Thursday, October 19, 2023
Our season is winding down.  We just have two full weeks left before our regular business hours end for the year.  However, we will open the market for the first three Saturdays in November from 9 am to 3 pm for apple and produce sales, local grocery items to stock up on like honey, maple syrup products, and take and bake pies to get into your freezer for the upcoming holidays or your winter stash!

This is our last weekend for normal u-pick apples.  You can still pick grapes when we are open up until the first hard frost.  Gleaning in selected apple orchards has begun.  Pumpkins are available until they are sold out.  See below for details.

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

Sunday, Oct. 29             Last official day for the 2023 season
Saturday, Nov. 4            Open 9 am to 3 pm
Saturday, Nov. 11          Open 9 am to 3 pm
Saturday, Nov. 18          Open 9 am to 3 pm

You can also shop by appointment – call: 269-244-5690

Celebrate National Apple Day!
Saturday, October 21 is National Apple Day, a day to celebrate all things apple!  Pick out your favorite variety (we have 20 varieties to choose from on the market right now) and celebrate with apple lovers across the world.  Apples are the “core” of our farm and business operation. 
To celebrate, this special day, we are offering a nice Honeycrisp deal –  buy two bags of Honeycrisp, any size, get the third same size bag free — this weekend only. 
Here are “10 Ways to Celebrate Apple Days” from the Des Moines website
And in one of those beautiful fall afternoons this week, this group enjoyed just sitting in our onion barn, space, and playing the Apples to Apples board game!  Feel free to use this space when you’re here!
U-Pick Pumpkins
It’s time to get the perfect Jack O Lantern!
Our u-pick pumpkin patch is open!  You and your family can go into the field and pick your own.  Be prepared this weekend for some mud after our rainy days.
You can also pick one from our pumpkin display by the parking lot or the many specialty pumpkins we have along the market driveway.  We just picked a lot more and have a great selection.
U-Pick Apples 
Our u-pick apple orchard is open for selected apple varieties.  Currently you can pick:

  • Empire
  • Ida Red
  • Jonathan
  • Red Jonagold
  • Winecrisp

(See apple descriptions at end of this newsletter).  The orchard is open each day that the market is open, so consider picking during the week when there are less people.

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 and kindly exit the orchard at least 30 minutes before the market closes.  Must pick a one peck minimum.  See details on our u-pick apple webpage.

The Miami of Ohio cheerleading squad stopped by our farm on Sunday after playing Western Michigan on Saturday. This great group of kids showed us that no ladders are needed when you pick an apple from the top of the tree!

Orchard Gleaning
We will open selected orchards for gleaning starting Thursday.  Gleaning is our end of season “orchard cleanup” where you can pick what was left behind (skipped over) on the trees by our crew or on the ground for $10 a bushel.  This is an economical way to get lots of apples that you may want for animals, processing or just to stock up for the winter.  Here is how it works.

  • Check in and out at the market, do not go directly to the orchard.
  • Sold in whole bushels only.  For example, if you pick 3.5 bushels, you will be charged for 4 bushels.  If you pick a half bushel, you will be charged for a bushel.
  • Orchard hours are 9 am to 5:30 pm, must arrive by 5 pm
  • Please bring containers to take the apples home (tubs, baskets, reusable grocery bags, etc.) , you can borrow a basket for measuring.
  • You are welcome to bring a kitchen stool or small ladder; regular ladders are not allowed.
  • No climbing trees please.

Our largest orchard will be open and you may pick whatever you can find.  There are lots of Golden and Red Delicious left and some trees have not even been picked!

Picked Apples on the Market
Below are the apple varieties available on the market.  For the most current list, see the homepage of our website.

