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

Tag Archive: Pies

U-Pick Grapes, U-Pick Apples, Cider, Dumplings, and Spookley…

We are loving this weather and delighted that the weather people have told us it will be here through the weekend. It will be a great few days to be out on the farm. Here’s what we will have this weekend.

Summer vegetables are winding down as fall produce fills the market. We still are picking some of these daily, but not huge quantities: zucchini, summer squash, cabbage, peppers (many kinds), kale (red Russian, Tuscan, and curly from Becca’s garden), eggplant, brussels sprouts, black beans and herbs.

We have lots of fall squash now: acorn, butternut, buttercup, spaghetti squash, and heart of gold. Sage bundles are ready for those who want them. $1 for small bundles and $2 for large bundles. Fall cauliflower is here–huge and beautiful.

Apple cider is here! Our cider is not pasteurized or treated in any way–just pure squeezed apples! It has been flying off the shelf so we have already adjusted our pressing cycle to make it on demand….but…there is a chance we might run out in any given day, so always feel free to call us to make sure we have it before you drive out.  269-244-5690.

Picked Tomatoes: Tomatoes are slowing down with the cool weather and we are no longer taking orders for bushels of tomatoes. We will continue to have them for sale by the pound until the first frost.

U-Pick Tomatoes: The U-Pick tomato field is open 8 to 6 daily, you can pick your own for $14 a bushel. It will be open until the first frost. You do not need to call ahead to come as we have gotten through everyone on the list who signed up for U-Pick – please just come to the market to check in. We appreciate everyone’s patience this year with tomato picking as we had to work through the weather issues. The tomatoes are really beautiful this year.

Fall Ornamentals: Pumpkins, gourds, specialty pumpkins, rainbow corn and popcorn, and small hay bales are ready for your fall decorating. Diane’s famous painted pumpkins are on the market too.

Diane's famous painted pumpkins are here

Diane’s famous painted pumpkins are here

Potatoes: We have white, red, and the russet baking potatoes on the market. We’ve harvested all our potatoes for the year, so they are now available by the bushel for your fall/winter use. They are $20 a bushel, which  makes them less than 50 cents a pound. Bring containers to put bushels in, preferably crates or something similar so air can circulate through.

Bagged onions: Our sweet candy onions (red and yellow) and our white superstar onions have now been cleaned and bagged. They have been dried and cured and will keep for you. Shallots and special cipollini cooking onions are also available.

This weekend in the bakery we will have:

  • Pies: apple, blueberry, cherry, cherry berry, pear, pecan, fresh pumpkin
  • Apple Dumplings
  • Cookies: apple and lady-bug cut outs, monster (oatmeal, m&m’s and peanut butter), oatmeal raisin, lemon
    Bread: whole wheat, cinnamon, vegetable.
    Cinnamon rolls and sticky buns.
    Donuts: apple, buttermilk, pumpkin.
    Slushies: apple cider and white grape peach.

If you would like to reserve any baked goods please call us at (269) 244-5690.

A note from the bakersApple Dumplings are here! Starting this weekend we will have apple dumplings available in the bakery. We take a whole Cortland apple, peel it, core it, and wrap it in our pie dough. We then bake the apples in pans with our special cinnamon caramel sauce. Fall is the only time we can make them and they are wonderful! We will have apple dumplings available every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday now thru Fall Color Tour (October 12).  Reminder that we have our Northern Spy frozen apple pies on special since it is apple season….you can buy three large pies for $25. Stock up for the winter. See you this weekend! -The Bakers

It was very hard to not go get a spoon when the apple dumplings came out of the oven today

It was very hard to not go get a spoon when the apple dumplings came out of the oven today!

We put plenty of apples in our pie--after the crust that is the next best part.

Apples pies ready to go in the oven…We put plenty of apples in our pie–after the crust that is the next best part!

Picked grapes:  We are taking orders for bushels of picked grapes, they are $20 a bushel, please call the market at 269-244-5690 to order them.

Concord grapes--looking good for picking over the next several weeks.

Concord grapes–looking good for picking over the next several weeks.

