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

Tag Archive: U-Pick grapes

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

We are still open! With plenty of apples, grapes and onions…

With November here, we decided to try out a new schedule where we would be open for 4-day weekends and closed during the middle of the week.  Well, we were pleasantly surprised to find that our customers just kept coming out, regardless of the day.  So….we have abandoned the new schedule and will continue to be open daily in November, from 8 – 6.  We will remain open as long as we have apples left to sell.  With as many as we have left, this could be a long time, probably at least up until Thanksgiving.

Our “Buy one;   Get one or Give one” special will continue until we close for the year, so come on out and take advantage of it.    If you ever wanted to try out something new with apples, this is your chance….ideas:  Try making your own juice or hard cider, dry apples for apple chips.  Since they are so good for you, sneak them into every food you can, I cut them up in yogurt and also in oatmeal…..

Here’s the deal: You can buy any quantity of apples, and we will give you the same size quantity for free.** So, buy a bushel, get a free bushel….buy a 1/2 peck, get a free 1/2 peck, etc.    Can’t use the extra bag of apples?  Then we will be happy to donate it on your behalf to one of the many food banks in the area that we are supplying.

This special will apply to the following varieties of apples which we currently have:

  • Fuji
  • Golden Delicious
  • Honeycrisp
  • Northern Spy
  • Pink Lady
  • Rome
  • (**The BOGO offer is not a 50% off special, you must get the 2nd bag of apples).

The BOGO special will not apply to the following varieties of apples which are already specially priced:

  • Red Delicious (Bag your own 1/2 bushel for $5)
  • Cortland & Jonathan (1/2 price or $12 a bushel)

Needless to say, this is a great time to stock up for the winter on apples. The apples that keep the best are:   Northern Spy, Red Delicious, Rome, and Fuji.   Pick up one of our information sheets when you are here on the best way to store apples.

Note:  The following apples are now gone for the year:  Macintosh, Golden Supreme, Mutsu, Ida Red, Cameo,  JonaGold, Braeburn, and Gala.

For a description of these and all of the apples that we grow, please go to the apple listing on our website:  http://www.coreylakeorchards.com/seasonal-offerings/apples/

Apple Gleaning “Plus”:  Our end of season gleaning is open and we are calling it Apple Gleaning “Plus” this year because it is not a typical end of harvest situation..  Because we did not finish harvesting the apples this year….there are many trees that have not been touched with beautiful apples on them.    So this is a great way for folks trying to get a lot of apples to do it very economically.  You may pick apples left on the tree or off the ground for $5/bushel.    So for those people who want to press their own cider, make a huge amount of apple sauce, get “animal” apples, etc, this is the time.  For best availability of the types of apples and quality—you will want to come out within the next several weeks.

U-Pick grapes:  The White Niagara grapes and Purple Concord are still open for picking.  We have plenty of both types left to pick.  We expect to have grapes available up until the first hard–killing frost.  We have had enough frost to kill off part of the foliage, so the grapes are very easy to pick now because the leaves are out of the way!

We have decided to include onions in our buy one–get one special as well.  So pick up a bag of our sweet onions and take a second one for free.  Our white onions are $7.50/bag.   Our onions keep very well in a cool place where they can’t freeze.

The Brandy House will remain open for tasting and tours on Saturdays, from 1 to 4, through December.  A sip of our brandy is sure to warm you up on these chilly days.

The bakery is now taking orders for Thanksgiving and Holiday pies and other goodies.  Stop in and fill out an order form and let our wonderful bakers do the work for you!

Due to popular demand, we are going to try to continue making donuts on Saturdays and Sundays  only in November as long as the market remains openWe will also try to continue to press cider into November as well.  We seem to have some customers who claim they are addicted to our donuts and cider and want us to keep them coming as long as we can! So, we are willing to give it a try.

For those of you who were not out on Halloween day last week (which given the cold rain was most of you!!) you missed our Halloween costumes….

Beth dressed as a Concord grape for Halloween getting a grape slushy from the bakery

 Everyone at Corey Lake Orchards thanks you for buying local and we hope to see you out soon.     Beth

End of September Update

What picture perfect weather we have had all week–for those folks picking in the vineyard  or in the apple orchard, the sunny skies against the apple trees and delightful aroma of the grapes was an additional bonus.

