Today is the Autumnal Equinox and we officially welcome the First Day of Fall. We are already noticing the changing light and less hours of daylight, as well as the cooler temperatures. Two weeks ago, we saw the large, very bright, full moon known as the “Harvest Moon”. Though it brought several nights of brightly lit fields, we chose not to harvest into the night!
Below is today’s sunrise at the market. If this is how an autumn sunrise looks, we would like one every day!
These occurrences align with the busy harvest season here at the farm. We are halfway into our apple harvest and our grape harvest is just starting. Both fruits make up the majority of our farming acreage – and the reason why we are so busy and tired! But we know the season will pass too quickly and snow will arrive!
Reminder, our hours this year are 9 am to 6 pm daily, including holidays, closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. You can reach us at (269) 244-5690.
We have a decent crop of our juice grapes, Niagara (white) and Concord (blue) this year. Please be aware that they did receive some minor damage from the hailstorm in June and some splits from excessive rain in September. The season lasts about 2-3 weeks, depending on the weather.
The vineyards open for U-pick on:
- Niagara (white) – Thursday, September 22
- Concord (blue) – Sunday, September 25
Pricing for 2022 is:
- $7 per 5-gallon bucket for 5 buckets or more (100 pounds, 35 cents per pound)
- $14 per 5-gallon bucket for 2 to 4 buckets (70 cents per pound)
- $18 per 5-gallon bucket for 1 bucket (90 cents per pound)
- A 5-gallon bucket of grapes weighs approximately 20 pounds, and is also considered a half bushel
Reservations. You will need to make a reservation to pick grapes. Click here to make a reservation online and click here to get information on our grape u-pick before driving out. Please call us if you need assistance with making a reservation.
If you are interested in already picked grapes, please call us at 269-244-5690 for pricing and information.
We now have freshly squeezed cider available in gallons, half gallons, and quarts! Thank you for your patience while we made repairs to our cider mill. Below is a picture of our first 250 gallons of the year!
Our farm favorite sweet onions are cured and bagged in 3 pound bags. They are ready for you to pick up to use now or store for the winter. The onions are yellow and red.
Shop our “Hail of a Sale” on Apples!
Already Picked Apples
Due to the significant amount of hail damage to our apple crop this year we will have very few first quality apples. Please note how we are selling them this year. Keep in mind that future changes may occur based on yields of specific varieties.
- First quality — quarter peck and half peck size bags only
- Second quality or Processing apples — pecks and half bushel bags only, sold at reduced prices.
- We will not be taking any orders for apples in advance. If we have what you want on hand, we will hold them for you upon request.
- It is taking us much longer to sort and bag the apples this year, so if you are driving from a distance, feel free to call ahead to make sure we have what you would like or can get it ready before you come.
- Animal Apples — lesser quality apples available as animal feed, available at the market for $4.50 a half bu. Bring your own 5-gallon bucket or half bushel basket to put them in and get them for $4. These are bag your own.
Our Hail of a Sale
Thanks to all of you who have been accepting of and buying our Processing apples! Sadly, most of our apple crop was damaged and we appreciate you buying them. There are very few recipes that call for “perfect” apples. We are glad to offer our apples (except for Honeycrisp) to you at a discount. $19 Bushel; $11 half bushel; $7 peck.
What is the Difference between First and Second Quality Apples?
First quality apple bags will contain apples that are medium to large size, have few (1-2 minor hail marks or indents) or no blemishes, and may have full or partial color. More apples than normal will lack full color this year because we picked them from the inside of the tree, where they were protected from the hail, but then were also shaded. Those lacking color will still taste the same, they just look different.
Second quality or Processing apples will be medium to large size and have multiple hail marks. The marks will not be deep and can be easily cut out or eaten around. If you are making applesauce or pies, cooking, freezing, canning, or baking these apples are perfect for your use. They have the same flavor and are discounted – a much more economical way to get useable apples. This is the first time we have sold processing apples as in the past we used all of them for our cider.
If you are new to processing apples (or any produce), you may want to check out the resources on our Food Preservation page on our website.
We are also selling food mills on the market; everyone must have one of these! They are best way to make applesauce ever, without peeling!
U-Pick Apples. We are sorry but there will be no u-pick apples this year.
Due to the extent of hail damage, we feel we cannot provide the quality apple picking experience that you want and expect. Despite not having u-pick apples, we still welcome you to the farm this fall for many other great farm experiences. If you want to pick apples, there are many other orchards in Michigan that offer u-pick. Check Michigan Farm Fun, an online directory of Michigan farm markets to find an orchard near you. This is going to be a great year for Michigan apples, there will be so many!!
More on Apples
When will Certain Apple Varieties be Ready?
This apple chart estimates the approximate week we believe our various apple varieties will ripen. It is only our best guess – the weather can ripen them earlier of cause delays. We will update this chart throughout the season so keep checking the link or visit our website.
On the market now:
- Cortland: A hint of tartness makes this a great baking variety, a descendent of the McIntosh. This variety is a bit sweeter than its ancestor and juices really well.
- Gala: A great eating and cooking apple. It has a crisp snappy bite over a mellow sweetness. Very versatile, great for eating or cooking.
