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

Fall Farm Fun, In Spite of the Heat

It may feel like summer, but one look at the farm with all of the bright fall colors, you will soon know that this is just another Mother Nature “surprise.” Our fall fun on the farm will go on–you may just want to try to make it a morning experience when it is slightly cooler (or come during happy hour when you can get a nice cold hard cider). The good news is we have plenty of grapes, apples and pumpkins to pick, so picking goes quickly. Grape picking this week has delighted many customers–saying this is the best picking we have had here in years!

 

Happenings on the farm this weekend you should check out: 

  • U-pick apples with lots of varieties to choose from–See info below
  • U-pick pumpkin patch opens Saturday–See info below
  • U-pick white Niagara grapes and purple Concord grapes are ready–See info below
  • Apple cider, pumpkin and buttermilk donuts & more in the bakery
  • Tour and tasting of our brandies and hard ciders happy hours–see info below
  • Our driveway overflowing with squash and more squash. gourds, mums and pumpkins
  • And of course, all of our usual market offerings including freshly squeezed apple cider**available starting Saturday
  • Our “small children’s” cover crop maze–free with a $10 purchase
  • Spookley the Square Pumpkin story boards set up in our play area to enjoy with your family–a wonderful story about diversity, bullying and embracing everyone
  • We’ve set up great places to take family photos and would love to have you share them with us on our Facebook page, Instagram or Yelp.  It makes us happy to see you having fun:)

 Here’s what’s on the market now:

Apple Cider:  We are currently out and will have more available on Saturday.  Call first to make sure we have some before you drive out.

Picked Apples on the market: *denotes apples which will be available starting Saturday, 9-23.

  • 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.
  • 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)
  • Macintosh: This is a soft, white fleshed apple, very popular for baking and applesauce.
  • NovaMac: this is a new apple (daughter of a MacIntosh) that I just love! It has the taste of a MacIntosh but is a crisp apple unlike the normal softer Macintosh. Try one when you are here!
  • Cortland: A hint of tartness makes this a great baking variety, A descendent of the McIntosh, this variety is a bit sweeter than its ancestor. Juices really well.
  • *Jonathan: Pretty and popular, used for fresh eating and cooking, a favorite for apple butter and taffy apples.
  • Northern Spy: The professional baker’s dream, cooks up well in applesauce, pie and other dishes. Stores well, easy to remember by saying:  Spy’s for pies. We are currently using it in our pies in the bakery. ***Would encourage you to let these mellow a bit before using…they are just picked and quite firm.
  • *Red Delicious: America’s most popular apple “back in the day.” Best for fresh eating and snacks. Full-flavored sweet taste.
  • Early Fuji: Fantastic sweet and tart flavor, with a low acid content, an incredibly good keeper. Stays for weeks without being refrigerated.  Our late Fuji we will be picking soon.
  • Golden Delicious:  A gingery-smooth, sweet taste under a thin skin. It’s the most popular yellow apple, good eaten fresh, baked or cut in salads.
  • *Mutsu: Moderately sweet flavor with firm, juicy, and creamy, white flesh.  Excellent for eating, sauce, juice and baking, stores well. Only have a few.
  • *Ida Red: Eat fresh or for cooking, taste is both tangy and tart. Flesh is white, crisp and juicy. Texture holds up well when baked.  Only have a few.

So many beautiful Golden Delicious this year

U-Pick Apples is open now for the season, with the following varieties ready to pick.   The varieties ready now are:

  • Red and Golden Delicious
  • Cortland
  • Jonathan
  • Ida Red6+
  • Mutsu (only a few left)
  • Northern Spies

U-Pick apples are available during our normal hours of 8 to 6 (must be out of the orchard by 5:45). Please check in at the main market on Corey Lake Road before you start. You will be driving to the orchards–so when you arrive, please have one person come into the market to get directions, information, baskets and bags and you’ll be on your way. (We’ve seen very unhappy children who get out of the car excited to pick, only to have to return to the car and drive to the orchard!) The varieties you can pick this weekend are:

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.

U-Pick Pumpkins:  Check in at the market first for directions….and do remember this is a real pumpkin patch where there will no doubt be some mud, a few weeds, some poky pumpkin vines—so dress accordingly for the experience!

Who is ready to pick and carry out a big pumpkin??

