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

Corey Lake Orchards

Rain, Rain, Go away, Come again another Day!

Spring Greetings to all!  We are busy preparing to officially open for the 2019 season on Friday, May 3rd. 

And already our fretting about the weather begins!  While we love a good rain, could we just have a few drying days so we can get things planted?  Plants are piling up, ready to be in the ground, but it’s just too wet.  We have 28,000 onion sets holding on wagons and trucks.  This year we once again had onion seeds planted for us at a local greenhouse, as we were so much happier with the quality of the plant and had such beautiful onions last year.  Good news…. onions from our 2018 crop held over the winter and you will be able to buy them when we open!

Asparagus sighting!  Yes, asparagus is starting to push through the soil.  If the warm temperatures forecasted for next week do happen, there’s a chance we might have asparagus next weekend (April 27th).  If you’d like to get on our list we will contact you when we have the first picking.  Call us at 269-244-5690 and leave your name, how many pounds you’d like and a phone number.  We’ll accommodate as many of you as we can with fresh-picked asparagus!  Pricing is: $2.50 a pound; 10 pounds or more for $2.25 a pound.

The bakery will also open for the year on Friday, May 3rd, and yes, they will be making donuts that day!  (Reminder: we make our cake donuts on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.)  For Mother’s Day Weekend we will have our Chocolate Cream Pies and will be offering a free cake donut to all moms who come visit us!

Opening weekend’s offerings will be:

  • Cookies: Flower Cut Outs, M&M “Monster” Cookies, Ginger Molasses, S’mores, and Lemon
  • Pies: Apple, Blueberry, Cherry, Rhubarb and Strawberry Rhubarb
  • Breads: Whole Wheat, Whole Grain, Cinnamon, Hamburger and Hotdog Buns
  • Cinnamon Rolls, Sticky Buns, Yeast Donuts
  • Summer flavors cake donuts: Buttermilk, Blueberry, and Cherry
  • Slushies 

Bedding plants:  We will be stocking vegetables, flower annuals, and tomato plants.  As you think about your garden needs, plan on getting your plants here.  We hope to have most of our plants available by opening weekend.

Straw: We have extra bales of straw available for your mulching needs.  Straw is $6/bale or 4 bales for $20.  If you need straw before we officially open, just call us and we’ll set up a time to meet you.  269-244-5690.

Brandies, Wine and Hard Ciders:  Will be on the shelf when we open and we will post what kinds we will have.

Earth Day is a worldwide, annual event celebrated on Monday, April 22.  This year, go outside no matter the weather and enjoy the smell of fresh air, contact with the soil, and companionship with nature!

Every day is Earth Day to a farmer.  We care about the environment and realize the land we work is precious.  We strive to be good stewards and use sustainability practices to do our part in making the world a better place.  We appreciate our customers, too, as you support us by buying local food to reduce the distance from farm to fork.

Reminder:  Corey Lake Orchards will now be closed every Tuesday.  We are sharing this with you in advance and will continue to share it since it is a major change.  As a small family business, we have begun to realize that to best serve our customers with an exceptional product and experience, we need a down day once per week to regroup, reorganize, and re-energize.

Happenings on the farm:

A never-ending field job, picking up the rocks that make it to the surface.  It seems like when we think we have finished, another one has magically appeared.  We will be laying plastic mulch in the field we are working on here so any rock we miss can tear the plastic.  This rock pile is from one small field, 4 people working for 3 hours, whew!  A great work out…..

 

The greenhouse has loved the weather of the past weeks, not too hot, not too cold, perfect for gradual growing.

tiny cucumbers forming!

Lettuce bowls growing alongside tomatoes in the greenhouse

We wish everyone a good holiday weekend and look forward to seeing you soon.

Spring Greetings and 2019 Season Opening Information

Spring greetings to all!  We are busy preparing to officially open for the 2019 season on Friday, May 3rd. 

Depending on Mother Nature over the next several weeks, we could open earlier if asparagus is ready.    You will be the first to know if we have an asparagus sighting!

The winter season always gives us time to reflect on our business.  While the winter tasks of maintaining equipment and pruning keep us busy (and we’re still not finished!), we take time to attend conferences and educational sessions to keep up on this ever changing world of agriculture and regulatory compliance.  Brenda and Beth visited some amazing farms in Florida, Michigan and Indiana, grateful for our peers who opened their farms and shared with us what works and what doesn’t work.  We look forward to sharing our new ideas and operational changes as the season unfolds!

