Thursday, September 7, 2023
Labor Day weekend, the unofficial end to summer, has ended and hopefully the heat and humidity, too, though summer is not quite over.  These first few weeks of September are a precursor as we await the cool, crisp days of fall.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by during the holiday weekend to shop, paint, do yoga, pick apples, and enjoy our sunflower experience.  It was a busy weekend of activities, and it was very nice to see everyone!  See the end of this newsletter for some fun pictures from the sunflower field and other activities!  If you have a photo to share, please email it to us at or post it on Instagram at #coreylakeorchards.

Please note that we are switching to our Fall Hours starting now through October 31.

Our Days and Hours for Fall
Fall Hours
9 am to 6 pm                Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
9 am to 4 pm                Sunday
Closed                          Monday, Wednesday

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

Looking Ahead ….

  • Fall apples – (already picked and u-pick), various varieties starting as they ripen
  • Apple cider – usually starting mid-September
  • Grapes – typically starting late September (already picked and u-pick)
  • Blueberries, peaches, canning tomatoes – last call!
  • Sweet Corn – gone for the season
U-Pick Apples – Late Summer Varieties
A limited area of the u-pick apple orchard will be open this Thursday through Sunday for selected late summer apple varieties only – Jonamac, McIntosh, and Mollie’s Delicious.  We are picking in one of our newer orchards with smaller trees and lots of space, making picking a true pleasure for the family.

Check in at the market for picking bags and directions.  Please exit the orchard at least 30 minutes before the market closes.  Must pick a one peck minimum.  See details on u-pick apple webpage.

Sunday is National Grandparents Day.  Grandparents and their grandchildren share a special bond.  These hugging, caring and patient people in the lives of children offer more than a generous dose of love.  Grandparents provide an abundance of wisdom, offer guidance and stability, and are super at apple picking (or overseeing it!)  We love seeing so many grandparents bringing their grandchildren to our farm and extending to them the same experiences they had growing up.

  • McIntosh.  An old time favorite.  An aromatic, juicy, sweet, and tangy tart.  The tender white flesh and distinctive flavor makes it great for applesauce.
  • Jonamac.  A good cooking or eating apple.  It has the best qualities of a Jonathon and a McIntosh apple, resembles the McIntosh in flavor.  It is a favorite for apple sauce.
  • Mollie’s Delicious.  A crisp, sweet, and juicy apple with white flesh, originated from Golden Delicious.  Great for fresh eating.
Peaches and Canning Tomatoes – Last Call!
We currently have Crest Haven and Flamin’ Fury peaches.  All are freestone and are excellent for fresh eating, cooking, canning, and freezing.  They are available by the bushel, half bushel, peck, half peck, and quart.  If you are interested in bushels or half bushels, you may call us to hold them for you.  (269-244-5690).  Also, please bring containers like boxes, tubs, etc. to get the peaches home in.

Keep in mind that peaches are 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.

We are also wrapping up the canning tomato season.  If you still need some, please give us a call so we can set some aside for you.  While we may have tomatoes until the first frost, after apple picking starts it is difficult for us to maintain the field and pick them.

Grapes for Juicing
We grow both Niagara (white) and Concord (blue) seeded grapes for juice and jelly.  If you drive by, put your windows down as you will smell the sweet grape aroma in the air!

Neither of the grapes are ready yet but typically start towards late September.  The Niagara usually ripen a week ahead of the Concords.  The season for each variety is about 3-4 weeks depending on the weather.

We have a good crop this year.  When it gets closer to the season, we will announce the start date and open the u-pick reservation system.  We encourage you to pick your own as they are easy to pick, and being in the vineyard is peaceful and enjoyable.

Our pricing is on a sliding scale – the more you pick the less you pay per pound.  Discounts are given for 21-99 pounds and over 100 pounds.  We encourage picking in 5-gallon plastic buckets or half bushel baskets (both hold 20 pounds) for easier handling in the vineyard and quantifying the amount you picked.

