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

U-Pick: Apples! Grapes! Pumpkins! (And U-Pick Donuts and Hard Cider Too…)

Everyone here, including our orchards, vineyards and fields, are happy to have fall weather back. It is supposed to be a beautiful weekend and we hope you are able to make your way out to the farm to enjoy fall fun.

Hmmm, finish this great apple or play?

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 pumpkins
  • U-pick white Niagara grapes and purple Concord grapes are ready–See info below
  • “U-pick” from our fall donut varieties: apple cider, pumpkin and buttermilk
  • Tour and tasting of our brandies and hard ciders happy hours–see info below
  • And of course, all of our usual market offerings including freshly squeezed apple cider
  • 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:

Picked Apples on the market: *denotes apples which will be available starting Saturday, 9-30.

We are offering specials on three apple varieties: Gala, Jona-Mac and Cortland. Buy 2 half bushels ($24) and get another 1/2 bushel free (can mix and match).  These 3 combined make a wonderful apple sauce needing no sugarApples are ripening faster than we have cold storage space.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 “Spies for pies.” We are currently using it in our pies in the bakery.
  • Red Delicious: America’s most popular apple “back in the day.” Best for fresh eating and snacks. Full-flavored sweet taste.
  • 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 left.
  • 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 left.
  • *Cameo: Firm, crisp and sweet, tart. Great for snaking or baking. Keeps well in your refrigerator
  • *Braeburn: Sweet with a hint of tart and a firmness that stores well. Very versatile apple that bakes well and great for fresh eating.

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 Reds
  • Mutsu (only a few left)
  • Northern Spies
  • Cameo
  • Just a few Fuji are ready, would encourage you to wait if you really want to pick these

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!

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–just a few left by the pound now. 
  • 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
  • Red Potatoes
  • U-Pick Herbs
  • Fall Ornamentals of gourds, colorful mums, colorful fall corn and mini pie pumpkins
  • Pumpkins

Certified Organic Produce:  

  • Winter squash (red kuri, a Hubbard squash type)
  • Lettuce (limited due to the week of 90 degree temperatures)
  • Kale
  • Roma Paste Tomatoes, Slicer Tomatoes
  • Eggplant
  • Peppers
  • Basil

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: Hometown Hero is back! We won a silver award for this blackberry, elderberry, rose hip cider, and we hope you like it too. Also bottled: we still have Afternoon, Blueberry, Dry, Hopped, Preach (pear/peach cider), Semi-Sweet, and Sweet. 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. 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: The extreme heat has made for a difficult week here, so you might have heard a collective sigh of relief when it finally broke yesterday and fall returned. Those unprecedented 6 days of heat caused damage to the remaining field crops (like winter squash, peppers, tomatoes) so you won’t find these abundant on the market like before. If you are out apple picking, you will notice some sunburned apples in some places where the leaves didn’t cover and dropped apples on the ground, again, heat damage. Our foliage on the grapes was heavy enough to protect those thankfully. We have tried our best to keep our produce on the market protected from the heat, but even this became a challenge. We apologize if you find an occasional apple in your bag that didn’t keep well.

Becca had her annual organic inspection this week as well. This is when a certified inspector comes out to double-check everything and make sure we’re following organic laws (and keeping up with the mountains of paperwork). Looks like we’ll be good for another year!

As the apple ripening accelerated we had to move apples out of the cold storage to make room to save everything we were picking–so you may have noticed several food bank trucks in our driveways helping us to make room. One way to turn a problem into something positive for folks who can use and enjoy them.

We moved our crew’s starting time to 5 am on those hot days, using that time to bag apples, make and jug cider in our lighted areas so that when the sun came up around 7:15 am we could go right to the orchards and vineyards and then finish by noon for the day. It was actually enjoyable to be strolling around the farm that early, under the clear and starry skies so I decided to forgo using a flashlight. Two mornings in a row, I forgot that we had set up the “Bowling for Butternut squash” game on the walkway. So yes, both mornings my feet were the bowling ball, instead of the small pumpkins! I am grateful that I didn’t hurt myself and actually excited that I got hit a strike each morning, getting all of the squash to fall down! Try our bowling game next time you are here, but don’t cheat and use your feet!

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 9-30 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