The cooler nights this week gave us a glimpse of what’s to come and the first signs of Fall have started to emerge.  The days are cooler, and the air is crisper.  The sweet, heavy smell of many acres of ripening grapes is permeating the air.  We are picking our “winter” squash – both the traditional ones we enjoy each fall – and the flavorful, colorful, specialty squash.  These squash and other colorful, fun-shaped fall ornamentals put us in the mood to decorate our porches, door areas, and tabletops.  The apples are gaining more color and still ripening, and we are starting to see families arriving for their traditional apple u-pick experiences.  We enjoy sensing these autumnal whisperings as we turn the page into Fall!
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, WednesdayCheck our website homepage for updates or call us.  (269) 244-5690.

Looking Ahead ….

  • Fall apples – (already picked and u-pick), various varieties ripening through October
  • Apple cider – usually starting mid-September
  • Grapes – typically starting late September (already picked and u-pick)
  • Canning tomatoes – last call!
  • Blueberries, peaches, green beans, cucumbers, sweet corn – gone for the season
U-Pick Apples 

A limited area of the u-pick apple orchard will be open this Thursday through Sunday for selected apple varieties only – Cortland, Crimson Gala, Empire, Jonamac, Jonathan, McIntosh, Mollie’s Delicious, and Spartan.  (See descriptions below).  We are picking in one of our newer orchards with smaller trees and lots of space, making picking a true pleasure for the family.

You will be driving to the orchard, so please pull up by the market to get directions or send one person in for them (no need to get excited kids out of the car until they arrive in the orchard!!)

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

Below is one of our apple picking families from last weekend!

Apple Tee-Shirts for Fall 
The start of the apple picking season means apple picking shirts for the family!  We have an adorable one for the younger set as well as an adult shirt.
Canning Tomatoes – Last Call!
We are wrapping up the canning tomato season.  If you still need some, please give us a call at 269-244-5690 so we can set some aside for you.  Also, please bring containers like boxes, tubs, etc. to take them home in.  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.  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.  We will announce the start date and open the u-pick reservation system once we know they will be ready.  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.

Our Concord (blue) grapes are coming along nicely but are still turning their full color and gaining sugars to be sweet.  Our best guess on when they will be ready to pick is the last week of September, but please check back.

Our Niagara (white) grapes typically ripen earlier than the blue Concord grapes.  They have most of their color but still need to sweeten more.  We anticipate these may be ready to pick the third week of September, but please check back.

Watch these newsletters and our website for updates.  Pricing, reservation system, what to bring, and more information can be found on our grape u-pick webpage.

Fall Apples – What’s Currently Available
Note: Some of these varieties are only available as already picked or u-pick.  Please check list in U-Pick section above and Market below.
.  (Mkt) 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.
     Cortland.  (U-pick) A hint of tartness makes this a great earing, cooking, and baking variety.  A descendent of the McIntosh.  It’s a bit sweeter than its ancestor and juices really well.
     Crimson Gala.  (U-pick) An intense-coloring strain of Gala with a bright, cherry red color.  Has the characteristics of a Gala; great for eating and cooking.
     Earliblaze.  (Mkt)  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.)
     Empire.  (U-pick)  Red with a few white tints, creamy white interior.  They are juicy and sweet.  A cross between Red Delicious and McIntosh.
     Gala.  (Mkt)  A crisp, snappy bite over mellow sweetness.  It is Michigan’s 3rd most popular apple!  Very versatile, great for eating or cooking.
     Honeycrisp.  (Mkt)  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.
     JonaMac.  (Mkt, U-pick)  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 applesauce.
     Jonathan.  (U-pick)  Pretty and popular, used for fresh eating and cooking, a favorite for apple butter and taffy apples.
     McIntosh.  (Mkt, U-pick)  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.  (Mkt, U-pick)  A crisp, sweet, and juicy apple with white flesh, originated from Golden Delicious.  Great for fresh eating.
     Nu-Red.  (Mkt)  A crisp, tart, hard, crunchy apple.  An improved version of a Red Rome.  Good for fresh eating, applesauce, pies, and baking.
     Spartan.  (U-pick)  This apple is a cross between a Macintosh and an unknown variety.  It is a bit smaller in size, has a crisp white flesh that is aromatic, juicy, and crisp-tart.  They are good for fresh eating, baking, cooking, and juicing.
Alcohol Products
We offer 8 different wines, 9 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, Peach Pear, Semi-Sweet, Blueberry, and Maple.

It’s the season for our Peach Pear hard cider!  The delicious taste of home-grown apples blended with fresh ripe peaches and sweet pears.  A trio of nature’s divine flavors.

What is on the Market this Week

  • Apples: Blondee, Earliblaze, Gala, Honeycrisp, JonaMac, McIntosh, Mollie’s Delicious and Nu-Red.  (See descriptions above.)
  • Fredonia grapes (blue, seeded)
  • Fall Squash: Butternut, Buttercup, Spaghetti and Acorn
  • Speciality Squash: Baked Potato, Mashed Potato, Carnival, Sweet Dumpling, and Delicata
  • 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

Our Jonamac apples are beautiful this year!

Fall Ornamentals 
We love decorating with fall ornamentals and hope you do also!  We have a nice variety of items in various shapes and colors: specialty squash, gourds, corn stalks, mini hay bales, mums, and decorative pumpkins.  Now is the time to enjoy the colors of the season!
Floral Bouquets.  Faith from Flora will be here with floral bouquets.U-Pick.  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:

  • Apple Crisp (new)
  • Donuts – Buttermilk, Apple Cider, and Pumpkin
  • Yeast Ring donuts – assorted sprinkles and googly eyes

Anytime we are open:

  • Pumpkin Rolls (find in the refrigerator)
  • 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.

Locally harvested maple syrup and honey, and Amish-made jams, jellies, and salsas.  We also have assorted cheeses, 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, Mattawan Creamery’s yogurt and goat cheese, and Yoders fry pies.

Come get the new “Spookley the Square Pumpkin: The “First Day of School” book.  We also have the traditional Spookley book and plush, and the Katie Ladybug book.

We have lots of fall gifts including new pieces by our local artists.
Happenings on the Farm
This week we began decorating the market for Fall.
Apple season has begun in earnest!  We are consumed by picking and bagging apples until the harvest is done.
This past Wednesday, the Norton elementary school staff was invited to do an after-school field trip to go through the sunflower field.  The art teacher took the happiness and spirit of the sunflowers back to the classroom so the children could paint sunflowers.
Thank you for your continued support and for buying local.  Everyone at Corey Lake Orchards wishes you a safe and happy Labor Day weekend!