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

Monthly Archive: July 2018

Summer brings on the Festivals!

Festivals are in full swing this summer, so find one that interests you!  One of our local favorites is the Huss Future Festival now in its 9th year. Find our produce there, donuts and even some things we are recycling in their rummage sale! It is this Saturday from 9 until 4, find out more information here:  https://www.facebook.com/events/413293669142563/

And mark your calendars for our 2nd annual All Things Local Festival:  “Downtown to Down home.”  It is Sunday August 5th from 11 to 3.   We will be hosting it again at our farm with our sponsor, River Country Tourism.  It is a celebration featuring food, drink, art, music, fitness, door prizes and many displays where you can learn more about the amazing organizations, businesses, and attractions in our community.   Information flyers will be available next week at our market, online, and in numerous other local places where you can find out more information.

Hard Ciders, Wine and Brandies: 

Preach is back! Starting Friday (July 20th)you can purchase our ever popular pear/peach hard cider in bottles.  But we can’t keg it up for the tasting area just yet, because we need to free up some kegs first.  That’s why this Friday and Saturday afternoon we’re doing 32 oz. growler fills for $5 and 64 oz. growler fills for $10. Bring your own clean growlers from home and we’ll put our sticker over them, or buy one from us!  We fill growlers during happy hour (Friday: 4-6pm, Saturday: 3-6pm).  We also have Brunch (Maple/Vanilla), Strawberry, Hopped, Afternoon (Strawberry/Chamomile), Prince Tribute, Rhubarb, Sour Cherry/Sage, Standard Dry, Standard Sweet, and Standard Semi-Sweet in bottles.

We also have our full line of Hubbard’s Brandy, Double Cherry Wine, and Kaiser Cyser. If you’re looking for our cider outside of our farm, you can visit Rooster’s Wing Shack in Three Rivers, The Riviera Theatre in Three Rivers, Dussel’s in Cassopolis, Craft Beer Cellar in Grand Rapids, and as always, The Local in Centreville, Michigan.

Brandy tasting and tours are this Saturday with Bruce from 1 – 3 in the brandy room.  Hard cider tastings are at the market 4-6 on Fridays and 3-6 on Saturdays.   Come sit and enjoy the space at the side of the market with a drink and pleasant conversation, and a view of the lake and our gardens.  We look forward to seeing you rain or shine!

Fruit offerings:

  • Blueberries–are ready!
    • Picked blueberries available now in pints, quarts, 5 lb boxes and 10 lb boxes
    • 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 (limit of 10 pounds per group) for the experience. We are open now for U-Pick.  We will be open daily until they are all picked.   We have an early and late variety, so expect them to go a few more weeks.  Feel free to call ahead to make sure there is picking going on the day you are trying to come.  269-244-5690.   If you are looking to pick a lot of blueberries, we recommend you try Brookside Farms, located in Paw Paw. They supply our picked berries and have a delightful farm for you to visit and pick at.  269-657-3500 or check their website:  https://brooksidefarmsmi.com

Here’s what else is on the market now:

  • Fresh sweet corn, green beans, broccoli, eggplant, brussel sprouts, zucchini, cucumbers, yellow summer squash, fresh dug onions, new potatoes,  field peppers
  • Greenhouse tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers
  • U-pick herbs: Find bags, scissors for cutting around the neck of the bird overlooking the herb garden.  If you haven’t tried using freshly picked herbs you will be amazed at how they punctuate your food. So bring your recipes and pick away.

Organics!  Lettuce, garlic scapes, basil, lots of cucumbers, kale, cabbage, swiss chard, carrots, and some tomatoes including cherry tomatoes from the certified organic plot.  We’ve also begun pulling some garlic bulbs for you. These are to use fresh!  We will have cured garlic for winter storage later on in the year, and will also give you recipes for pickling (which is Becca’s preferred way to store garlic for use year round).  Also, find large and small bags of basil picked on the weekends and a great recipe to make an easy vinaigrette that can be used in many ways.  Eggplants and peppers are slowly making their way in as well.

Straw: We have extra bales of straw available for your mulching needs. They are $6/bale or 4 bales for $20.