Bakery update:  We are thrilled with the popularity of our bakery and could never have imagined how many donuts you all could eat!  Due to popular request…..we are now making donuts 7 days a week:  Pumpkin, apple and buttermilk which you can buy plain or cinnamon sugared.  $6 a dozen.

In our bakery, everything is made from scratch (including the crust plus preparing all of the fruit, etc.)  While this is time consuming, we feel it provides the quality product we want you to have.   While we will  continue to have the bakery open 7 days a week, please realize there may be limited baked goods available on Mondays as the bakers regroup from the weekend baking and sales volume.    If there is a particular pie/cookie or bread you want on a certain day, just call ahead by a day and order it to make sure we have it for you.  (269-244-5690).

Hand decorated apple sugar cookies—these are the only worms you will find in apples here!

The fall bakery items we are offering are:

  • Pies:  apple, pecan, pumpkin, blueberry, cherry and peach
  • Apple Dumplings
  • Pumpkin cupcakes
  • Cookies–several varieties
  • Cinnamon rolls and pecan sticky buns
  • Bread:  cinnamon, whole wheat and 12 grain
  • Slushies:  Cider and grape

Sweet Potatoes:  I have a different philosophy than my Dad had when deciding what crops to grow on the farm.  I plant things that I like and I love sweet potatoes, especially making sweet potato chips!  If you wondered why back in my Dad’s era there were not peas and broccoli, it is because he didn’t like them!!  Yesterday we harvested our first planting of sweet potatoes, several different varieties and they are available on the market now.  You might be surprised at how good a freshly dug sweet potato tastes!

Health and Nutrition fact sheets about the benefits of eating squash and apples are available in the market, please pick one up when you are here.   (Note:  We will not be providing a sheet about the benefits of eating donuts!)

Bosc Winter Pears are here.  They are a golden russet colored pear with an elegant shape.  They are sweet and firm.  They keep very well.   These are available in eating quantities or by the bushel.

Brandy:  Our brandy house will be open on Saturday from 1 – 4,  the pear brandy is finally done and bottled!  Come out and try some and get an informative tour of the brandy process from Bruce.

Picked apples in the market:  We have the following varieties available in the market now, in small quantities as well as bushels.

  • Mollie’s Delicious is a large, sweet eating apple.  It is a late summer apple which we will only have a short time.
  • 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.
  • McIntosh:  This is a classic tart, round/flat apple which is ultra-juicy with a very white flesh.  It is wonderful for applesauce, pies and cider and of course just to eat.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • JonaGold:  This is a large, lovely apple for fresh eating and cooking.   It combines the best qualities of a Jonathan and a Golden Delicious.  It is very crisp, with shades of tart and sweet in each apple.
  • 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.
  • Braeburn:  Sweet with a hint of tart and a firmness that stores well.  They are great bakers too.

We are just starting to pick a few of the following apples, available in small quantities for now, bushels later:

  • 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.
  • Fuji:  This is an apple with sweet and tart flavor, with a low acid content.  It is a very good keeper.
  • Golden Delicious:  A gingery-smooth, sweet taste lies under a thin skin.  Great for applesauce, cider, pies or other desserts.

Fall apples:  The remainder of the fall apples are not ready yet.  We have lots of apples this year, so there will be plenty for whether you want them already picked or to pick your own.   You do not need to call ahead to reserve any apples this year…when we start picking each variety by the bushel–we should have them on hand after they start for several weeks.   (except for the Mutsu–see note below.)

The apples that are yet to come into the market are:

  • Golden Supreme– early October
  • Ida Red-early October
  • Mutsu–early October**(very few trees of these–call ahead to place order)
  • Northern Spy–end of September
  • Pink Lady–mid October
  • Red Delicious–early October
  • Red Rome-mid October

2013 Apple pricing:  All of our picked and U-Pick apples are the same price this year (except for Honeycrisp).  You can mix and match any variety of half-bushels for the bushel price.

