We are at the time of year when we have a dazzlying array of fruits and vegetables – 4 different fruits and close to 30 different types of vegetables.  It’s a lot to manage but we take pride in being able to feed you and our community with fresh and healthy food choices.  This year we are blessed with a bountiful produce supply which allows us to share with several local food banks on a weekly basis.  Below 12 Baskets from Portage is taking a load for their food pantry.

The summer camps are beginning to close as their clientele gets ready to go back to school.  We have six wonderful youth camps near us – Bair Lake Bible Camp, Eberhardt, Friedenswald, Latvian Garezers, Tavor, and Wakeshma.  We thank the parents, children, counselors, and visitors who stopped by to shop at our market this summer.  We appreciate your business and hope you will stop by again whenever you are back in the area.

If you like sunflowers (and useful canvas bags), there are just a few spots left in our Sunflower Paint and Sip class this Friday.  Register today – see details

Our Days and Hours

–Open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 9 am to 6 pm
–Open Sundays from 9 am to 4 pm
–Open Tuesdays from 9 am to 1 pm
–Closed Mondays and Wednesdays

Now open Tuesdays, limited hours.  Many of you have told us that you wish we were open more on weekdays.  We listened and with our current supply of fresh, perishable produce we have decided to open on Tuesdays, from 9 am to 1 pm, for an indefinite period of time.  This gives many of you a chance to pick up your bulk orders to get working on canning and freezing!

Watch our website homepage for updates or call us.  (269) 244-5690.

Looking Ahead ….
–Sunflowers – probably close to the end of August or early September
–Fall apples – most likely starting early September
–Apple cider – usually starting mid-September
–Grapes – typically starting late September

One Ring-a-dingy…
When you call the market, you may have noticed that the same person frequently answers the phone.  Brenda, the other CLO owner, answers remotely from her home in Florida or onsite when she is in Michigan.  She uses her cell which has an 850 Florida area code phone number in case you see that pop up on your screen.  Who says you can’t own a farm and work remotely?  We really appreciate having one very knowledgeable person to be able to talk with you.

The peaches are finally ready!  We hope to have Red Haven available through the weekend and are offering them by the bushel, half bushel, peck, half peck, and quart.  They are freestone, and great for fresh eating, canning, or freezing.

If you would like us to hold some for you, please call us at (269) 244-5690.  Please bring baskets, boxes, tubs, etc. to carry home any bushels or half bushels.

The peaches were handpicked by our own picking crew on a neighboring farm. They were picked firm to not damage them.  Just lay them out on your counter until they are soft.  As soon as they are soft, please refrigerate.

Sweet Corn
Our prime sweet corn variety is now in season, and we are receiving many compliments on how good it is this year.  It is a very sweet, bi-color corn, perfect for fresh eating, canning, and freezing.

Sweet corn is available on the market by the ear, half dozen (white bags), and dozen (clear bags).  We also have bushel bags (5 doz.) available with advance notice.  Please call 269-244-5690 if you’d like us to make one up for you.

This is the time of year when you should eat corn a minimum of 4 days a week!  All recipes start with ripe, fresh corn – and we’ve got you covered!  Here are some cooking ideas.

1.  Microwave – remove large stalk, leave wrapped In husk, cook 3 ears for 5 minutes, let sit for 5 minutes, use gloves or a towel to remove hot husks.
2.  Remove kernels and flat grill it off the cob
3.  Soak in the husks for 15 mins. to 2 hours in cold, salted water.  Cook on the grill.
4.  Save leftover corn and reheat it in a 350-degree oven for 7 minutes.  Apply butter or olive oil first to keep it from drying out.
5.  Remove husks, dip ears in salted water, and cook on the grill.
6.  Use a steamer basket.
7.  Boil in a ‘butter bath’, add some butter to your water, cook 5-8 minutes.
8.  Use an Instant Pot
9.  Wrap in foil and cook over an open flame using indirect heat.

For more information, see Tasting Table’s “12 Tips You Need When Cooking Corn”.

Summer Produce
Summer Apples
We are picking Jersey Macs. Jersey Mac apple is the first good eating apple of the summer, it has the best characteristics of a MacIntosh apple and packs a tart/sweet punch.  Great to have on hand but keep refrigerated; summer apples will only keep for 1-2 weeks.  We have samples to try!

The early Lodi applesauce apple is almost gone.  If you want some, please call us at 269-244-5690 and we can get some ready for you, or ask the market staff when you are here to get them out of the cooler for you.

