We remain closed for the winter season, but are always happy to meet you by appointment (just call us at 269-244-5690) if you need any of the following:
- Baked goods: frozen take and bake pies
- Alcohol products: hard ciders, brandy, or wine
- Other: honey, maple syrup and meat
- Animal apples: bring containers
- Vegetables: certified organic spinach, carrots, kale, lettuce, scallions, garlic available all winter long (grown in our sun-heated hoophouse)
As of now we have organic produce for sale at World Fare in downtown Three Rivers. They are open Tuesday through Saturday and our refrigerator is in the back of the store – we tend to re-fill it on Tuesday nights so Wednesday through Saturday are the best days to go for fresh produce.
Happenings on the Farm: The pace is picking up here, probably most noted by our UPS worker with frequent deliveries of seeds, planting materials, containers, and other items. One of the more interesting packages that got delivered was a box of certified organic ginger from Hawaii, which is now curing for future ginger production here.
Below, you can see that Becca has cut the ginger “hands” into “fingers” to sprout indoors now and eventually plant outside in the hoophouse. Because the crop won’t reach full maturity in Michigan, we should have some baby ginger in autumn that has very thin skin and tender flesh, and a beautiful soft pink/gold coloring. We’ll see!
Signs that spring is coming are everywhere with the time change, birds returning and crocus’s up, we’re grateful winter is hanging on for a bit, keeping our orchards and vineyards in dormancy until true spring arrives.
The tomato plants are thriving in the greenhouse, many more flats of seeds have been planted and the famous lettuce bowls are now seeded to be ready by May. There’s no better place to be on these sunny days of late then working in short sleeves inside the greenhouse, the hoophouse, or the new caterpillar house you may have noticed that Becca has built by the old schoolhouse. This mini-tunnel will grow protected organic heirloom tomatoes and basil, both of which are extremely sensitive to rainwater on their leaves and thrive with a little protection. It’s an experiment for this year, but we hope it turns out (and doesn’t blow away).
The season’s planning meetings have started, where we look at data and records from last year. Our goal is quite simple: repeat and try to do even better with products our customers loved, and of course, work hard on fixing or stopping what we didn’t do so well!
Becca is now logging more hours in the cidery and after yesterday’s trip to Maple Row Sugar House in Jones to get Maple Syrup, we can count on Brunch Cider coming back which was a hit last year. We also sell their maple syrup here at the market. Many of the orchard team attended their maple syrup festival over the last two weekends and had a great experience.
Education, both formal and informal, is a big part of the winter timeframe. We have to be on top of what new varieties on are on the market, what new tools could help us be more effective, and track all of the food safety law changes, pesticide application changes, and other regulations.
One of this week’s formal learning was a one-day Michigan peach growers’ meeting. With peaches being such a difficult crop to grow in Michigan’s varying climate, hanging out with 70 other farmers who have similar worries was a pleasant experience. Some peach trends that caused lots of conversation was the significant decline in peach acreage in Michigan (customers are just not buying in large quantities and canning like they used to), the difficulty in getting new peach tree nursery stock (need to order 3 years in advance!), and how the introduction of the stony hard peach varieties was being accepted in the marketplace. These are peaches that remain firm and even crunchy when ripe, earning the name “neat” peach since you don’t get the “juice dripping down your chin” effect….a change for sure.
So, we remain busy preparing for this year’s season and can’t wait to see our customers return. Everyone at Corey Lake Orchards thanks you for buying local!