U-Pick grapes:  we will open for U-Pick on Sunday, September 28th, for  both the white Niagara and the purple Concord.

  • 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 (please check 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 given rows to pick on.
  • Pricing:  They are 25 cents/pound to pick or if you pick over 100 pounds, they are 20 cents/pound. A 5-gallon bucket filled to the top weighs approximately 20 pounds which is also equivalent to a half bushel.
  •  If you pick over 100 pounds of grapes, that is $4 a bucket (20 cents/lb)
  • If you pick less than 100 pounds, it is $5 a bucket (25 cents/lb).
  • Sugar Content:  When the grapes were tested on 9-23, the Concords’ sugar solid was at 13.2 and the Niagaras’ was at 14.8. Both of these will have gone up by the time we open on Sunday–but the bottom line is: yes, they have plenty of sugar and are sweet.

When you come to pick grapes, please bring the following if you have them:

  • Five gallon buckets to pick in, this is how we measure how much you pick instead of having to weigh them all. If you don’t have these, you can borrow ours, but bring containers to take them home in.  You can also purchase pails from us for $4.00.
  • Scissors or clippers to cut them with.
  • Small wagons to help you get them out of the vineyard (our rows are very long!)

How is the crop and how long will the grapes last? We have around 50 acres of grapes for U-Pick this year and think they will last up until the first hard frost, that depends of course on the weather and how many customers we have. If you want white Niagara grapes, we would encourage you to come earlier than later, as we have only 1 block of those for picking.

Why can’t I smell the grapes this year? For those of you who have been coming here annually, you know that one of the most wonderful things about coming to the market during the fall….is that extraordinary sweet aroma from our vineyards. The reason it isn’t wafting through the breeze is that most of the white grapes around our market we lost due to the winter injury–no grapes, no smell. However, if you are picking apples, you will smell the grapes once you get there, and of course when you are picking grapes–you can immerse yourself in that wonderful aroma.

Apple pricing for the year: Our apple pricing will be the same as last year, and is the same for picked apples or u-pick apples. With the exception of a few special varieties (like Honeycrisp) apples will be: $24 a bushel**, $13 a half-bushel, $7 a peck (1/4 of a bushel), $4 a half-peck, $2 a 1/4 peck and $1.00 a pound.  **When we have bushels available. Please see apple update at the bottom or visit our official page here.

U-Pick apples:  We are open 8 to 6 daily for U-Pick apples. The varieties you can  pick now are: Red and Golden Delicious,  Cameo, Fuji and Northern Spies. Please realize that when you go out to the U-Pick orchards and see so many tree with no apples, some trees that have died, plus some with few apples, that this is due to the severe winter followed by a May 15th frost. It impacted some varieties severely.  We will continue to mark trees which still have good picking to ensure you have a good picking experience and on weekends our orchard guide, George, is there to help you find what you are looking for.

Picked Apples on the market.

  • 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.  Hurry, we only have a few of these left
  • Cortland:  This is an old fashioned apple which is excellent for baking.  It is a descendent of the McIntosh, but a bit sweeter,  it also juices well.   Hurry, we only have a few of these left
  • 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 will have these off and on as we pick them during the season, so feel free to call ahead before you come out.
  • Jonathan:  A very popular apple for fresh eating and cooking.  It has a spicy tangy flavor, a favorite for making apple butter or taffy apples.
  • Cameo:  A firm-textured, crisp and sweet tart apple.  Great for snacking or baking and is an outstanding dessert apple.  Keeps well in coldest part of refrigerator.  We are only picking a few of these as they ripen, so they are not available by the bushel yet.
  • Fuji: This is an apple with sweet and tart flavor, with a low acid content.  It is a very good keeper.  We are only picking a few as these begin to ripen, so they are not available by the bushel yet. 
  • Northern Spy:  This is an antique apple that cooks up well in applesauce, pie and other dishes…..very popular for apple pie.
  • Golden Delicious:  A gingery-smooth, sweet taste lies under a thin skin.  Great for applesauce, cider, pies or other desserts. We are only picking a few of these as they ripen, so they are not available by the bushel yet.
  • Gone for the year:  Ginger Gold, Macintosh, Mollies Delicious, Earliblaze and Jonagold.