  • Bushels:  $24
  • Half bushels:  $13
  • Pecks (1/4 bu): $7
  • 1/2 pecks: $4
  • By the pound:  $1

Honeycrisp pricing:  (No U-Pick) Honeycrisp apples are priced at $2 pound, $8 a half peck (around 5 pounds) and $16 a peck (around 10 pounds.)  Once we start picking more Honeycrisp, we may be able to offer them at bushel pricing and some other specials.   Check back with us.

For our customers who use a lot of apples,  we are offering a “buy or pick 3 bushel special” this year when you buy apples by the bushel.   We started the apple season with this special being for 5 bushels.  But…..reality hit this week when we started some serious harvesting of apples and realized how many there are.    So in order to share the bounty with our customers we are making it a 3 bushel special.

  • The 3 bushel special is good on all of the $24/bushel apples purchased by the bushel, (not by the peck) whether we pick them or you pick them.  (Not on Honeycrisp since they are priced differently.)
  • Please ask us for a punch card if you plan to get that many during the entire season.  You do not need to get them all at the same time if you continue to bring in your punch card.  The price will be adjusted when you get your 3rd bushel.  If you get more than 3,  any bushels purchased after that will be $20.

The reality of how many apples we have hit when we realized that it only took two Cortland trees to fill a 22-bushel bin!

Why are U-Pick apples the same price as picked apples this year?  We have had to move to this pricing model which has been in place at most Michigan apple farms for years.    We are pleased that so many customers and particularly families come out annually and truly enjoy the apple picking experience.   And we want to be able to continue to offer that experience, however, the costs of maintaining an apple orchard along with increased costs due to regulations and liability have necessitated this change.

For a description of these and all of the apples that we grow, please go to the apple listing on our website:  http://www.coreylakeorchards.com/seasonal-offerings/apples/

Fall U-Pick apples:   While not all of the apples are ripe yet, we are going to go ahead and open up the balance of the orchard to pick most of the varieties now.  The ideal picking weekend when most varieties will be ripest will be October 5th and later.  But based on the reality of hectic schedules, some of you can’t come later.    The apples in italics are ready now, the other apples you may pick but we are advising you to wait if you can, but if you can’t, “spot pick” them carefully, going after the ripest ones on the tree.

  • Cameo
  • Cortland
  • Fuji
  • Gala
  • Golden Delicious
  • Ida Red
  • JonaMac
  • Jonathan
  • Jonagold
  • Mollie’s Delicious
  • Mutsu
  • Northern Spy
  • Red Delicious

Information for apple picking:  We are open 8 – 6 daily, please be finished by 6 pm.  Bring baskets if you have them, if not, we will set you up with bags/baskets.  Please dress appropriately for an orchard, where natural hazards exist (bees, tall grass under the trees, the occasional sprig of poison ivy, etc.)   This year it has been particularly difficult to mow next to the  trees, because the trees are so full of apples that the branches touch the ground.  We do not supply any ladders, so if you would like to get that perfect apple that is beyond your reach, please bring your own.

Apple Gleaning:  Many of you are looking for a way to get apples inexpensively for feeding horses, deer, or even juicing and canning in large quantities.  This year due to the size of the apple crop we will probably be able to open our end of year gleaning, where you can pick what is left on the ground or on the tree, for $4 a bushel.  This will not be until sometime in late October when the harvest is complete.

U-Pick grapes:  The White Niagara grapes are now open for picking and the Purple Concords are open for picking, but still not as ripe as we would like.  We would advise you to wait until the 2nd week of October if you can to allow the Concord grapes to get riper, the foliage is very thick this year. 

  • Picking hours:  Our picking hours are 8 am to 6 pm, we ask that you be finished and checked out by 6.
  • 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).

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 about a month or so.  That depends of course on the weather and how many customers we have.     There is a good grape crop this year, but the vines and foliage are very heavy this year, which is one of the reasons why they are late and not ripening well.

Can I wait and pick both colors of grapes at the same time?  Yes, we have held a large vineyard of the white Niagara to pick when you come for the purple Concords.

Cider:  We will be pressing cider every Thursday evening, so a fresh batch will be available around 8:30 on Friday mornings.    Cider pricing this year is $6 a gallon, buy 3 or more gallons at the same time at $5 a gallon.