Bakery: Be sure to come see us in the bakery! If there is a favorite pie or something you want for the holiday, please feel free to call and have us save it back for you! 269-244-5690.

Bakery offerings for the weekend will be:

  • Cookies: Cut Out Sugar, M&M “Monster” Cookies, Ginger Molasses, S’mores, Cherry White Chocolate Chip, Coconut Pecan, Zucchini Chocolate Chip, and Lemon
  • Pies:  Blueberry, Cherry, Peach,  Strawberry Rhubarb, and Blueberry Glaze (available Fri, Sat, Sun)
  • Breads: Vegetable, Blueberry-zucchini, Whole Wheat, Whole Grain, Cinnamon, Vegetable, LaBrea Breads, Focaccia, Hamburger and Hotdog Buns
  • Cinnamon Rolls, Sticky Buns, Yeast Donuts
  • Blueberry coffee cake
  • Assorted muffins
  • Cake Donuts: Buttermilk, Blueberry, and Cherry (made on Friday, Saturday,  and Sunday)
  • Gluten free sensations items in bakery freezer including pies, cookies, brownies, and cinnamon rolls!!
  • Slushies (now in 2 sizes based on customer’s requests for larger size!)
  • In the bakery freezer, Plainwell Vanilla Ice Cream, for pie a la mode! Pair with a cherry and blueberry pie and you’ve got your red, white and blue!

Are you looking for larger quantities to can, pickle or freeze?  Just call or stop in the market to get on the lists we keep for bushels of pickling cucumbers, green beans, tomatoes, peppers, sweet corn and other produce.  We recommend that you wait to get sweet corn for some of our later varieties (August).  While we think the corn is good right now, it will only get better with the later-day varieties.  Many of our staff members can, freeze and pickle produce, so seek them out with your questions.

Happenings on the farm this week:

Watermelons growing!

To be honest, we have spent a good share of the week worrying about the lack of rain.   The anxiety grew as our traveling irrigation system broke down mid week and we are still waiting for parts.   These are the days when we question

Cantaloupe coming!

why we do something for a living where the largest factor for success is out of our control!  But then we all take a deep breath, put our heads together, and figure out what we can do, and move forward.  With pipes, sprinklers and driplines, we strategically chose what we could water, and then took great pride in watching how those crops responded!  The long string of sunny days really brought on the greenhouse and hoophouse cucumbers!  It is so fun to watch these vines go across the rafters and up our string supports. Please help us by taking some of these home!

The crew moved quickly last night to try to harvest every onion that was ready, before the rains that were supposed to come.   The first ones harvested were the candy onions which are large-yellow-sweet onions that are just beautiful this year.  We have had onion problems the past several years, so this year we had our onion sets planted by seed in a local greenhouse.   This has made a huge difference in onion quality so we hope you enjoy our spectacular onions.  We will be tying them today so that they can cure, in order for them to keep well.  You will see and smell them as you enter the market!

Many of you are experiencing “critter” issues in your gardens and asking us what to do.  We are as well and have no good answers, except we plant extra.  Birds, racoons and deer are doing everything they can to get water with this drought, so they are eating plants, trees, sweet corn, tomatoes and whatever else might satisfy their thirst.   Right now we are losing 25% of our sweet corn to them. 🙁

Our efforts to increase the monarch butterfly population are working!  We are finding eggs and caterpillars on the milkweed leaves.  We have several on the green market table for you to get a closer look.

Everyone at the farm hopes to see you soon. Thanks as always for buying local.

Summer’s Here, and So Are Sweet Corn and Green Beans!

The heat of the past few weeks was information enough to know that summer was here. But for many, summer really isn’t official until there are fresh green beans and just picked sweet corn. We started picking green beans on Monday, and we will pick our first sweet corn (bi-color) of the year on Friday! We checked it early this morning and sampled it right off the stalk, so sweet! Give us a little time to get it picked before you come over to get it Friday morning, please!

Since we are on the subject of heat, please do a rain dance for us…we are irrigating around the clock, but much of what we grow cannot be irrigated. Sometimes when I am out in the orchards or vineyards, I swear I hear the trees and vines sighing, as they try to get through another day without a drink.