Pumpkins: We have lots of pumpkins for sale, ranging from huge to small, but this year we have moved them to the parking lot area to make it easier for you to take to your car.  You can’t miss them, right beside the vineyard and in front of the old white truck.

The Spookley Storybook:  Please check out our large storybook about Spookley the square pumpkin in the yard by the farmhouse.  There are 12 storyboards to walk children through.  It is a wonderful story about a pumpkin that grows square instead of round, gets teased and bullied because he is different, than something happens on the farm where Spookley ends up saving all of the pumpkins—and we won’t give the rest of the story away. This story has some great teachable moments about how all of us need to value the unique and different qualities that individuals have.

Photo opportunities:  There is no lack of places to take your fall photos, but here are a couple of places set up just to get the group photo….

Ultra large pumpkins, squash and watermelon grown by Keith Whitford--no wonder he took first place at this year's fair.

Ultra large pumpkins, squash and watermelon grown by Keith Whitford–no wonder he took first place at this year’s fair.

Will your kids pose as still as Denim did for a picture??

Will your kids pose as still as Denim did for a picture??

Happenings on the farm this week: Unfortunately, our farm was the victim of a theft this week. Many of you have called, stopped by or emailed to tell us how sorry you are about that–we appreciate your thoughts and concern. It is unfortunate that all of us live in a world where these things continue to occur. Two of our ATV utility vehicles were taken which we use for the U-Pick grape picking to get customers and their grapes up and down the long rows—so this was very untimely with us opening this Sunday. For those of you following all of the “downs” we have had this year due to crop losses due to the weather, this one sure added another blow to us.

Remember those words I shared with you in last week’s update:  “Farming is about the most unpredictable thing you can venture into—so you have to be able to embrace change, be very flexible and let nothing surprise you! ” This surprise went from shock and disbelief, to some anger and real discouragement. Yes, your words of encouragement and ongoing support are a wonderful help right now for all of us here as we begin the final home stretch of our fall season! We’re grateful for all the kindness our customers have shown us this week.

Thanks as always for buying local, Beth & everyone at Corey Lake Orchards

June means strawberries! We pick, u-pick, and more.

Asparagus will be in season for about another week to ten days. Our asparagus field is finished for the year, but we are bringing it in from another farm in town for the rest of the season. Greenhouse tomatoes and cucumbers are really coming in now. We have a tomato special running right now on tomatoes: 3 pounds for $5.

This is what happens when we let our asparagus go to seed to replenish the field.

Lots of tomatoes!

Bedding plants and hanging baskets: We are winding down the plant season, so if you have not gotten yours for the garden yet, come soon. We have plenty of pepper, tomato, melon, and cucumber plants for sale.

This weekend in the bakery we will have:

  • Pies: apple, blueberry, blueberry rhubarb, cherry, chocolate, choco-butter (chocolate/peanut butter), peanut butter, rhubarb, and strawberry rhubarb.
  • Cookies: frog shaped cut outs, monster (oatmeal, choc chips, m&m’s and peanut butter) and lemon.
  • Bread: 12 grain, whole wheat, cinnamon.
  • Cinnamon rolls and sticky buns.
  • Donuts: blueberry, buttermilk, and cherry.
  • Brownies: frosted chocolate and turtle.
  • Slushies: Apple cider and black cherry concord grape blend.
  • If you would like to reserve any baked goods please call us at (269) 244-5690.

A final note from the bakers: This weekend we will be bringing back the ever-so-popular brownies we made last year. Also, with many customers asking us to put the peanut butter and chocolate pies into one, we created a new one: choco-butter pie. If you are in need of a serious chocolate fix this weekend, come to the bakery, we’ll be able to help!! See you this weekend. -The Bakers

June gets everyone thinking about fresh Michigan strawberries.

The first strawberries of 2014! Sold quickly on Wednesday.