U-Pick Grapes:

  • White Niagara and Purple Concord grapes are open for picking.
  • Picking hours: Our picking hours are 8 am to 6 pm, we ask that you be finished and checked out by 6, except for Tuesday and Thursdays, where we will stay open until 8 pm (must be checked into the market by 6pm).
  • Please check in at the main market on Corey Lake Road before you start. You will be directed to the vineyard in which we are picking that day and be assigned rows to pick on by our vineyard and orchard supervisor.
  • Grape sweetness: Both varieties of grapes measured at 15.5  brix last week which means they are even sweeter now.
  • Grape Availability: We have a good crop of grapes and expect to have them until the first frost. Of course the weather and the number of people that come to pick could change that.

If you are coming to pick grapes, please bring clippers, scissors, 5 gallon buckets and small wagons if you have them. Some of our rows are very long! If you don’t have 5 gallon buckets to pick in, we will loan you ours, but please bring something to take your grapes back home in. (Boxes, plastic tubs, etc.)

  • 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.

Here’s what else is on the market now:

  • Watermelon
  • Pears–Bosc  This is a beautiful, large, firm, sweet eating pear, that keeps very well. (Not a canning pear)
  • Tomatoes
    • “Firsts” Tomatoes are $20 a bushel or $11 a half bushel.  Please order in advance.
    • “Seconds” Tomatoes (have blemishes or are misshapen) are $14 a bushel… This is great for making sauce, juice or salsa.
    • Please 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. 
  • Cabbage
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Winter squash: Butternut, Acorn, Buttercup, Heart of Gold, Sweet Dumpling and Delicata.
  • 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)
  • U-Pick Herbs
  • Fall Ornamentals of gourds, colorful mums, colorful fall corn and mini pie pumpkins

Certified Organic Produce:  

  • Winter squash (red kuri)
  • Lettuce
  • Kale
  • 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

Mushrooms! Becca took advantage of all the extra branches from the electrical line work at the farm this spring and has begun growing mushrooms on logs. We have oyster mushrooms for sale this weekend. They are not certified organic. We’re hoping to get them certified during our upcoming 2017 inspection though, and they are grown using organic techniques. These will be coming in slowly, in part because of the cool weather and in part because this year’s logs were a small trial batch. Try some if you can get them and let us know what you think!

Update from the bakery:  We were happy to see the Cortland apples coming in as those are what we use to make our apple dumplings which have become a real customer favorite.  So we will have those starting this weekend.

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,Pumpkin and Strawberry Rhubarb
  • Apple Dumplings
  • 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, and Sunday. 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.

Alcohol offerings: Sweet, Semi-Sweet, Standard Dry and Black Currant/Cacao ciders are all fresh this month, and we still have Afternoon, Cherry/Sage, Blueberry, 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

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.   These take place in our brandy distrillery room which is not air conditioned, just warning you with the hot summer days forecasted this weekend!

Bagged golden delicious for our customers

Happenings on the farm this week:  We continued to put the finishing fall touches on the farm,  getting the old white truck out, making scarecrows, and setting pumpkins out all over the farm.  We certainly have felt it all this week:  Starting the week with sweatshirts on, then donning raincoats for several days, then digging out our summer clothes again, only to be drenched with sweat from the minute we started this morning.   Pure Michigan weather with all of its offerings!  We picked so many apples (while it was cool), we packed so many apples (while it was hot).  With so many apples coming in early and the heat accelerating their ripening schedules, we got creative about using every inch of space in our coolers.   There was no problem finding willing employees to work in the cooler today rearranging and organizing apples to make more room!

Granddaughter Emma Grace helped me put all of the pumpkins out along the parking lot!

 

 

Everyone at Corey Lake Orchards thanks you for buying local and hopes to see you soon.

 

 

 

 

 

Variety       Crop Size Estimate Will U-Pick be Available when they are ready? Red means they are ready now. 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 Ready now no
Earli Blaze lots all picked Gone no
Fuji good yes 9-Oct no
Gala Lots all picked Ready now no
Golden Delicious lots yes Ready now no
Golden Supreme few no 25-Sep yes
Honey Crisp lots no Ready now no
Ida Red few yes Ready now yes
Jona Mac lots all picked Ready now no
JonaGold good all picked gone no
Jonathon good yes Ready now no
Macintosh good all picked Ready now no
Molly’s Del good all picked Ready now no
Mutsu few yes Ready now yes
Northern Spy good yes Ready now no
Pink Lady few yes 16-Oct yes
Red Delicious lots yes Ready now 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