Fruit offerings:

  • Sweet Cherries are hopefully going to return this weekend, thanks to the bumper crop in Traverse City and our desire to help out fellow farmers who have too many. So check back with us, but if all goes well, we hope to have their beautiful cherries here on the market on Saturday.
  • Tart/Sour Cherries: These are coming to an end….come in the next few days if you want to try to get a few, they are now in the tops of the trees and you will need a ladder to reach them. We are no longer picking any for the market. You must bring your own ladder!
  • Lots of cherry activity this week, as we processed them into cherry brandy (thanks Bruce) and hard cider (thanks Becca).
  • Blueberries–are ready!
    • Picked blueberries available now in pints, quarts, 5 lb boxes and 10 lb boxes
    • 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 (limit of 10 pounds per group) for the experience. We are open now for U-Pick.  We will be open daily until they are all picked.   We have an early and late variety, so expect them to go a few more weeks.  Feel free to call ahead to make sure there is picking going on the day you are trying to come.  269-244-5690.   If you are looking to pick a lot of blueberries, we recommend you try Brookside Farms, located in Paw Paw. They supply our picked berries and have a delightful farm for you to visit and pick at.  269-657-3500 or check their website:  https://brooksidefarmsmi.com

Here’s what else is on the market now:

  • Fresh sweet corn, green beans, broccoli, zucchini, cucumbers, yellow summer squash, fresh dug onions, cauliflower, peppers, red potatoes and peas
  • Greenhouse tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers
  • U-pick herbs: Find bags, scissors for cutting around the neck of the bird overlooking the herb garden.  If you haven’t tried using freshly picked herbs you will be amazed at how they punctuate your food. So bring your recipes and pick away.

Organics! Lettuce, garlic scapes, basil, lots of cucumber, kale, cabbage, swiss chard, carrots, and some tomatoes including cherry tomatoes from the certified organic plot. We’ve also begun pulling some garlic bulbs for you. These are to use fresh! We will have cured garlic for winter storage later on in the year, and will also give you recipes for pickling (which is Becca’s preferred way to store garlic for use year round). Also, find large and small bags of basil picked on the weekends and a great recipe to make an easy vinaigrette that can be used in many ways. Eggplants and peppers are slowly making their way in as well.

Straw: We have extra bales of straw available for your mulching needs. They are $6/bale or 4 bales for $20.

Hard Ciders, Wine and Brandies: Becca bottled up Cherry Sage Cider this week! And Strawberry Cider and Afternoon Cider are both back! We’ve also got our Prince Tribute Cider, Brunch, Rhubarb, Ginger, Dry, Semi-Sweet, Sweet, Hopped, and Bark Bite. If you’re interested in a mead, our new United Squash Federation features a really mellow blend of ingredients, most notably buttercup squash and caramel. It’s just a really soft, nice mead that comes in at about 8% alcohol by volume. We also have our full line of Hubbard’s Brandy, Double Cherry Wine, and Kaiser Cyser. If you’re looking for our cider outside of our farm, you can visit Rooster’s Wing Shack in Three Rivers, The Riviera Theatre in Three Rivers, Dussel’s in Cassopolis, Craft Beer Cellar in Grand Rapids, and as always, The Local in Centreville, Michigan.

Brandy tasting and tours are this Saturday with Bruce from 1 – 3 in the brandy room. Hard cider tastings are at the market 4-6 on Fridays and 3-6 on Saturdays. We’ll have many of our ciders on tap for flights and growler fills as well. Come sit and enjoy the space at the side of the market with a drink and pleasant conversation, and a view of the lake and our gardens. We look forward to seeing you rain or shine!

Bakery: Be sure to come see us in the bakery! If there is a favorite pie or something you want for the holiday, please feel free to call and have us save it back for you! 269-244-5690.