Our strawberry crop looks great so far this year. The rains are helping to them to be nicely sized and the forecast for the next several weeks is the kind of weather which strawberries like (cooler nights with hot, but not too hot days). We will be picking a few quarts daily now of the early variety, quantities are very low still, so if you are trying to get some, it is best to call ahead and have us hold them for you if we have them. (269-244-5690.)

We are taking orders now for picked strawberries. Please call (269-244-5690) or email us your order and we will call you when we have them picked. Already picked strawberries will be $3.25 a quart this year or a flat of picked berries (8 quarts) is $24.00 ($3.00 a quart).

U-Pick strawberries will be starting soon! Please check back around June 11th for a better idea on when the u-pick might open.

  • U-pick strawberry pricing will be $1.75 quart. Please bring quart containers if you have them, if not, you may borrow ours for picking and bring your containers (bowls, tubs, etc.) to get the strawberries home.
  • We have doubled the size of our u-pick berry field from previous years in order to have more berries available for those who want to pick their own.
  • If you are trying to pick larger quantities of berries (over 5 cases or 80 quarts), please call us in advance and we would like to work with you to schedule you in on a day when we have lots of berry availability. Ask to be put on our “large quantity list.” 269-244-5690.
  • We welcome customers who want to take advantage of being on a farm and enjoying the U-Pick “experience.” We know there are many families who would like to have their children understand where their food comes from and how it grows. For this group, the experience is almost more important than how many berries are picked. If you are newcomers to strawberry picking, let us know when you arrive and we will give your family information on how berries grow and show you how to pick them.

U-Pick Strawberry times:

  • We will open the field at 8:00 am and it will remain open until we are picked out or until 12:00 pm daily
  • We are offering two afternoon picking options this year: Mondays and Wednesdays from 4 pm to 6 pm.
  • We plan to open each day weather permitting, closing only for berries to ripen if the weather turns cold. If we close the field for ripening, we will make that decision the day before, so please call us the day/night before you plan to come to make sure we are picking that day. For safety, we will close the field during lightning or a thunderstorm.

From Becca’s Garden:

I picked cilantro today! This will be available on the market from now on (good to pair with those greenhouse tomatoes). This weekend, I will have chard, romaine lettuce, salad mix lettuce, curly kale, red Russian Kale (like curly, but a bit sweeter), Tuscan kale (also called lacinato or dinosaur kale), and a few other things. I anticipate the herb garden should be ready for harvest within a week: basil, lemon balm, mint, thyme, lovage, and oregano are available now with the cilantro for anyone interested. The peas are blooming, the carrots are forming, and I’m a happy gardener. As the heat picks up, so do the challenges of organic garden management, but mostly things are doing well. If you would like any naturally grown produce set aside for you, please call and let us know: (269) 244-5690.

Heat tolerant Simpson lettuce is thriving right now!

The garden and the market.

Happenings on the farm this week: Wasn’t the weather truly delightful this past weekend? Maybe because of the post-winter syndrome it just seemed even better than normal. Everyone has a different way of gaging the temperature: Is it a light jacket day, can we go in the lake yet, do we run AC or not…..but on the farm, we look at growing degree days. Growing degree days (abbreviated GDD) is a way of assigning a heat value to each day. The values are added together to give an estimate of the amount of seasonal growth our crops have achieved. With the exceptional summer-like days we had last week, the growing degree days for this year have now caught us up from the cold winter and late spring…..so what that means is while we thought things would be late, the crop seasons will be about at their normal timing this year (which is probably all you really wanted to know anyways)!

45,000 onions growing strong.

This past week we spent time working on maintaining the orchards and vineyards. We do an annual vine removal from the fruit trees and a sucker removal from the bottom of the grape trunks. The last several days we have done a “crawl through” of the strawberry fields removing weeds that might have sprouted up that can get in the way of the berries ripening and harvest. All of these jobs are done manually, difficult tasks but necessary. Our sensitive cucumbers and cantaloupe plants did not like the strong winds and sun from last weekend, so this week we had to replace them all with new plants. We’re looking forward to a good melon crop this year.

New cucumber plants.

Grape suckers must be taken off this time of year to help the grapevines thrive next year.

We have loved seeing all of our customers back out at the market. Thank you so much for coming to Corey Lake Orchards for your produce and for buying local.