Our first major change is that Corey Lake Orchards will now be closed every Tuesday.  We are sharing this with you in advance, and will share it every chance we get so that all of you know.  As a small family business, we have begun to realize that to best serve our customers with an exceptional product and experience, we need a down day once per week to regroup, reorganize, and re-energize.

The bakery will re-open for the year on Friday, May 3th, and yes, they will be making donuts that day. (Reminder: we only make cake donuts on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.)  More to come next week on the offerings for opening weekend and specials for Mother’s Day Weekend (Sunday, May 12) so that you can place your Mother’s Day orders.

Bedding plants: We will be stocking vegetables, flower annuals, and tomato plants as we normally do.  So as you think about your garden needs, plan on getting your plants here.  We hope to have most of our plants available on opening weekend.

Straw: We have extra bales of straw available for your mulching needs. Straw is $6/bale or 4 bales for $20. If you need these before we officially open, just call us and we’ll set up a time to meet you.  269-244-5690.

Happenings on the farm:

We got our potatoes planted last week on one of those nice days before it rained.  We planted our favorites:  Red Norland and Yukon Gold’s!  So ready for the taste of a new potato fresh out of the ground.

Potato planter loaded and ready to go.

Seven long rows of potatoes finished!

If you drive by, you’ll see the straw has been spread on the strawberry fields, which serves as a weed mulch, keeps the berries cleaner by not having them touch the soil, and makes it much more comfortable for those who get right down on their hands and knees when they pick!  Our thanks to David, Tomas, Amy and Liv for getting this done in record time this year!

The greenhouse tomatoes are coming along great as you can see from the pictures below.   The greenhouse cucumbers are doing exceptional this year, and at the rate they are growing, they may be ready before the tomatoes, which will be a first!  We hope all of us can enjoy that first BLT mid-May!

Look at all the blossoms on the tomato plants!

Green tomatoes peeking out

Looking forward to seeing everyone soon!  Everyone at Corey Lake Orchards

A Winter Hello!

A winter hello from Corey Lake Orchards. As we trek carefully around the ice on the farm, we’re looking forward to the next few days of sun to melt this away and allow us to walk without trepidation!

Reminds us why we aren’t open in the winter!

The greenhouse is ready to go for the year and the tomato plants are ready to make their journey from Schram’s Greenhouses in Portage to the farm as soon as we get the right window of above freezing to safely move them. We hope by this weekend that they will be all transplanted and growing to be ready for that first BLT in May. And, can we say yet again what a pleasure it is to work in the sunny tropical-like greenhouse in the winter?

We were pleased to win the Three Rivers Commercial News 2018 Readers Choice Award for Best Farm Market. We thank those of you who cast your vote for us and hope this year we can keep true to the title. It’s always nice to be acknowledged and it inspires us to continue our work to ensure that you have great experiences at our farm.

This winter has found all of us in our usual catch up, regroup, and re-energize mode.  Some of the worst days allowed us to stay by the fire while we contemplated the 2018 season and planned for 2019.

Bone chilling weather on January 31st,  a minus 20 degrees F

Our peach trees “just chillin” on February 13th

I attended the annual “Farmers Inspired” Conference in Indiana at the beginning of February. This is a national association of 300+ farmers and agritourism operators. There were two days of educational sessions and three days of touring some amazing farms in Indiana. It’s always fun to be a guest at someone else’s farm and get the inside scoop while having great conversations and learning among all our peers.

I led a sunflower panel at the conference and have great new ideas for 2019

Congratulations to Venue 45 for their recent opening in downtown Three Rivers!  Be sure to check out their beautiful new space where you will find a hard cider of ours available along with excellent cocktails and mocktails. http://www.threeriversnews.com/local-news/venue-45-set-open-week?fbclid=IwAR0gB3O24AGlN1bhj9T4uoP2kk2lA540qHz1-4TPfDtmICdsCooU8TePl7s

You can also get our hard cider at The Local in Centreville, the Riviera Theatre in Three Rivers, Hoffman Street Market, Mega-Bev in Oshtemo, and Salut Market in Kalamazoo.

Yes, we were envious of our own Barb and Brenda enjoying fresh strawberry shortcake in Florida this past week. So we will leave you with reminder of good things to come.

Looks like we already have our strawberry queens for the year when they return from Florida

 

From all of us at Corey Lake Orchards, stay warm…we’ll be sharing more in the near future about what this year’s season will bring.

 

 

Winter Solstice: Wishing You Peace

From the Farmer’s Almanac:

The winter solstice is the day with the fewest hours of sunlight in the whole year. This year, the winter solstice arrives today, Friday, December 21, at 5:23 pm EST.