Watch these newsletters and our website for updates.

Early Fall Apples – What’s Currently Available
Blondee.  A medium sized apple, crispy and crunchy, white flesh slow to brown, sweet, and low acid.  Great for eating or baking.  Part of the Gala family.

Earliblaze.  We are one of the few farms around that grow Earlilblaze, a great summer apple.  It is firm and tart, and great for eating, baking and applesauce.  It is one of only two apples that we use in our bakery because it makes such a great pie.  (The second variety we use is a fall apple – Northern Spy.)

Early Honeycrisp.  A people’s favorite.  It is crisp with an excellent sweet flavor and a “bite” to it.  Great for eating fresh or using in salads.  Keeps only several weeks.

Gala.  (Starting Friday).  A crisp, snappy bite over mellow sweetness.  It is Michigan’s 3rd most popular apple!  Very versatile, great for eating or cooking.

Ginger Gold.  One of the best early season eating apples.  Sweet and mildly tart flavor.  Great for salads and snacks as they are slow to turn brown, and cooking and baking.

Kindercrisp.  (Very few left).  Very crispy and sweet, medium size, with a flavor and a texture similar to a Honeycrisp, one of its parents.  Ideal for fresh eating, best kept refrigerated.

McIntosh.  (Starting Friday).  An old time favorite.  An aromatic, juicy, sweet, and tangy tart.  The tender white flesh and distinctive flavor makes it great for applesauce.

Mollie’s Delicious.  A crisp, sweet, and juicy apple with white flesh, originated from Golden Delicious.  Great for fresh eating.

Below are just picked Gala that will be available on the market starting Friday.

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.  Hard ciders currently in stock are: Cherry, Dry, Sweet, Semi-Sweet, Blueberry, and Maple.

Football season is here!  Now is a good time to have your favorite hard ciders on hand and chilled!

What is on the Market this Week

  • Fruit: blueberries, peaches, and cantaloupe
  • Apples: Blondee, Earliblaze, Early Honeycrisp, Gala, Ginger Gold, Kindercrisp (few), and Mollie’s Delicious.
  • Fredonia grapes (blue, seeded)
  • Fall Squash: winter and specialty types, see below
  • Tomatoes: red and green
  • Onions
  • Peppers: various types, hot and mild
  • U-pick herbs
  • From Bankson Lake Farms: lettuce mixes, spinach, kale, arugula, mushrooms, carrots, radishes, celery and garlic bulbs

We just started picking our winter squash.  We grow specialty squash that have become many of your favorites like Baked Potato, Mashed Potato, Carnival, Sweet Dumpling, and of course Delicata.  We also have traditional Fall ones such as Butternut, Buttercup, Spaghetti and Acorn.

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, Apple Cider, and Pumpkin
  • Yeast Ring donuts – assorted sprinkles and googly eyes

Anytime we are open:

  • Pumpkin Rolls
  • 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 including pumpkin.
  • Breads – assorted types plus hamburger and hotdog buns
  • Fruit pies (frozen, ready to bake) – Apple, Dutch Apple, Blueberry, Cherry, Peach, Pumpkin, and Strawberry Rhubarb.

Please contact us if you want to preorder any of our baked goods.

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

Please note that after Labor Day we carry less local grocery items.  We will no longer be stocking Jake’s Country Meats or Mattawan Creamery’s yogurt and goat cheese.

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

Come get the new “Spookley the Square Pumpkin: The “First Day of School” book.  And when you purchase it, get a free quarter-peck bag of apples of your choice.  A perfect gift for those just starting school along with a healthy school lunch or after-school snack!

Happenings on the Farm
Photos from our Sunflower Field Experience, Yoga in the Sunflowers, and Sunflower Paint and Sip
Thank you for your continued support and for buying local.  Everyone at Corey Lake Orchards wishes you a safe and happy Labor Day weekend!