End of May update

Produce available on the market this weekend includes asparagus, rhubarb, romaine lettuce, salad mix, spinach, kale, and cucumbers/tomatoes from our greenhouse.

We are starting to bring in the long English cucumbers from the greenhouse now

Asparagus Update: We expect to have asparagus on the market until mid-June, so keep enjoying it while it is in season.

Strawberries: We will have a great crop of strawberries and it looks like they will ready by the middle of June for U-Pick and pre-picked. We are now taking orders for picked strawberries. The price is the same as last years:  $3.25 quart or $24.00 for a flat of 8 quarts.  Call us if you would like to get on our list:  269-244-5690.

Bedding Plants and Flowers: We have flats of vegetables, tomatoes, flowers and herbs that you can mix and match for your gardening needs. We have a good selection of hanging baskets and pre-made flower arrangements in unique pots.  Hurry out, we will not be getting any more in this year.

Bakery: This weekend in the bakery we will have available: 

  • Cookies: frog shaped cut outs, monster (oatmeal, M&M’s, choc, chips and peanut butter)  and lemon.
  •  Pies: Apple, blueberry, blueberry-rhubarb, cherry, peanut butter, rhubarb, and strawberry-rhubarb.
  •  Bread: 12 grain, whole wheat, cinnamon. Cinnamon rolls, and sticky buns.
  • Donuts: blueberry, buttermilk, and cherry.
  • Frozen slushies: apple cider and black cherry Concord grape

If you would like to reserve any baked goods please call us at 269-244-5690.

  • A final note from the bakers: We were really pleased that the blueberry-rhubarb pies were such a hit!! It was our top selling pie all weekend long (even surpassing our always popular strawberry rhubarb)! A big thank you to everyone who made it out on such a beautiful weekend. You kept us very busy and the donut machine in constant motion.
  • We have some good news, today we installed a freezer in the front area of the bakery. We will be offering “take and bake” frozen pies! These will be our famous home-made pies, complete with baking instructions. All you need to do is put it in your oven.  You can now have warm pie for dessert, and the same aroma you smell in our bakery should be in your own kitchen.

Update from Becca: The front garden is almost fully planted for the summer , and those of you here the past week have probably noticed that we planted the terrace garden east of the market. I seeded most of my bedding plants in March and April, so it has really been satisfying to get the majority of them in the ground. If you drop by the market, you will see me weeding furiously most days.

A note: if your family kitchen generates a lot of food scraps (coffee grounds, egg shells, asparagus ends, vegetable peels, etc.), please talk to me about adding that waste to my compost pile! I’d love to put it to good use rather than thrown out in the trash. Leave me a message at the market or call me for more information. (269) 244-5690.

Bee Update: We have two beekeepers managing nearly 40 hives at various locations on our farm. With honeybees pollinating a third of the food we eat, and nearly 100% of what we grow here at Corey Lake Orchards, this insect is very critical to our survival, and yet as you’ve probably seen in the news, honeybees are struggling to survive.

On our farm, they gather nectar and pollen from the plants and make cherries, apples etc. for us in the process. They also make honey which we sell at the market (packaged in the honey bears with hats). You can learn more about bees, and how we can all help them, in about a month at our upcoming ‘Meet the Beekeepers’ sessions at the market. You will meet my sister Charlotte (the one brave enough to take off her hood for the picture), who speaks locally and nationally about honeybees (for more info, see www.hubbardhive.com) Weather permitting she’ll bring live bees in a cage and talk about them and answer questions.

Charlotte and crew keeping bees in April.

Happenings on the farm this week: 

It was actually a slow week on the farm, having gotten everything planted last week. One of our absolute favorite things was watching it rain on Tuesday–we got a half an inch, which our orchards, vineyards and plants were most thankful for. On the cooler mornings, our crew worked in the greenhouse, continuing to train our already very tall tomato plants to grow taller….we now have to use a step ladder to continue to tie them to the trellises!