Already Picked.  We have already picked blueberries from Brookside Farms (our long-term blueberry supplier).  We sell them in pints and quarts as well as 5- and 10-pound bulk boxes.  Blueberry season may last until the end of August this year.

U-Pick. Our blueberries are gone for the year.  If you want to pick blueberries, we recommend going to Brookside Farms in Paw Paw, (269) 657-3500.

Bulk Quantities for Canning and Freezing
If you are interested in large quantities of vegetables for canning or freezing, contact the market (call 269-244-5690) and get on our sign-up sheet.  We will contact you when they are available.  The growing conditions and production yields are outside our control, but we will try our best to fulfill your order.

  • Green beans (half bu. minimum)
  • Sweet corn (bushel minimum, 5 doz.)
  • Canning tomatoes (half bushel minimum)
  • Roma tomatoes (half bushel minimum)
  • Bell peppers (half bushel minimum)
  • Specialty peppers (quarter bushel minimum)
  • Pickling cukes (peck minimum)

Have food preservation questions?
As canning season gets underway, the Food Safety and Preservation hotline from Oregon State University Extension Service is taking calls.  The toll-free hotline, 800-354-7319, runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Pacific time), Monday through Friday, until Oct. 13.  The hotline is staffed by certified Master Food Preserver volunteers.

The OSU Extension also offers publications and guides that we have listed on our website.  They also have a free app – Canning Timer & Checklist – that provides reminders of essential steps in the canning process.  Let us know what you think of their resources.

Alcohol Sampling this Saturday
Sample Wine and Hard Cider, Saturdays, 10 am to 2 pm
Sample our alcohol products or enjoy a wine pour or bottle of hard cider.  Each Saturday, we feature several of our products to give you an opportunity to find the one that is perfect for you.  Tastings are set up in our “breezeway,” the area adjacent to the market with tables.

Alcohol Products
We have 8 different wines, 8 different hard ciders, and assorted fruit brandies.  Our products are made on-site in small batches.  We distill the brandies on the farm and use our fresh apple cider as the basis for fermenting our hard ciders.

Try our best selling wine – Peach and Honey.  It is a sweet wine, a perfect blend of sweet peaches with a taste of honey.

Enjoy our Spaces!
We invite you to sit and relax during our business hours at one of our areas by the market.  The spaces may vary at times depending on our space needs around produce harvest.  For years, people have been stopping by with friends and family to enjoy hanging out together at our vintage tables and chairs or picnic tables.  It is an ideal spot to enjoy a beverage or our many easy-to-grab food items on the market.  We have disposable table service available for your convenience.

We can reserve table space for you upon request – just contact us.  If you are coming with a group, letting us know in advance is helpful.  Bring your friends, family, weekend visitors, and come on over!

This time of year with so much produce coming in you may have to share the space with buckets of produce!  Just part of the ambiance!

Register for Sunflower “Paint and Sip”
Make plans to join us on Friday, August 11 from 4 to 6 pm.  Cost is $37 per person, leave with a tote and a zip bag.  There are just a few spots left!

Start your summer weekend with a fun, relaxing, canvas painting class at the Orchard!  Kalamazoo artist Anna Barnhart will guide you through painting a canvas tote bag AND a personal canvas “pencil” zip bag of vibrant dancing sunflowers.  The tote bag and zip bag are perfect for back-to-school use, carrying work items, stowing project materials, or filling with books to read during those last days of summer vacation.

Open to adults and students aged 16 and over.  Budding artists aged 12 to 15 may participate when accompanied by a registered adult.

Hard ciders, wine, and non-alcoholic drinks will be available as well as snack items while you work!  All supplies are included for this painting workshop (wear a shirt you can paint in).

Explore your creativity and have some fun!  Register by calling the market at 269-244-5690 or online through the link below.  Class size is limited; register at:   https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0C44AAA82FA0FDCE9-painting
(If registering through Facebook, press and hold, versus clicking the link.)

Join us for ‘Yoga at the Orchard’
We offer classes on Saturday mornings starting at 10:30 am throughout the summer   $15 per person, all ages and yoga abilities welcome.  You will receive a check-out slip to take to the market at the end of class that is also good for a free small slushie ($3 value).

Bring bottled water, a beach-size towel, sunscreen, yoga mat, and shoes for walking to the class.  Insect repellant as necessary.  See webpage for details.