Bakery offerings for the weekend will be:

  • Cookies: Cut Out Sugar, M&M “Monster” Cookies, Ginger Molasses, S’mores, Cherry White Chocolate Chip, Coconut Pecan, Zucchini Chocolate Chip, and Lemon
  • Pies:  Blueberry, Cherry, Peach,  Strawberry Rhubarb, and Blueberry Glaze (available Fri, Sat, Sun)
  • Breads: Whole Wheat, Whole Grain, Cinnamon, Vegetable, LaBrea Breads, Focaccia, Hamburger and Hotdog Buns
  • Cinnamon Rolls, Sticky Buns, Yeast Donuts
  • Assorted muffins
  • Cake Donuts: Buttermilk, Blueberry, and Cherry (made on Friday, Saturday,  and Sunday)
  • Gluten free sensations items in bakery freezer including pies, cookies, brownies, and cinnamon rolls!!
  • Slushies (now in 2 sizes based on customer’s requests for larger size!)
  • In the bakery freezer, Plainwell Vanilla Ice Cream, for pie a la mode! Pair with a cherry and blueberry pie and you’ve got your red, white and blue!
  • We have lots of fruit and vegetable puzzles/games for kids to enjoy outside the bakery door.

Everyone at the farm hopes to see you soon. Thanks as always for buying local.

 

Celebrate 4th of July at the Farm!

Yes, we are open our regular hours on the 4th of July (and all holidays) from 8 until 6.  We have not been able to train our fruits and vegetables to not grow on a holiday, thus we will be out in the fields, hoophouse and orchards early to have just picked produce when you get here.

  • Red:  Cherries, double red cherry wine, cherry pie, cherry fritters, red potatoes, red onions
  • White:  cauliflower, white onions, sour cream, yogurt, vanilla ice cream
  • Blue Blueberries, blueberry pie, blueberry scones, blueberry muffins

and of course there are lots of other colors across the market and bakery!

This is the year we want everyone to try a tart cherry, and learn to love them as much as we do!

Bowl of tart cherries picked by a customer this week

Tart/Sour Cherries:  We have a good crop of these this year. While for sure they make a great pie, jam and can be used in many recipes, they also are great to eat fresh and are so good for you. We have samples at the market to try. It might be a nice u-pick experience for the family to get some. Everyone out this week has loved how easy they were to pick and how red and plump they were! It would be helpful if you can bring a kitchen stool ladder or step ladder. Learn more about how the health benefits of tart cherries, fun facts,  along with recipes here:  http://www.choosecherries.com/

Tart Cherry U-Pick: Open for U-PIck now, until they are gone. (See U-Pick cherry information at end of this post.)**

  • Tart cherry u-pick pricing: $1.50/pound, over 50 pounds @ $1.25/pound.
  • Length of season. Depending on the weather and how many come out to pick, would  expect them to last a week or so
  • Tart cherries Picked: $5.00 a quart.
  • Check out the cherry pitters we have at the market, Kids absolutely love getting the pits out of their cherries with these!

Blueberries–are ready!

Blueberries are large and sweet for picking

  • Picked blueberries available now in pints, quarts, 5 lb boxes and 10 lb boxes
  • 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 (limit of 10 pounds per group) for the experience. We are opening for U-Pick on Wednesday July 4th.  If you are looking to pick a lot of blueberries, we recommend you try Brookside Farms, located in Paw Paw. They supply our picked berries and have a delightful farm for you to visit and pick at.  269-657-3500 or check their website:  https://brooksidefarmsmi.com/
  • Please smell the milkweed blooms in the blueberry field (a most fragrant/lovely smell) and please don’t hurt them even though they are considered a weed. We have left them there on purpose to help with the national monarch butterfly problem. We have not seen a monarch butterfly here this year, which is incredibly sad.  We encourage you to read more about the monarch butterfly problem at the end of this written by Amber, Brenda’s daughter who is working here this summer. You can usually find her in the bakery most days!

Amber with a tray of milkweed plants

Nate removing some of the milkweed around the blueberry bushes (to give them light) and leaviing the rest.

Parents, Nutritionists, Doctors, Farmers, Chefs and so many others repeat the phrase: Eat your vegetables! And you should! The market is beginning to overflow with so many great vegetable choices, grown conventionally and organic. With this heat coming, just enjoy them as a cut up snack, with a dip. (We have dip mixes, sour cream and yogurt for sale). With the abundance of zucchini, try spiralizing them into noodles (yes, we have spiralizers for sale as well, and they’re widely available at supermarkets because of how great zoodles are). And of course, everyone’s favorite: grilling them (outside of course keeping the heat out of the kitchen!).  Stay tuned to Facebook this week as we post favorite recipes.

