U-Pick Concord (purple) and Niagara (white) grapes: Whew, it has been fairly crazy here since we opened the grape picking on September 13th. We are surprised and pleased by how many grapes have been picked. Sometimes it may have seemed as if we were confused about whether or not we had any grapes, indeed, we were. Due to so many customers coming out each day, there were several days we had to close the vineyard and “hold” people from coming out until everyone who was picking finished to see what we had left. Because there was not an abundanace of Concord grapes due to the frost, it was not easy to tell what was left until we could assess the vineyard at the end of each day and find some additional rows with grapes to open up for the next day. We tried our very best this year to ensure everyone picked in locations where no one else had previously picked by tracking and monitoring our different vineyards. We hoped this helped.
As of right now, we still have both Concord and Niagara grapes to pick. We would encourage you to call first to make sure the picking is open in case we get flooded with a lot of customers like happened this past week. Many of you are asking how much longer we will have grapes. Here’s the best answer we can give: The mechanical harvester has already come and picked all of the white Niagara grapes except for one field we left for U-Pick. There are pieces of several rows left of the White Niagara to pick, then these will be gone. For the Concord grapes, we are currently working down long rows of a 20 acre field for people wanting to U-Pick. Given the shortage of Concord grapes, we are not sure if and when they will be mechanically harvested. We will be open for Concord grape picking as long as we can continue to find spots where there are still grapes to pick in.
When both colors of grapes are gone, we will post this on the website. Again, since we have been on a day to day basis, it is still best just to call to see if we have grapes available for picking. 269-244-5690.
U-Pick Apples: We have now been open for U-Pick apples for about a week and there are a few still that you can pick. Mostly what is left is Red and Yellow Delicious, a few Spies and some Fuji. Again, we did not have a large crop this year due to the spring frost/freeze, compounded by a hailstorm in May which damaged the apples pretty significantly. We really appreciate those of you who have been out to pick and graciously endured the conditions of our orchard this year. We had many families out this past weekend who made the most of the experience with their children, we think even providing a valuable life lesson that sometimes this is just what happens and we cannot control the weather or always have bountiful crops. While the apples may not be very pretty, they still do taste good coming right off the tree! Many of you were as sad seeing the orchard this way as we have been all year trying our best to bring some of our apples to harvest. Let’s hope for a better year next year.
Given how few apples are left, we are now going to open the orchards up for what we call “end of harvest gleaning.” What this means is you can now go pick what is left on the tree or on the ground for half of the original U-Pick price (was $12.00). So for $6 a bushel, you can come pick the remaining apples in the orchards we have open for U-Pick. For those of you trying to get apples for applesauce or perhaps pick apples to feed your horses, this is a very economical way to do it if you don’t mind the extra work required to pick the apples and trim off some of the hail damaged spots. Please check in at the market first for directions.
Two young customers enjoying fresh apples
Picked apples: We still have the following varieties for sale on the market:
- Braeburn: 50 cents a pound, (half price due to hail damage)
- Cameo: $16 a bushel, $8.50 a half bushel, $5.00 peck
- Cortland: $18 a bushel, $9.50 a half bushel, $6.00 peck
- Fuji: $18 a bushel, $9.50 a half bushel, $6.00 peck
- Golden Delicious: $16 a bushel, $8.50 a half bushel, $5.00 peck
- Honey Crisp: Very few left, 50 cents a pound, (half price due to hail damage)
- JonaGold: $18 a bushel, $9.50 a half bushel, $6.00 peck
- Jonathon: $16 a bushel, $8.50 a half bushel, $5.00 peck
- Red Delicious: $14.00, $7.50 a half bushel, $4.00 peck
- Red Rome: $16 a bushel, $8.50 a half bushel, $5.00 peck
Pumpkins: We have a nice selection of pumpkins available, ranging from $5.00 for the largest pumpkin , with smaller pumpkins available for $4, $3, and $1. We also have some “fun” gourds (3 for $1), mums ($3.00 each) and Indian corn for fall decorating.
Pumpkins just harvested from our fields
Cider: We just finished pressing what we believe is our best cider so far this year. It takes a few weeks for the apples to develop a good flavor for cider and this week’s was excellent. It is $5.00 a gallon, also available in half gallons and quarts.
Squash: We have lots of squash including acorn, butternut, buttercup and sweet dumpling available to choose from at only 40 cents per pound.
Length of our fall season: Due to the light apple crop, we will probably close earlier than normal this year. We are going to try to stay open through October 17th, but it will depend on how many apples we have to sell. We will give you an update when we know more.
On this first day of fall, please accept our wishes for a great fall. Thanks as always for being such great customers. During a difficult year like this has been for us, having you as customers gives us much to be grateful and thankful for.
Beth, on behalf of everyone at Corey Lake Orchards