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

Who Is Loving These Cool Nights? The Apples!

Happy Labor Day Weekend! We will be open all weekend from 8 – 6 every day, including Monday AND we will be opening u-pick for apples for your weekend enjoyment. This perfect apple growing weather allows the apples to ripen slowly, gain some nice size, get some beautiful red blushes of color and most important–develop great flavor. We’ve never had weather like this leading up to apples so we’re quite happy about the results.

And while most of us are loving the long sleeve and “pull a blanket around you nights,” many feel like they didn’t get enough summer. These unseasonably cool nights make us wish we could put long sleeves and blankets on our heat loving crops like tomatoes and sweet corn. So while our last planting of sweetcorn was perfectly timed to hit this weekend, Mother Nature did not cooperate. We are keeping a close eye on the corn daily and will pick what is ready for the weekend. There will be some!

Ready or not, the weather has jump-started fall and we’re “falling” into the season earlier than normal. Fall produce is dominating the market as the summer produce wanes.

Apples are here!

  • 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)
  • Paula Red: a tart apple for eating or cooking, available by the 1/4 peck or 1/2 peck
  • 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 are thrilled they are ready in time for the weekend.  Sold by the pound only.($2)

  • We are opening up U-pick Apples this weekend for you to be able to pick your own. The varieties available will be:  Gala, Jon-A-Mac, and Mollie’s Delicious. We know that many of you will be around for the weekend and would like to have the “apple picking experience” with your family, especially so the kids can have apples they picked themselves for their lunch box and to give to their teacher!! (Do they still do that??) After this weekend, the U-Pick will close again until more apples are ready, please check back for a date probably mid to the end of September.
  •  Apple picking will be available on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Labor Day Monday, during the hours we are open which is 8 until 6. We need everyone checked out 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 containers to pick them in.
  • Apple Pricing for the year: Our apple pricing is the same as last 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. Pick up a copy at the market or find one at the end of this update.

Here’s what is on the market now or coming by this weekend if you can find them with all of the apples out!

FRUIT

  • Cantalope and Watermelon
  • Bartlett Pears: Available by the bushel or in smaller quantities. The Bartlett pear is a good eating and canning pear, very sweet and juicy. We will have them about one more week. 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 $35 a bushel, $18 a half bushel, and we also have them in eating size quantities. You may wonder why the pears are picked and sold green, this is a characteristic of pears. They must ripen off the tree, if not, then they will ripen from the inside out and be mushy. They will easily ripen for you if you will lay them out in a single layer when you get home in a dry, cool place, then wait for them to turn yellow, and enjoy!
  • Stanley Prune Plums:  by the quart, 2 quart and peck
  • Fredonia Grapes: Available in 1 and 2 quart boxes. This is a purple seeded grape similar to a Concord grape.
  • Peaches are gone for the year…we all so enjoyed them this year!
  • Tomatoes from the field are coming in, but slower with the cool nights. 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 $20 a bushel or $11 a half bushel.
    • “Seconds” Tomatoes (have blemishes or are misshapen) are $14 a bushel… This is great for making sauce, juice or salsa.
    • It is best to call us to pre-order bushels of tomatoes to make sure we have them picked,. especially with these cool nights.  269-244-5690.
    • 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.
  •  We have sooo many tomatoes...

VEGETABLES

  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Zucchini
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Winter squash: Butternut, Acorn and Buttercup
  • Field Tomatoes
  • Green Tomatoes
  • Onions, including the Specialty onions:  Red Torpedo Tropea, Red Marble Cippolini, and Borrettana Cippolini are in. These are incredible for cooking or roasting
  • Shallots
  • Peppers–all kinds and colors from sweet to hot  Check out our chocolate habanero!
  • Eggplant
  • Potatoes (now available by the bushel for your winter use–$25 around 50 pounds)
  • Green Beans
  • Sweet Corn (a little)
  • U-Pick Herbs
  • Fall Ornamentals of gourds, colorful mums and mini pumpkins

And….while this may not be produce–check out our new selections of Mad Mats…these are perfect for dorm rooms!

Grape Update: You can smell the grapes now and they are turning color and softening.  We will take a sugar sample of grapes the week of 9-11, 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 9-18 and the purple grapes the week of 9-25. 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.