Very tall tomato plants, 5-29-14

Some of the clusters of tomatoes are so large we have to use clips to hold up their weight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On our daily farm checks, we have been scrutinizing the “fruit set” on our crops. We are now able to estimate the damage that was caused to our fruit by a “trifecta” of events—the trees went into winter stressed from how much they produced in 2013, the severe winter (many days at -20 degrees) caused “winter injury” to trees and bushes, and the frost event on May 15th/16th froze out what was in bloom at that time. Many of you have commented you have seen your own bushes and flowers not “coming back” or producing any flowers this year….much of this is due to winter injury.  So far, this is what we think we will have:

  • Strawberries:  Great crop!
  • Sweet Cherries:  About 5% of normal crop
  • Tart Cherries:  About 40% of normal crop
  • Blueberries:  About 60% of normal crop (and we were very lucky)
  • Peaches:  No peaches
  • Plums: About 25% of normal crop
  • Pears: About 25% of normal crop
  • Apples: Variety dependent, about 50% overall
  • White Niagara Grapes:  25% of normal crop
  • Purple Concord Grapes:  60% of normal crop

We’re providing these estimates to you now and will update them as we learn more.  For those of you who can and freeze a lot of fruit, you may want to ration some fruits we will be short of.

Blueberries blooming on 5-29-14, their blossom is such a delicate bell-shaped blossom–beautiful

Earli-blaze apples are just loaded this year, it is an early summer apple, tart, and great for pies and sauce

We have all endured these kind of years before (remember 2012?) so this will be another year where we will all learn to like vegetables even more than we do now!!  Despite the shortage of fruit, we remain committed to continuing to give you a great farm experience, delicious fresh-picked fruits and vegetables and the very best from our bakery.  We value you as a customer and we truly appreciate your business and buying local.

Thanks—from everyone at Corey Lake Orchards

 

 

Happy Memorial Day Weekend and yes….we have donuts!

Produce available on the market this weekend includes asparagus, rhubarb, tomatoes and cucumbers from our greenhouse. Nothing like asparagus on the grill for a holiday weekend cookout! See the end of this post for a great recipe one of our customers gave us for a sauce to put over your asparagus.**

We picked 4 bushels of tomatoes from the greenhouse today!

Bedding Plants and Flowers: We have flats of vegetables, tomatoes, flowers and herbs that you can mix and match for your gardening needs. We have a good selection of hanging baskets and pre-made flower arrangements in unique pots. Bakery: This weekend in the bakery we will have available:

  • Pies: Apple, blueberry, cherry, chocolate, rhubarb, strawberry rhubarb and a new one: blueberry rhubarb!!
  • Bread: 12 grain, whole wheat, cinnamon.
  • Cinnamon rolls and sticky buns.
  • Donuts: blueberry, buttermilk, and cherry.
  • Cookies: frog shaped cut outs, monster (peanut butter/m&m/choc.chips & oatmeal), and lemon. If you would like to reserve any baked goods please call us at 269-244-5690.

A note from the bakers: the number one question we have been asked so far this year hasbeen “Where are the donuts??” Well, we are so happy to be making them for you this weekend!! We will have them from now on every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Our new summer flavors are blueberry and cherry, and we will still have the same buttermilk donuts that we made last fall. The new flavors have been taste tested by many of our coworkers (very willing guinea pigs), and they have all given a thumbs up! We look forward to seeing you this weekend.

The blueberry-rhubarb pie mix looks good enough to eat without being put in a crust and baked!

Update from Becca: Those of you who have stopped by the market have probably seen the garden coming to life! I started hundreds of plants over the past several months and it’s nice to finally get them out of trays, into the ground. This weekend, the market will have limited quantities of spinach, curly kale, and Swiss chard. All of these were raised without synthetic chemicals. There will be more and more within the next couple of weeks, and I will be harvesting lettuce and other greens soon.

Becca’s garden sprouting to life

 

Kale and spinach on 5/23.

Happenings on the farm this week:

  • Finally we are able to plant hot season crops! This week we got in our eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, squash and melons. Today we planted 3000 new Jewel strawberry plants (those large, tasty strawberries we all love) for the 2015 season.