- 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: Superbly crisp and juicy with shades of tart and sweet in each apple, very large and aromatic. Cross between a Jonathan and Golden Delicious.
- Jonamac: Medium to large fruit with 90% red color over a greenish background. Firm, crisp flesh with flavor similar to a Macintosh. Superior eating quality, also can be used for baking.
- Macintosh: A medium to large sized fruit with red color. A sweet yet sharp flavor which makes it good for fresh eating, cooking, and drying. This apple is almost gone for the year.
- Mollie’s Delicious: a large, sweet eating apple, not a cooking apple
- Nu-Red: A crisp, tart, hard, crunchy apple. An improved version of a Red Rome. Good for fresh eating, applesauce, pies, and baking. This year these are the best ever for flavor, come try one, it might be your new favorite apple.
Coming next will be Jonathan, followed by Golden Delicious.
Canning tomatoes are gone for the year. The heavy rains brought the season to an end. If you had preordered them for this week, we will still have your order. We will also have tomatoes already picked for sale by the quart for a few more days.
We have two varieties of pears now. Both pears are picked green and ripen from the inside out in about 7 to 10 days. Both are very sweet once ripe.
The Bartletts are available in various sizes from quart boxes to bushels. We also have samples if you would like to try one.
Bosc pears have a russet skin. They need to soften to enjoy them best, nice, sweet pear. They are “keepers” and will store for several months in a cool, dark place.
Bell peppers are still in season. They are perfect for freezing so that you can enjoy them all year round. Or have stuffed peppers, salsa, and more now. Pricing: $25 bushel, $13 half bushel. Please call ahead if you would like us to hold some for you. 269-244-5690
What is Available on the Market this Week
From our fields
- Bell Peppers
- Squash – Butternut, buttercup, acorn and other fall varieties
- Tomatoes – probably only through the weekend
From our orchards and vineyards
- Pears – Bartlett and Bosc
- Niagara (white) juice grapes
- Concord (blue) juice grapes
- Both grapes are available in small sizes by the quart, larger quantities must be pre-ordered
From Bankson Lake Farms
- Lettuce blends
- Swiss Chard
Fall Ornamentals. We have a nice variety of fall ornamentals for your fall decorating! Choose from colorful corn, gourds, and decorative squash and pumpkins.
Dried and Fresh Floral Arrangements. We will have dried floral arrangements this weekend from Flowerfield Farmstead. We will also have fresh flower bouquets from Faith in Flora.
U-Pick Flowers. Make your own bouquet using flowers from our terrace garden by the parking lot. Keep in mind that it is best to pick flowers when it is cool, like early in the morning if it is a hot day. Please see clerk for scissors and cutting instructions.
All the herbs in our herb garden are ready to pick! Price is $1.50 for a snack size bag. Scissors and bags are on the market, see clerk for assistance.
Local Grocery Items
Fresh products from our local suppliers – honey, maple syrup products, jams and jellies, salsa, eggs, and Jake’s meats.
We have a nice selection of hard ciders, wine, and fruit brandy perfect for relaxing.
- 8 total wines from red, white, dry to sweet
- 8 total hard ciders from dry to sweet, made onsite
- Various fruit brandies made onsite from various fruits
- Rufus Rye, our new straight rye whiskey
We sell hard cider in singles, 4-packs, and 6-packs. You may mix and match to make your own unique pack. A great cider for fall is our Maple – apple hard cider with maple syrup and a bit of vanilla.
From the Bakery
- Yeast donut rings
- Muffins: Apple Spice, Pumpkin, and other varieties
- Cookies: Monster, Caramel Apple, and other varieties
- Homemade Cinnamon bread
- Breads: Italian, hot dog and hamburger buns
- Fruit pies: our signature “take and bake” fruit pies are a must have; find them in the freezer section
- Homemade Apple Crisp
We are making homemade Apple Crisp from our Cortland apples. They are baked, and ready to eat as is or warmed up.
Our wonderful hot donuts are available on Saturdays and Sundays.We are into our Fall flavors of Apple Cider, Pumpkin, and Buttermilk donuts!
Strombolis: Take and bake from our freezer, plus find Marinara sauce in the grocery section. We have the pizza type and a quiche type for breakfast eating.
- Pizzamoli – pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese
- Sausage Pizzamoli – pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, and sausage
- Pepperoni Pizzamoli – pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, and pepperoni
- Moe’s Specialty – garlic Italian sausage, mozzarella cheese, hint of oregano
- Breakfastmoli – eggs, cheddar cheese
- Sausage Breakfastmoli – eggs, cheddar cheese, sausage
- Ham Breakfastmoli – eggs, cheddar cheese, shaved ham
- Veggie Breakfastmoli – eggs, cheddar cheese, and either kale or spinach added
Keep in mind that you can call ahead to order any of your favorites and we will have them ready for you to pick up.
Happenings on the Farm
Save the Date! Make plans to join us for the Fall Color Tour on Sunday, Oct. 9, from 11 am to 4 pm. We will have arts, crafts, and specialty vendors, live music, food trucks, happy hour, and other activities. See our website for more information.
We appreciate everyone’s support of our farm, especially during this difficult apple season.
Thank you for your continued support and for buying local. Everyone at Corey Lake Orchards appreciates you!