Certified Organic Produce:  

  • Sungold Cherry Tomatoes – super sweet, like candy! We’ll have these only another week or two (Becca has to rip out the plants from the hoophouse and put in winter spinach).
  • Winter squash (red kuri)
  • Garlic! Get it while it lasts, we have almost sold out.
  • Lettuce, though it’s lagging from the hot weather. Lettuce is often a bit slow in August due to the sun and heat..yes, heat from three or four weeks ago still affects our lettuce crop now. Call ahead and have us save you some if you know you want it – 269 244 5690.
  • Cabbage
  • Kale
  • Cucumbers
  • Roma Paste Tomatoes, Slicer Tomatoes
  • Eggplant – check out the Listada di Gandia, with its purple and white striped flesh. Very tender skin, excellent flavor, and just gorgeous color
  • Peppers
  • Basil

The bakery takes on a fall feel this weekend as well. Our Fall donut flavors are back: apple and pumpkin cake donuts!  Also you will find pear pie (a must try) along with fresh made apple pie and apple fritters.

Bakery offerings for the weekend will be:

  • Cookies: Cut Out, Caramel Apple, Monster (chocolate chips, M&M’s peanut butter and oatmeal), Iced Lemon, Coconut Pecan, Ginger Molasses, S’mores, and Cherry White Chocolate Chip
  • Pies: Apple, Blueberry, Cherry, Peach, Pear, and Strawberry Rhubarb
  • Bread: 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 Apple. 
  • Donuts: We will have our Apple Cider, Buttermilk, and Pumpkin Cake Donuts available Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.  + We will also have Apple Fritters, Vanilla Fluff Longjohns, Yeast Twists, Bavarian Cream (Custard) Longjohns, Raspberry Bismarks, and Yeast Rings (available all week)
  • Slushies – Grape
  • Look for our “take and bake” pies for you to stock up on in your freezer (for you to indulge in). As we work to stock up,  please feel free to order and we can get them ready. “Take and bake” pie choices are all large-9″ pies and available flavors are: Rhubarb, Blueberry, Cherry,  Peach, and Strawberry Rhubarb and Blueberry Rhubarb. Note: no frozen apple pies are available until the Northern Spy apples get ready.
  • While in the bakery take advantage of our local meat from Mill Lake Farm: Meat from Mill Lake Farms.  http://www.coreylakeorchards.com/other-products/mill-lake-farm-meats/. We have all of the grillables like brats, kielbasa, and steaks for your weekend cookouts. And of course, bacon for one of the last BLTs of the summer. Also this is a good time to stock up on roasts that can go in the crockpot which warms the kitchen as autumn arrives. If this is one of your last weekends here at the lake, bring an extra cooler to take frozen meat home to enjoy later, especially nice to go with any fruit or vegetables that you might have put in the freezer earlier this year.

Alcohol offerings: Standard Dry and Black Currant/Cacao, Afternoon, Cherry/Sage, Blueberry, Sweet Cider, Ginger, Hopped, and Preach (pear/peach cider). 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
  • Sunday from 1-4

Stop on by to sample some cider. On tap right now: Black Currant/Cacao, Afternoon, 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. 

Happenings on the farm this week:  Another week of heavy harvest, bringing in all of the onions, melons, and plums. Then we started the winter squash harvest along with gourds and mini-pumpkins. The apple harvest started in full force. Today our crew picked most of the MacIntosh to get them off the tree while at their peak ripeness.

Bin after bin of apples coming in from the orchard today

We began readying the cider mill – and we anticipate having cider by mid-September.

We worked on our new children’s maze for this year, which has a cover crop theme. This maze was planted, designed, and cut by our student intern, Charity Green. Thanks, Charity, great job!  She will be finishing it up tomorrow so we can have it open on Saturday. This is a small children’s maze, for toddlers up to around 8 years old, we think all ages will enjoy it and learn from it.

Charity cutting the maze

Three River’s Harmony Fest is this weekend.  This is a great event, great music and you can enjoy our hard ciders there! It is on Labor Day Sunday, for more info go to:  https://www.facebook.com/HarmonyFest/events

Here’s hoping you have a safe and great weekend and we hope to see you at the farm.  

Everyone at Corey Lake Orchards thanks you for buying local. 