Fall ornamentals, mums and squash:  We have a good selection now of mums, gourds, indian corn and winter squash to choose from, in addition to Diane’s painted pumpkins.

Pumpkins:  Riley Pumpkin Farm, just down the road from us has brought over some of their amazing extra large pumpkins.  These are great to put on a deck or porch for the season.  They are priced at a special of $8 each, 2 for $15 or 3 for $20.  There are other pumpkins available, white, tan and orange at a variety of pricing from $2 on up.

Spookley Storybook:  Please check out our large storybook about Spookley the square pumpkin in the yard by the pumpkin wagon.  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 I 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.

A page from our large storyboard Spookley story.

For planning purposes, the annual Fall Color tour is October 13th this year….there will be lots going on here at the farm that weekend, pick up a brochure when you are here.

Everyone at Corey Lake Orchards thanks you for buying local and we hope to see you during our fall season!

 

 

U-Pick grape opening dates, cider is here, more apples are in, fresh pumpkin pies are in the bakery!

U-Pick grapes:  We will officially open for picking the White Niagara grapes on Sunday, September 15th and the Blue Concords on Sunday, September 22nd

Picking hours:  Our picking hours are 8 am to 6 pm, we ask that you be finished and checked out by 6.

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).

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 about a month or so.  That depends of course on the weather and how many customers we have.   We have many blocks of Concord available but fewer white Niagara.  There is a good grape crop this year, the vines and foliage are very heavy this year, which is one of the reasons why they are late….it has taken more days to get the sun and warmth through the foliage to ripen them.

Can I wait and pick both colors of grapes at the same time?  Yes, but you should plan on trying to come in the first several weeks we are open for the Concord grapes, as there are fewer white grapes to pick.

Picked apples in the market:  We have the following varieties available in the market now, in small quantities as well as bushels.

  • Mollie’s Delicious is a large, sweet eating apple.  It is a late summer apple which we will only have a short time.
  • 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.
  • McIntosh:  This is a classic tart, round/flat apple which is ultra-juicy with a very white flesh.  It is wonderful for applesauce, pies and cider and of course just to eat.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Fall apples:  The remainder of the fall apples are not ready yet.  We have lots of apples this year, so there will be plenty for whether you want them already picked or to pick your own.   You do not need to call ahead to reserve any apples this year…when we start picking each variety by the bushel–we should have them on hand.   (except for the Mutsu–see note below.)   We expect to open U-Pick apples on Sunday, September 22nd.  Not all varieties will be ready at that time, we will publish a list next week of what will be ready for picking.

The apples that are yet to come are:

  • Braeburn–mid October–(no -U-Pick)
  • Cameo–late September
  • Fuji–mid October
  • Golden Delicious–late September
  • Golden Supreme– early October (no U-Pick)
  • Ida Red-early October
  • Jonathan-late September
  • Jonagold–late September
  • Mutsu–early October**(very few trees of these–call ahead to place order)
  • Northern Spy–end of September
  • Pink Lady–mid October–(No U-pick)
  • Red Delicious–early October
  • Red Rome-mid October

2013 Apple pricing:  All of our picked and U-Pick apples will be the same price this year (except for Honeycrisp).  You can mix and match any variety of half-bushels for the bushel price.

  • Bushels:  $24
  • Half bushels:  $13
  • Pecks (1/4 bu): $7
  • 1/2 pecks: $4
  • By the pound:  $1

For our customers who use a lot of apples,  we are offering a “buy or pick 5 bushel special” this year when you buy apples by the bushel.    Please ask us for a punch card if you plan to get that many during the entire season.  You do not need to get them all at the same time if you continue to bring in your punch card.  The price will be adjusted when you get your 5th bushel.  If you get more than 5,  any bushels purchased after that will be $20.

Honeycrisp pricing:  Honeycrisp apples are priced at $2 pound, $8 a half peck (around 5 pounds) and $16 a peck (around 10 pounds.)  Once we start picking more Honeycrisp, we may be able to offer them at bushel pricing.  Check back with us.

Why are U-Pick apples the same price as picked apples this year?  We have had to move to this pricing model which has been in place at most Michigan apple farms for years.    We are pleased that so many customers and particularly families come out annually and truly enjoy the apple picking experience.   And we want to be able to continue to offer that experience, however, the costs of maintaining an apple orchard along with increased costs due to regulations and liability have necessitated this change.