Here’s what is on the market now:

  • Fresh broccoli, zucchini, kohlrabi, cucumbers,  yellow summer squash, fresh dug onions, cauliflower, peppers, red potatoes and peas
  • Greenhouse tomatoes, cucumbers
  • U-pick herbs are ready. Find bags, scissors for cutting around the neck of the bird overlooking the herb garden. A list of what is ready is posted at the market. If you haven’t tried using freshly picked herbs you will be amazed at how they punctuate your food. So bring your recipes and pick away.
  • Organics! Lettuce, garlic scapes, basil, lots of cucumber, kale, cabbage, swiss chard, carrots, and a few tomatoes including cherry tomatoes from the certified organic plot. We’ve also begun pulling some garlic bulbs for you. These are to use fresh! We will have cured garlic for winter storage later on in the year, and will also give you recipes for pickling (which is Becca’s preferred way to store garlic for use year round).

Here’s what is coming:

  • Green beans, probably this weekend
  • Sweet Corn 7 to 10 days away

Straw: We have extra bales of straw available for your mulching needs. They are $6/bale or 4 bales for $20.

Hard Ciders, Wine and Brandies: Strawberry Cider and Afternoon Cider are both back! We’ve also got our Prince Tribute Cider, Brunch, Rhubarb, Ginger, Dry, Semi-Sweet, Sweet, Hopped, and Bark Bite. If you’re interested in a mead, our new United Squash Federation features a really mellow blend of ingredients, most notably buttercup squash and caramel. It’s just a really soft, nice mead that comes in at about 8% alcohol by volume. We also have our full line of Hubbard’s Brandy, Double Cherry Wine, and Kaiser Cyser.If you’re looking for our cider outside of our farm, you can visit Rooster’s Wing Shack in Three Rivers, The Riviera Theatre in Three Rivers, Dussel’s in Cassopolis, Craft Beer Cellar in Grand Rapids, and as always, The Local in Centreville, Michigan.

Brandy tasting and tours are this Saturday with Bruce from 1 – 3 in the brandy room. Hard cider tastings are at the market 4-6 on Fridays and 3-6 on Saturdays. We’ll have many of our ciders on tap for flights and growler fills as well. Come sit and enjoy the space at the side of the market with a drink and pleasant conversation, and a view of the lake and our gardens. We look forward to seeing you rain or shine!

Bakery: Be sure to come see us in the bakery! If there is a favorite pie or something you want for the holiday, please feel free to call and have us save it back for you! 269-244-5690.

Bakery offerings for the weekend will be:

  • Cookies: Cut Out Sugar, M&M “Monster” Cookies, Ginger Molasses, S’mores, Cherry White Chocolate Chip, Coconut Pecan, Zucchini Chocolate Chip, and Lemon
  • Pies:  Blueberry, Cherry, Peach, Cherry Berry, Strawberry Rhubarb, and Blueberry Glaze (available Fri, Sat, Sun)
  • Breads: Whole Wheat, Whole Grain, Cinnamon, Vegetable, LaBrea Breads, Focaccia, Hamburger and Hotdog Buns
  • Cinnamon Rolls, Sticky Buns, Yeast Donuts
  • Assorted muffins
  • Cake Donuts: Buttermilk, Blueberry, and Cherry (made on Friday, Saturday,  and Sunday)
  • Gluten free sensations items in bakery freezer including pies, cookies, brownies, and cinnamon rolls!!
  • Slushies (now in 2 sizes based on customer’s requests for larger size!)
  • In the bakery freezer, Plainwell Vanilla Ice Cream, for pie a la mode! Pair with a cherry and blueberry pie and you’ve got your red, white and blue!

Everyone at the farm hopes you have a safe and great holiday. Thanks as always for buying local.