___________________________________________________________________________

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 update from Dave Vago, Executive Director of DDA, Three Rivers.

If you have been following these, you might notice that I often write about food. This is, after all, an orchard newsletter, but I also like good food. I do not think I am alone in that regard, but I am grateful to live where the food is plentiful and exceptional. I was reminded of this a few nights ago, eating a pizza from the Riviera Theatre. Though my childhood summers were spent here, my home was on the east coast, and I’d put their pies on par with the better city pizza shops there.

This week’s pie included some amazing orange cherry tomatoes. Nothing beats a good tomato, ever. This was a take-out pie, so I couldn’t directly inquire of the source, but I suspect they were local. For me, they recalled a lifelong association between Three Rivers and great tomatoes. My grandfather grew them in his garden next to Black Cat Alley, and when I first tried one, it was a revelation against which I still judge all tomatoes.

Today, I get produce three ways. One is through an excellent, local crop share. Second is through frequent dining in downtown Three Rivers at the Riviera Theatre, Rooster’s Wing Shack, and Kelsey Block brewery. Third is through the Corey Lake Orchards stand. I am grateful to Corey Lake for letting me write here, but I am at least as grateful to them for tomatoes that wholly invoke my grandfather’s, and for peaches and blueberries that are the essence of Michigan summers.

Your opportunities to eat well here are nearly limitless, so please, get out and eat! Meanwhile, if you’re around for Labor Day weekend, HarmonyFest – our all-afternoon outdoor concert – is happening on Sunday, September 3rd from 1 to 11 pm on Main Street. There will be six great acts covering a range of American roots genres, a very nicely put-together beer garden that will include Corey Lake ciders……and, of course, some really great food. We look forward to seeing you there!

Best, Dave

2017 Apple Estimate Chart

Variety       Crop Size Estimate Will U-Pick be Available when they are ready? Apples in red ink will be available to pick this Labor Day weekend only.  Others later. Approximate Week Ready–Please check back as weather will can change timing earlier or later Should order in advance
Braeburn good no 2-Oct no
Cameo good yes 9-Oct no
Cortland lots yes 11-Sep no
Earli Blaze lots no 28-Aug no
Fuji good yes 9-Oct no
Gala Lots yes 28-Aug no
Golden Delicious lots yes 25-Sep no
Golden Supreme few no 25-Sep yes
Honey Crisp lots no 4-Sep no
Ida Red few yes 25-Sep yes
JonaMac lots yes 4-Sep no
JonaGold good no 18-Sep no
Jonathon good yes 18-Sep no
Macintosh good yes 28-Aug no
Molly’s Del good yes 28-Aug no
Mutsu few yes 25-Sep yes
Northern Spy good yes 25-Sep no
Nu-Red good yes 25-Sep no
Pink Lady few yes 16-Oct yes
Red Delicious lots yes 25-Sep no
Rome lots yes 16-Oct no

 

**Children’s Maze Trail information:

  • Learn about the importance of cover crops
  • Find fun activity stops, make a craft
  • Enter your name for weekly prize giveaways!

Entrance into the maze is free with any $10 purchase at the market. Upon your purchase, you will be given a ticket for entrance. Please fill this out with your name, email address and phone number and place it in the box at the entrance. We will do a drawing once a week for various prizes from our market!

Information for Adults:

  1. Please pick up a map of the trail if you would like to see how to get through it and where the activity spots are
  2. No children are to be unattended in the trail. An adult must be supervising at all times
  3. Please help us put each of the activity stations back in order so they’re ready for the next person when you leave
  4. Please be careful walking through the maze as there are many natural hazards (an occasional rock, an uneven surface, a honeybee, etc.)
  5. Due to uneven surface, strollers will not easily go through the walkway (wagons will)
  6. Please stay on the path and the mowed grass
  7. Please do not take food or drinks into the area (you will only invite a bee to want to come with you!)
  8. No pets, please
  9. Absolutely no smoking anywhere in or near the maze
  10. You may peek into our greenhouse and hoophouse structures from a distance, but please do not go in them. There is important farm work happening and they are closed to the public
  11. Please watch for vehicles when crossing the driveway to the entrance
  12. We close at 6 pm, so please be out of the trail by 5:45