Cider:  We pressed our first cider on Thursday afternoon.  It is a mix of Earli-blaze, McIntosh, Gala, Jon-a-Mac’s, Mollie’s Delicious and some Nu-reds.     For the first cider of the year we think it came out well.   Ask us for a sample if you would like to try it before you buy some.  Cider pricing this year is $6 a gallon, buy 3 or more gallons at the same time at $5 a gallon.

Fall ornamentals, mums and squash:  We have a good selection now of mums, gourds, pumpkins, indian corn and winter squash to choose from.

Pears:  We only have a few bushel of Bartlett left and then they will be gone for the year.  We do have our famous Sugar pears on the market for sale now.

Stanley Prune Plums:  We still have plenty of plums for sale at $20 a bushel.  This is a great plum to eat, make jam or to can because they are freestone.  This year they are very sweet.  We have samples available to try.

Tomatoes:  Our tomatoes have really been picked out and with the cool weather need to ripen again.  Please do NOT come out for U-Pick until they ripen up (please call us for an update on 269-244-5690).  We are no longer offering our picked tomato special. If you are looking for bushels of picked tomatoes, please call us to order them.

Onions:  Our hanging and bagged onions are now available in the market.  We had a very difficult growing season with our onions getting off to a bad start in the cool, damp spring.  Therefore, they never reached their full size and are considerably smaller than we have ever had.   We only were able to harvest about 50% of the crop so we will not have as many as we usually have.  Sorry….we’ll hope for a better season next year.

Watermelon Special:  Now that are watermelon are finally ready, we are offering a special of $3 your choice until they are gone.  We have some huge ones, we grow these right here.

Bakery update:  All it took was the cooler fall air coming in this week, along with our harvesting of pie pumpkins to get our bakery staff in a fall mood.    This weekend we will have:

  • Pies:  pecan, pumpkin, blueberry, cherry, pear and peach
  • Apple Dumplings are back!!
  • Pumpkin cupcakes
  • Cinnamon rolls and pecan sticky buns
  • Bread:  whole wheat and 12 grain

We now have a frozen slushy machine in the bakery where we are offering cider slushies, made with our own cider.  You will want to try these.  In a few weeks we will also have grape juice slushies.

While I have made pumpkin pies before, (by going to the grocery store and buying canned pumpkin and using the recipe on the can) I for one was pretty surprised when I saw the bakers actually using real pie pumpkins that we grew.  And….when I tasted the pumpkin muffins this morning, the real pumpkin flavor was delightful.

Above:  Michaela picking out pie pumpkins to use in the bakery, then with help from Patti and Jan, preparing them to go into pies and cupcakes. 

Brandy: The brandy house will be open on Saturday as usual from 1 – 4.  Bruce has been very busy this week fermenting our largest run of pear brandy in history!  (Pear brandy is my favorite….can’t wait for it to be distilled!!)

Lots happening as fall arrives at Corey Lake Orchards–we thank you for buying local and hope to see you soon.

Beth and everyone at Corey Lake Orchards

 

 

 

Fall 2012: The year we all learn to love Golden/Yellow Delicious apples!!

Earlier in the year we told you that based on this year’s apple shortage you might have to try a new apple instead of your usual favorite.  With it being apple season, we are all used to having the market chock full of different kinds of apples, but right now, our shelves are mostly full of Golden/Yellow Delicious.  If this is your favorite apple, then you are all set as these are  what we have the most of this year!   If you haven’t tried one before, please come enjoy one of our free samples.  Golden Delicious have a gingery-smooth sweet taste under a thin skin.  They are great to eat fresh or cut up in salads; an excellent cooking apple for making applesauce, juice, pie or other desserts.  It was my mother’s favorite pie apple.