  • Braeburn (few)
  • Cameo
  • Cortland
  • Fuji
  • Gala
  • Golden Delicious
  • Honeycrisp
  • Ida Red (few)
  • Jonagold (few)
  • JonaMac
  • Jonathan
  • McIntosh
  • Mutsu (few)
  • Northern Spy
  • Nu-Red
  • Pink Lady
  • Red Delicious
  • Red Rome

We have samples of our apples if you would like to try a variety before purchasing.

Apple Seconds are now available for use in processing (making your own juice or sauce) or to feed animals.  We currently have various kinds available for $5 a half bushel; they are already bagged.

The lovely Pink Ladies joined our apple lineup on the market yesterday!

Fresh Apple Cider
Our cider is $9 a gallon, the same price as last year.  There are several changes this year.

  • Our cider is being custom pressed and bottled in Coloma.  It is still made with our apples and our blend of apples.
  • The cider is UV treated, but not pasteurized.
  • After opening, it is best to drink it within a week.  And if you can’t drink it, freeze it.  Cider freezes very well – just try one of our apple cider slushies!
  • Keep the cider refrigerated.

For those of you who have purchased sweet cider here over the last few weeks it has come to our attention that there was a random cap problem with some of the jugs.

If you’ve experienced any problem at all with your cider, or did not feel like it was up to the quality of cider you have come to know us for, please tell us the next time you are here.  We are happy to replace what you purchased with cider from our next batch which will be here on Friday afternoon.

This will be the last cider we are pressing for the year and should be our very best since it was made with a nice variety of late fall apples.

For those of you who freeze cider to enjoy during the year, this is the one you want to freeze!

Grapes for Juicing and Jelly
There are still plenty of Niagara (white) and Concord (blue) seeded grapes for juice and jelly available.  We are at the end of the season, but the weather has held them.  We hope to pick until the end of October or the first hard frost.

Please go online or call us to make a reservation for a day and time. The link to the online reservation system is posted on the home page of our website in the Updates section.

U-Pick Pricing
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.

Take advantage of our grape-apple special!  Pick 100 or more pounds of grapes and get $6 off the price of a bushel(s) of apples.

More information such as pricing, what to bring, and days/hours open can be found on our grape u-pick webpage.

Already Picked Grapes
We have Concord and Niagara grapes already picked on the market ranging from small baskets to bushels.  You can also call us at (269) 244-5690 to preorder bushels and half bushels.
What is on the Market this Week

  • Fall Squash: Butternut, Buttercup, Spaghetti and Acorn
  • Specialty Squash: Baked Potato, Mashed Potato, Carnival, Sweet Dumpling, and Delicata
  • Grapes: Concord and Niagara
  • Tomatoes: red and green
  • Onions and shallots
  • Peppers: various types, hot and mild
  • Vegetables: cauliflower, eggplant, and broccoli
  • U-pick herbs
  • From Bankson Lake Farms: lettuce mixes, spinach, kale, arugula, mushrooms, and garlic bulbs

Our onions have cured, and we have them in medium and large bags to stock your pantries!  You can also buy them individually.  They will keep through the winter.  We also have shallots.

Winter Squash Special
Our winter squash – all varieties – are on special.  Individual squash are 50 cents off their marked price or fill up one of our handle bags with squash of your choice for $20 (about 1/2 bushel and around 10 squash depending on the size).

Fall Ornamentals 
We have a variety of fall ornamentals in various shapes and colors: specialty squash, gourds, corn stalks, mini hay bales, colored corn bunches, and decorative pumpkins.  It’s time to think décor for Thanksgiving!

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.

There is nothing as good this time of year as a Sweet Apple hard cider.  It is a sweet, ripe apple flavor, carbonated to fizzy sweet excellence.

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

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

Anytime we are open:

  • 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.
  • Focaccia bread – made with our fruits and vegetables
  • Breads – assorted types
  • 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.  Note we are winding down on groceries so if something is your favorite, better grab it as we are not ordering any more.

We have lots of fall gifts including new pieces by our local artists.  It’s not too soon to think about holiday gift giving!