Monarch Butterfly Information:  Monarchs are one of the most well-known butterflies in North America as millions of them migrate across the United States to spend their winters in Mexico. This past May, Corey Lake Orchards registered and was selected to participate in the #MonarchChallenge (http://agro.basf.us/living-acres/) organized by BASF Living Acres based in Durham, North Carolina. The goal of this challenge is to help increase the monarch population by increasing suitable monarch habitat by planting milkweed, the only plant monarch larvae feed on.

Monarchs migrate to Michigan in the Spring and migrate south to spend their winters in Mexico.  However due to massive habitat loss, the eastern Monarch (those east of the Rocky Mountains) population has declined by 80%- 90%. They are currently being petitioned to be added to the federal endangered species act which will be decided in 2019. Monarchs are not the only pollinator affected as bees have also seen massive declines in recent decades.

Corey Lake Orchards received 36 Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) plants from BASF Living Acre.  You can find them planted in the herb garden, terrace garden and in front of the market. We have also allowed a large amount of native wild milkweed to grow in various parts of the farm such as the blueberry field and around the old school house. Becca recently found some caterpillars on the milkweed she allows to grow in her protected, certified organic hoophouse – you can see video of that on our Instagram page (https://www.instagram.com/coreylakeorchards/)!

Our planted and natural milkweeds will provide a safe place for monarch larvae to thrive and grow before transforming into butterflies. There have only been a handful of reported sightings of monarchs in the area so far, but this will continue to be an ongoing project. If you spot a monarch, feel free to report it at the following website as it tracks where they have been seen across the country (http://www.learner.org/jnorth/maps/monarch.html).

We will continue to update you on sightings at Corey Lake Orchards and let you know if any Monarchs choose to reside on our milkweed for the Summer.

For more information on what the state of Michigan is doing for Monarchs and what you can do to help, please visit the following websites.

Amber Sample, graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in December 2017., majoring in Pre-Professional Zoology with minors in Environmental Science and Psychology. She has been involved in monarch butterfly projects since 5th grade starting with raising them in her house. Through middle and high school, she volunteered with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission during the fall to count and tag monarchs migrating to Mexico. She will be attending Colorado State University in August to get her Master of Science in Conservation Leadership through Learning.

**Information for U-Pick cherries and blueberries

  • U-Pick Hours: 8 – 6 daily, please be finished picking by 5:45 p.m. to be back to the market by 6pm. Because of the heat,  we recommend coming early. Fruit will keep the best if picked cool. And everyone staying cool will make for a better experience!
  • Be sure to dress appropriately (closed shoes, long pants and sleeves) as you may run into poison ivy or prickly plants especially in the orchard area, among other hazards.
  • Bring waters, suntan lotion, insect repellant and the like.
  • Please bring your own containers. We have buckets you may borrow to pick in, then you can transfer to your own containers (bowls, tubs, buckets, etc.).
  • Check in at the market first for directions and to weigh the containers you are picking in.
  • For cherry picking, please bring your own ladder as we do not supply ladders. Some of the best cherries are out of reach and even a small step ladder would be helpful. We cannot let anyone climb the trees lest the branches get damaged or even worse, you injure yourself, so please come prepared.

Bakery offerings for the weekend will be:

  • Cookies: Cut Out Sugar, M&M “Monster” Cookies, Ginger Molasses, S’mores, Cherry White Chocolate Chip, Coconut Pecan, Zucchini Chocolate Chip, and Lemon
  • Pies:  Blueberry, Cherry, Peach, Cherry Berry, Strawberry Rhubarb, and blueberry glaze (available Fri, Sat, Sun)
  • Breads: Whole Wheat, Whole Grain, Cinnamon, Vegetable, LaBrea Breads, Focaccia, Hamburger and Hotdog Buns
  • Cinnamon Rolls, Sticky Buns, Yeast Donuts
  • Assorted muffins
  • Cake Donuts: Buttermilk, Blueberry, and Cherry (made on Friday, Saturday,  and Sunday)
  • Gluten free sensations items in bakery freezer including pies, cookies, brownies, and cinnamon rolls!!
  • Slushies (now in 2 sizes based on customer’s requests for larger size!)
  • In the bakery freezer, Plainwell Vanilla Ice Cream, for pie a la mode! Pair with a cherry and blueberry pie and you’ve got your red, white and blue!