Coincidentally, December’s full Moon—the Full Cold Moon—will also appear on the night of the 21st, though it will not be at its absolute peak until the next day. So, keep your eyes peeled for a (near) Winter Solstice Full Moon that night! (Believe it or not, the next full Moon to actually peak on the winter solstice won’t be until 2094!)

The day of the winter solstice is the shortest day of the year, meaning the one in which we experience the least amount of daylight in 24 hours; it is also the time when the Sun reaches its southernmost point in the sky. Although this part of Earth is cooling, its great thermal mass still retains some heat from the summer and fall. As the gradual cooling process continues over the next two months, temperatures will continue to fall, and the coldest temperatures will be recorded.

As winter officially begins (even though the weather is autumnal) everyone here at the farm wishes you a most peaceful winter. For we farmers who spend so much time in the sun, thinking about growing hours and daylight, winter on the farm is an important time. It is the time when our orchards, vineyards and fields go into their deep sleep to prepare for another growing season. It is the time when all of us get to catch up with family and friends, linger over a cup of coffee, delight in eating our frozen/canned fruits and vegetables, and not set alarms. The moments of quiet and solitude are perhaps the best gifts we receive as we find time to relax and rejuvenate. All the best to all of you!

Now Taking Pie Appointments (or Hard Cider/Produce – Onions, Lettuce, Carrots)!

While the market is closed as we take our winter breather, we also know that some of you would like to pick up items we might still have for yourself or others. We know a lot of customers like giving hard ciders and brandies as gifts, and we’re happy to help you choose something local and special. We’re also happy to get you some healthy produce! Here’s what is available:

Onions:  Due to having such a great onion crop, we still have bags of beautiful onions and they are cured to keep. They are $9 for a 10 pound bag, buy 2, get one free.

Organic Lettuce and Carrots: Becca keeps produce warm and cozy all winter long in the hoophouse – if you’d like some lettuce or carrots for winter salads and snacking, please call and set up an appointment. If we’re out we’ll harvest “on demand” and we promise it’s fresh and tasty – all the cold really makes for tasty, sweet veggies. Some kale available too.

“Take and Bake” Pies: Our busy apple peelers and bakery elves have been in over the last few weeks processing our great Northern Spy apples for pies. Which means: you can get our pies and bake them in your own oven, meaning you get the deliciousness, the amazing smell of apple pie wafting through your house, all of the glory and none of the mess of making a pie from scratch. You can get these by appointment as well. Call us at 269-244-5690.

Hard Ciders: Becca made a special winter cider with hibiscus, lime, and spice that’s now available and it is scrumptious. We also have: Hometown Hero (blackberry/elderberry/rose hip), Preach (pear/peach), Brunch (maple/vanilla), Hopped, Blueberry, Ginger, Standard Sweet, Standard Dry, Semi-Sweet, Cortabella, United Squash Federation, Kaiser Cyser, and Cherry Wine. As always, we have mix and match deals on small bottles and deals on large bottles.

For spirits, we have: Apple Brandy (Oak-Aged and Glass-Aged), Cherry Brandy, Niagara Grape Brandy, Double-Distilled Niagara Grape Brandy, Concord Brandy, Grappa, Peach Brandy, Pear Brandy, and new: Crane’s Cry Rye Whiskey. Becca made this small, 15-gallon batch of whiskey and has been aging it for a good long while. If you like whiskey, try it out.

Where can you get our wines, brandies, and ciders in the winter?

  1. Our brandies and wines are available by appointment – call us at (269) 244-5690 and leave a message if we don’t answer, and we’ll help you out.
  2. Buy from one of our local partners!
    • Kalamazoo customers, you can now get us at Salut Market on Westnedge Hil. Many of you had asked where oh where you could get our hard cider closer to home. If you’ve never been into this amazing bottle shop, we seriously recommend it. Lots of specialty wines, cheeses, and other foods, and now our hard cider too.
    • Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids Customers: Mega-Bev! They’re right off of 131, have an incredible selection of beers, wines, spirits, cocktail foods, gifts, and more, and they’re also a family-owned business with a strong local commitment and we really appreciate their support.
    • Bars that carry some of our ciders to drink there or to take home include The Riviera Theatre in Three Rivers, Salut Tasting Room on Westnedge Hill, and The Local in Centreville, Michigan.
    • We also have bottled cider at Hoffman Street Grocery in Three Rivers.

That’s one big bowl of apples to stir, thanks Patti!

 

Everyone at Corey Lake Orchards thanks you for your patronage in 2018 and for buying local!