What is on the Market this Week

  • Fruit: apples, blueberries, cantaloupe, peaches
  • Tomatoes: red and green
  • Mini tomatoes: various shapes and colors
  • Vegetables: broccoli, zucchini, cucumbers, cauliflower, yellow squash, kohlrabi, and onions
  • Peppers: various types, hot and mild (See story at end of this newsletter on national pepper seed mix-up)
  • Sweet corn
  • Potatoes
  • From Bankson Lake Farms: lettuce mixes, spinach, kale, arugula, mushrooms, carrots, herbs, and garlic bulbs
  • U-pick herbs

Salsa.  If you like fresh salsa, this is the time of year!  Check our produce counters.  Sometimes we have second quality peppers and tomatoes available for sale which are perfect for making salsa. Flowers
Faith in Flora will be here with fresh floral bouquets.

U-Pick Flowers
Flowers from our terrace garden are ready to be picked and taken to brighten up a room!  There are lots of lovely ones to choose from to make up your own bouquet.

Check in at the market for a container and directions.  U-pick bouquets are $10 each and include flowers and fillers (greenery).  We recommend that you pick your flowers in the morning when it is cooler; they will keep longer.

Baked Goods
Enjoy these treats from our bakery!
Saturdays and Sundays only:

  • Cinnamon Rolls
  • Donuts – Buttermilk, Blueberry, and Cherry
  • Yeast Ring donuts – assorted sprinkles and googly eyes

Anytime we are open:

  • Blueberry-Zucchini bread – one of our signature items, seasonal, and very popular!
  • Strombolis (frozen, ready to bake) – assorted flavors in breakfast, traditional, and pizza styles
  • Cookies – Assorted flavors you will surely enjoy!
  • Muffins – A nice selection of flavors perfect for any time of the day
  • Breads – assorted types plus hamburger and hotdog buns
  • Fruit pies (frozen, ready to bake) – Apple, Dutch Apple, Blueberry, Cherry, Peach, Pumpkin, and Strawberry Rhubarb.

Try Moe’s new Bacon Breakfastmoli and Hot Jack Stromboli (chicken, hot jack cheese).
Please contact us if you want to preorder any of our baked goods.

Maple syrup products, honey, jams and jellies, salsas, yogurt, and Jake’s meats.  We also have assorted cheeses, cheese crumbles, crackers, chips, hummus, mustard, eggs, milk, granola, salad dressings, and more.

Sorry, but we are unable to offer ground beef this year like we had hoped.

August 16 is National Bratwurst Day!  We carry some nice bratwursts from Jake’s Meats.  Think of adding it to your menu to celebrate the day.

Yoder’s fry pies in your favorite flavors: Apple, Black Raspberry, Blueberry, Cherry, Peach, Red Raspberry, and Strawberry Rhubarb.

Happenings on the Farm
Taking Out the Greenhouse
Today we started shutting down the greenhouse for the year as our field tomatoes are coming in nicely now.  We picked all the green tomatoes and will be offering those on a special sale here until they’re gone for any of you who want to do something with green tomatoes.  Relish? Fried?  Freeze them?
The Sunflowers are Coming!
Picking, Picking, Sorting and Packing!
We have harvested so much this week that we have used close to 400 half bushel baskets!!  That’s a lot of heavy lifting and we’re thankful to our crew who does this work for us.
Special Exhibit at the Local Library
Check out “Spark! Places of Innovation”, a Smithsonian exhibit at the Three Rivers Public Library, located at 88 N Main Street, Three Rivers.  It runs from July 8 to Aug. 19.
Across the country, gardeners are finding that the pepper seeds they planted, don’t match what they are growing.  For example, a Michigan woman planted banana, jalapeno and bell peppers but only got habaneros.  Another woman from southwest Michigan planted carnival peppers but ended up with banana peppers.

And a Kansas wholesaler that supplies plants to eight states posted about the confusion saying the “mislabeled seed packages from the seed vendor” appeared to be widespread.

It’s unclear exactly what happened but the mystery sheds light on a complicated supply chain, consolidated ownership and four companies that dominate seed production.

According to Phil Howard from Michigan State University, hundreds of formerly independent seed companies ended up in the hands of what are now just four giant chemical corporations globally.  And between the four of them, they control over half the proprietary seed sales for the entire world.  This has increased prices and undercut diversity, making crops more vulnerable to drought, climate change and pests.

“It’s a very risky strategy to have so few firms controlling the foundation of the food supply and making decisions about the food we eat,” Howard said.  It’s tricky to speculate exactly how this mix up happened, but Howard says “putting all our eggs in one basket” creates a system that is not resilient.

Here at CLO, our seeds came from a trusted supplier and our peppers are not mixed up.  This year we have the nicest peppers we’ve ever grown.

If you need peppers for your various food processing needs, we can help you find the “right kind”.