Golden Delicious glistening in the morning dew 9-20-12

No U-Pick apples:  Another  reminder that we will not have U-Pick apples this year due to how many apples we lost in the spring frost/freeze.   We had many families who came last weekend not realizing this and thus, many disappointed children.  Some parents asked (most begged and pleaded!) if they couldn’t just take their kids out to the orchard to pick a few.    We ask for your understanding of this unusual and difficult year.  When you come to pick apples, we want it to be a good experience, which it would not be this year.  75% of our apple trees have less than 20 apples on the tree, and then,  some of those are damaged (scarred) by the frost, fortunately we can make cider out of these.   Here are a few pictures to show you the picking conditions.

 

Apples scarred by the frost
An apple here, an apple there does not make for very easy picking….

Apple update:  Apples are continuing to go fast given how few we have this year.    We encourage you to call ahead to make sure the apple you want is available.   If we have the apples in the market when you call, we are happy to hold them for you.   269-244-5690.  We will continue to keep our 2012 chart on the website updated with the latest information.  Please note that some of the dates for when our apples will be ready have moved back due to the cooler weather.  You can find the link to the chart on the home page of our website:  http://www.coreylakeorchards.com/2012/08/apple-update-for-2012/

The following apples are available in the market:

  • Braeburn (pecks, half pecks and by the pound only)
  • Golden Delicious (bushels, half bushels, pecks, half pecks and by the pound)
  • Honeycrisp (half pecks and by the pound only, but going fast)
  • Jonathan (half-pecks and by the pound only)

The following apples are currently gone for the year:

  • Cortland
  • Gala
  • EarliBlaze
  • Macintosh
  • Molly’s Delicious
  • JonaGold
  • JonaMac
  • Nu-Red

Cider:  This week’s cider blend is gala, jonathan, honeycrisp and golden delicious and will be available on Friday, September 21st.     Please ask for a sample if you want to try it.  We are sorry but we are only able to make cider once per week due to the apple shortage.  We try to press every Thursday afternoon,  which makes it available starting Friday am.  Lately we have been selling out in 2 – 3 days.

U-Pick Grapes:  Whew!  What a second busy week we have had with grape pickers.   Right now we estimate we have picked about 60% of the Concord (Purple) grapes and  98% of the Niagara (White) that are available to be picked this year.   We anticipate the white Niagara grapes will be gone by the weekend.  Please call in advance if you are coming to pick Niagara grapes to see if there are any left (269-244-5690).   If you want Concord grapes, you need to come out soon.  The grapes are ripe and a few are starting to split.   The forecast for rain and possible frost will only make things worse.  Right now we still have plenty of Concord grapes left and the picking is good.    If you are picking a lot, please bring a small wagon if you have one, we are in the middle of some long rows now!    Please go here for more information on grape picking: http://www.coreylakeorchards.com/2012/08/update-on-grapes-apples-and-labor-day-weekend/

Picked Grapes:  If you want Concord grapes by the bushel, please call ahead to order them.  They will be $10 a half/bushel or $18 a bushel.  269-244-5690.

A Vineyard surprise:  Each morning I walk the grape rows to assess how many grapes are left.  This morning I was startled by a mother bird flying out at me, but then delighted at peeking inside the vines to see her young family!  (Isn’t this supposed to be a spring-time thing??)

A pleasant morning surprise in the vineyard, 9-20-12

 

Fall Ornamentals:  We have started bringing in our large “Jack o’ Lantern” pumpkins.  We have some beautiful and hardy mums in all colors, including large pots with 3 different colors in them.    White pumpkins, small “pie” pumpkins, cinderella pumpkins, miniature gourd pumpkins and all kinds of other gourds are now available.   The painted pumpkins and gourds by Diane are here and are as cute as they are each year.

Winter Squash:  We have butternut, buttercup, acorn, spaghetti squash, hubbard and sweet dumpling squash.

Baked Goods: This weekend we will have Apple, Blueberry, Cherry, and Cran-Apple pies, all of our apple pies will be made with the fresh apples grown here at our farm. They will also have their apple dumplings which are made using our whole cored Cortland apples. They will also have pumpkin cupcakes (the same ones everyone loved last year), along with all the usual cookies.

Other Fruit:    Available in the market now: bosc winter pears, and fall raspberries.  We are getting the raspberries in almost daily, but call us in advance to make sure they are available. 269-244-5690. 

We hope to see you soon and thanks as always for buying local.

Beth and everyone at Corey Lake Orchards