Planting the U-Pick tomato field, May 22, 2014, putting in our favorite varieties

Despite the hard ground, the potatoes have pushed through and are on their way. We have planted 2 new kinds this year in addition to our standard red potatoes.

As we were planting, two of our beekeepers were working on their hives. Bees are such an important asset on our farm. Thank you beekeepers for all of your work!

  • If you were driving by you saw us painting our peach trees trunks. This is their 4th year and they have “outgrown” the tree guards we put on them when we first planted them. Many of you have asked why we do this. Painting fruit tree trunks with white latex paint can prevent the bark from splitting and cracking off. Splitting can happen when the tree is exposed to freezing evening temperatures, followed by a daytime thawing (as you know a fairly common occurrence in this state!!). The painted white trunk helps reflect sunlight during the daytime hours and keep the tree warmer at night. It also helps protect against rodent damage, mice and voles can girdle a tree under the snow cover. Even better, we have found that rabbits don’t like the taste of paint.
Newly painted tree trunks, it looks like a group of graceful ladies dancing with new white stockings!
  • Strawberries: We are thrilled to see so many strawberry blooms and little strawberries forming…..we anticipate strawberries will be ready about mid-June this year.
A cluster of blossoms with berries forming, May 21, 2014
  • Market beds are planted: A huge thank-you to Cathy who puts together all of our planters and market beds each year….can’t wait for the old potato planter she planted this week to fill out!

  • The U-Pick Herb garden is being plantedThis was quite popular last year, this year we have moved it by the parking lot, you can pick the herbs you need on your way up to the market. We’ll let you know when you can start cutting them, they need a little time to mature first.

  • The Terrace Garden is planted. We have lots of specialty and heirloom tomatoes planted, as well as peppers, eggplant, spinach, kale, chard, leeks, herbs, mustards, collards, and more. We are also using this space to grow gladiolas, cosmos, sunflowers, zinnias, and other flowers for cutting.

Starting to plant the new Terrace garden

Rivers of Justice Film Festival Drawing:   With the chance of frost we think finally gone, we drew the winner of our large tomato plant contest for those that entered the drawing during the Rivers of Justice Film Festival in April. And…..the winner of her own patio cherry tomato plant is Ruth Eichler, congratulations!

Beth awarding Ruth her tomato plant

For the second year, the League of Michigan Bicyclists’ (LMB) with the Pedal and Paddle Bicycle Tour stopped at our farm.  We were their last stop after a three day event which included a combination of 130+ miles bicycling along rural roads and paddling down the two of the local rivers.  We loved hosting them and thank them for coming to our area.

Diane, (right) the mobile bike repair lady supported the group

From everyone at Corey Lake Orchards, Happy Memorial Day weekend, enjoy the weather and thanks as always for buying local. **Asparagus with Honey Garlic Sauce

  • 1/2 cup Dijon-style mustard
  • 1/2 cup of dark ale or beer
  • 1/3 cup of honey
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix the above ingredients together and pour over your asparagus however you normally fix it: grilled, sautéed or steamed. Enough to cover about 2 – 3 pounds of asparagus. From the National Honey Board, www.honey.com

Happy Mother’s Day Weekend and….Happy Spring!

With today’s heat, we are finally ready to believe spring is here….hooray! We’re grateful to see the sun and to have its warmth in the soil so that seeds will start sprouting and plants will start growing.

The fruit trees are beginning to bloom, which we think is one of the loveliest things to see around our farm in the springtime. If you drive by, cherries across from the market have started blooming. Pears, plums and apples will be close behind.  You’re welcome to take your fill of pictures.  Sadly, you won’t see much life in the peach trees on Corey Lake Road east of the market, there are no buds or blossoms, so it appears we have lost the peach crop for 2014.

The market was bustling today with all-hands-on-deck to scrub, rake, sweep and clean out any remnants from last season to be ready to welcome our customers. It was a pleasure to do this as the bakers were making pies – the aroma wafting through the air reminded us how much we have missed the bakery!

