza and a movie at the Riviera and we are grateful for Dave’s work revitalizing the city.

Everyone at Corey Lake Orchards appreciates you buying local.  Hope to see you soon.

57 N. Main St. – Three Rivers, MI 49093
 
As you well know, there is a lot to see and do among our lakes and farms, but you might not know what downtown Three Rivers has to offer. As such, Beth has invited me to be a part of this newsletter, so that you will know what exciting things you can come downtown and experience. Three Rivers features one of Michigan’s most intact Victorian commercial districts, and it has been showing some encouraging, new signs of life. Even today, it features a number of venues, events, and activities that are compatible with a pleasant summer or fall evening for the vacationer or leisure lake dweller. We’ve got a new brewery on Main Street with a fantastic product and a very nice, low-key vibe, and a historic theater that presents an eclectic mix of live music and stage performances and movies of all kinds nearly every night. It also features one of the classier small-town bars in southwest Michigan. We have other retail and service businesses you might like, whether you want a haircut or color, you need a massage, or you just like to shop for curios and decor. There are more drinking and dining businesses under development, and if they aren’t open before you leave, you’ll see them when you return. We expect to have even more on the radar by next summer. In the meantime, we have a host of events, including a First Fridays series where we host themed entertainment and activities, and our businesses stay open late, and a great, 10-hour, free outdoor concert on Labor Day weekend. The First Friday for August the 4th will be “Sass in the City,” a ladies’ night on the town. There’s a lot happening in Downtown Three Rivers, and more on the horizon. Stay tuned to this space for more, and we hope you’ll check us out!   Dave Vago