Happenings on the Farm
We thank the Three Rivers CrossFit/Pit Group and So Flexi Yoga for helping us to harvest pumpkins (still muddy from the rain), while getting in their work out!  Their generous donation of time and muscles allows us to donate pumpkins to those who otherwise might not have a pumpkin for Halloween.  If you are a non-profit organization or school, looking to get pumpkins, please email us at and we will meet as many needs as possible in our community.
We hosted the Meeks Mill Garden Club this week.  The group enjoyed going out into our commercial gardens to see and understand how we grow vegetables and tomatoes on our farm.  A stop at the white Niagara grape vineyard was a “must do” to taste the very sweet grapes and smell their lovely aroma.
Students from the St. Joseph County Career & Technical Education Culinary Arts (Constantine class) enjoyed a tour of our market, orchard, and bakery.  After watching our staff make pies and stromboli’s, they got to sample some before they left.  The group picked apples to take back to the classroom to use as they continue their learning.
Fall Apples – What’s Currently Available
Please note that many of these apples are only available on the market or as u-pick.  Check respective sections above for a list of what is available in u-pick or the market.

     Braeburn.  Sweet with a hint of tart, and a firmness that stores well.  These traits plus the fact that they bake well have made them a very versatile apple.
Cameo.  A firm, crisp, and sweet apple that resists browning.  Great for fresh eating, applesauce, or baking.  Keeps well in your refrigerator.
Cortland.  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.
     Fuji.  An incredibly sweet flavor, low acid content, and crisp.  Excellent all-purpose use for snacking, baking, and cooking.
     Empire.  Red with a few white tints, creamy white interior.  They are juicy and sweet.  A cross between Red Delicious and McIntosh.
     Gala.  A crisp, snappy bite over mellow sweetness.  It is Michigan’s 3rd most popular apple!  Very versatile, great for eating or cooking.
     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.
     Ida Red..  Suits your every use!  Eat fresh or for cooking.  Taste is both tangy and tart.  Flesh is white, crisp and juicy.  Favored for sauces, pies and desserts.  Texture holds up well when baked.
     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 applesauce.
     Jonathan.  Pretty and popular, used for fresh eating and cooking, a favorite for apple butter and taffy apples.
     McIntosh. An old time favorite.  An aromatic, juicy, sweet, and tangy tart.  The tender white flesh and distinctive flavor makes it great for applesauce.
     Mutsu.  Also called Crispin, it is a cross between Golden Delicious and the Japanese Indo apple.  It has a sweet-honeyed flavor mixed with sharp, tangy, and acidic notes.  They can be stored until spring.
     Northern Spy.  The professional baker’s dream, cooks up well in applesauce, pie and other dishes.  Stores well, easy to remember by saying “Spies for pies”.
     Nu-Red.  A crisp, tart, hard, crunchy apple.  An improved version of a Red Rome.  Good for fresh eating, applesauce, pies, and baking.
Pink Lady. Medium size apple with a firm, crisp flesh, and a tart taste with a sweet finish.  Stores well.
Red Delicious.  America’s most popular apple, known for the “five little bumps” on the bottom. Best for fresh eating and snacks.  Full-flavored sweet taste, yellowish flesh, and crisp texture.
Red Jonagold.  Very hard and tart, large and aromatic. Cross between a Jonathan and Golden Delicious.
     Red Rome.  A big, round, red apple right out of storybooks!  They have a mild, sweet flavor. Most popular for baking because it holds flavor and shape well.
Yellow Delicious.  A gingery-smooth, sweet taste under a thin skin. It is the most popular yellow apple, good eaten fresh, baked or cut in salads.  Makes a nice apple sauce and many people use for canning pie filling.
Winecrisp.  A dessert apple.  Large, deep-red, juicy, sweet, firm flesh.  Keeps for months.

Thank you for your continued support and for buying local.  Everyone at Corey Lake Orchards wishes you a happy Fall!