Here’s what we have available now:

Asparagus! We are starting to pick every day and have bulk quantities available. We are pricing it at $2/lb. for under 10 lb. and $1.75/lb. for orders of 10lb. or more. It is such a nice, fresh flavor to have in the springtime. We think we’ll have a constant supply, but as always, you’re welcome to call before you come to have us set some aside for you. (269) 244-5690.

Rhubarb: We will have rhubarb available starting Friday, May 9th.  Given the heat the past few days, we anticipate having a hearty supply.

Plants, plants and more plants: We have most of our plants in now for you to come select from. Some of the plants we have seeded and grown in our own greenhouse, but most of them come from a local source that we have bought from for over 25 years, Schram’s Greenhouse in Portage. This gives us confidence that you are getting a good plant when you get them here.

  • Flats of Vegetables include: broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, eggplant, many varieties of peppers and onion sets
  • Flats of Flowers include: asters, celosia, cosmos, gomphrena, impatiens, lobella, marigolds, morning glories, moss rose, nasturtium, ornamental cabbage and ornamental kale, pansies, petunias, salvia, snapdragons, verbena, vinca, and zinnias. There are different colors and heights to choose from.
  • Herbs (sold by the pot) include: basil, dill, lemon balm, many mints, oregano, thyme, sweet marjoram, and parsley
  • Flats of Tomatoes: Many varieties including mini tomatoes and regular tomatoes
  • Many types of hanging flower baskets
  • The “vine” crops are yet to come: melons, squash and cucumbers (probably a week away)

We would recommend that you let these plants “harden up” outside for a few days before planting in the ground, as they have just left their warm greenhouse environment, especially tomatoes, pepper and flowers. Cold-crop items are fine to plant now.

 

Many flats of flowers available

 

Many unique types of flowers in hanging baskets

Greenhouse tomatoes: We still have beautiful, large, but unfortunately still green tomatoes in the greenhouse. It looks like it will be at least a few more weeks until that first BLT.

Bakery opens Friday, May 9th, for the year! Our offerings for the weekend will be:

  • Cookies: Large Flower Cut-Out sugar cookies, large Monster (chocolate chips, M&M’s peanut butter and oatmeal) and Iced Lemon
  • Pies: Apple, Blueberry, Cherry, Chocolate Cream, and Strawberry Rhubarb and Rhubarb (fruit pies made from our own produce we preserved last year)
  • Bread: 12 Grain Bread, Whole Wheat, Cinnamon
  • Cinnamon Rolls and Pecan Sticky Buns

Michaela and Patti making strawberry-rhubarb pies….mmm…

 

Cherry pies coming out of the oven.

So….where are the donuts? We will start making donuts on Memorial Day Weekend. We’ll be making special summery flavors as different fruits come into season, like cherry, blueberry, and other flavors.

Mother’s Day gift ideas:

  • Our local vendors have their items on the market now. These include: local honey, maple syrup, cards, art and Ruth’s famous pecan and cashew brittle. 
  • Why not buy Mom a “living” salad? We will have large tomato plants for the patio or to set outside—they are already blooming, staked and some have little tomatoes on them. Pair these with one of our lettuce bowls. They’re planted with cold-tolerant greens that can be put outside now, and the lettuce can be picked and it grows back! Grab a basil plant in one of our colored pots, then add a bottle of your Mom’s favorite salad dressing and you have a healthy gift she can continue to enjoy.

    Salad bowls and tomato plants.

    Salad bowls and tomato plants.

  • An arranged flower container for the patio or door step for Mom. Once again we will be making up special containers with flowers and herbs. Come see the many unique containers available for sale at all price ranges. If you have a container you would like us to plant, bring it over and tell us what you would like in it.

Our terrace garden to the east of the market is still a work in progress, so we apologize for the pile of materials in the corner of our parking lot. However, we think you will love the final result, especially as the plants start to fill!

Another family milestone:  My Mother’s Day is even more special this year as my son Chad graduated last weekend from the University of Michigan’s Business School. Chad has worked here most summers and is a familiar face to many of you. We are so proud of him.

Congratulations, Chad!

So on behalf of everyone here at Corey Lake Orchards, we thank you for buying local and really hope to see you out this weekend or soon.

Beth