Wednesday, January 31, 2024
Happy last day of January, and does anyone know how the month went by so quickly?  January has found us busy with our winter farm projects plus education and board service (see towards end of email).

We will be open this Saturday from 10 am until 1 pm for you to stock up on things that we still have available.  The weather should be nice so stop by as we would love to see you also!

You’ll find us in the warmth of the bakery, but the apples will be on the market shelves since it will be warm enough that they won’t freeze (don’t even get us started on how we go from a week of below zero to what seems like balmy spring weather.)

Please drive right up to the market and park adjacent to it in the driveway.  (The lower parking lot is very muddy!)

Saturday, February 3 from 10 am to 1 pm

Can’t make it this Saturday?  No worries.  You can still shop or pick up items on a different day.  Just call us at (269) 244-5690 to arrange a date and time.
What’s for Sale on the Market
The apples listed here have held well.

Buy one bag of apples and get one (same size) bag for free!  Get all the same or mix and match between varieties including Cameo, Fuji, Gold Rush, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Pink Lady, and Red Rome.

Apple Seconds (exempt from the sale) are available for use in processing (making your own juice or sauce) or to feed animals.  Available in half bushel bags for $5 or 15-bushel bins.

Sweet Onions
Buy two, get one free bag of onions!
Our cured, sweet onions will keep through the winter.  They are available individually or in 10-pound  bags.  Choose yellow or red onions.

Alcohol Products
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: Blueberry, Cherry, Peach Pear, Maple, Dry, Semi-Sweet, and Sweet
Wines: Bramblin’ Raspberry Rose’, Corey Lake Crisp, Double Cherry, Full House White, Hubbard Red, Market Red, Peach and Honey, and Unwinding Rose
Brandy: Apple Oaked, Apple Unoaked, Cherry, Concord, Peach, Pear
Spirits: White Whiskey and our brand new Lazy River Vodka!  Sean has expertly crafted it from American corn in small batches, distilled it five times and filtered it for ultimate smoothness.  The result is a classic, clean and gluten free vodka that satisfies every taste.  The perfect way to make any of your favorite cocktails flow.

Baked Goods
We have several frozen baked goods.

  • Strombolis (frozen, thaw first, then bake) – assorted flavors in breakfast, traditional, and pizza styles.
  • Fruit pies (frozen, ready to bake) – Apple, Dutch Apple, Blueberry, Cherry, Peach, Pumpkin, and Strawberry Rhubarb.

Locally harvested honey, and Amish-made jams, jellies, and salsas.  We also have assorted cheeses, crackers, chips, mustard, granola, salad dressings, and more.

Happenings on the Farm
Below are several wintry scenes from close to the market.
Pruning.  Pruning of the apples and grapes is going well and we are right on time for completing.  December’s mildness had us worried as our trees and grapevines had not gone into dormancy, but after January’s days of below zero temperatures, we knew it was safe to carry on.  Our white Niagara grapes are very fussy about temperature, and we couldn’t start pruning them until we got some consistently cold days.  And did we get a week of those, too cold to even work in the vineyard!

Ice Apples.  The ice and subsequent thaw created “ice apples” like these below.  They start with super cold temperatures and ice to freeze the apples, followed by a thaw where the apple actually “falls out” leaving behind an ice shell for just a little while until it melts.  The unique weather conditions don’t happen every year, but when they do, they can create these stunning “ice apples”.

Paperwork.  Winter is our chance to catch up on that dreaded paperwork pile leftover from our busy fall season.  It has been tackled, and now a new paperwork cycle begins.  We spend an unbelievable amount of time filing information about our farm with the USDA, applying for and renewing the many licenses we must carry, and pulling information for our tax return.

Education.  These slower months are also a time for us to keep up with education – some required, and some we do because you can never stop learning as the world of agriculture and consumers evolve.  Beth attended the Vineyard and Orchard Show during our frigid January week and to her surprise, it was warmer in Traverse City than in Three Rivers (it was 14 degrees compared to – 3!).  She attended their apple and grape growing sessions learning about new technologies and how to prevent disease, pest, and weather issues we could face this year.  She also moderated a panel of agritourism farmers where they shared their farm stories and experiences with other farms, many of whom are commercial cherry growers in that region of Michigan.  Sadly, there are many farms there who are struggling to continue growing cherries because of imported fruit and mandated wages issues.  Here’s an article where you can learn more:

Board Service.  Beth has been busier than usual with her work on several agriculture boards.  We strongly believe that we need to give back and help others in this industry, which is why we serve on various boards.  This year she became president of the Michigan State Horticultural Society (MSHS).  This insightful article discusses the challenges and industry changes from the perspective of the farm’s second generation, and Beth’s key role in developing the business into what it is today.  All of us at Corey Lake Orchards congratulate Beth for being outstanding in her field and for a job well done!

Fall Apples – What’s Currently Available
     Cameo.  A firm, crisp, and sweet apple that resists browning.  Great for fresh eating, applesauce, or baking.  Keeps well in your refrigerator.
     Fuji.  An incredibly sweet flavor, low acid content, and crisp.  Excellent all-purpose use for snacking, baking, and cooking.
     Gold Rush.  Tart when initially harvested, but when kept in storage, the flavor balances, creating a sweet, acidic, and tangy taste.  A cross between Golden Delicious with Rome Beauty and Winesap.  Stores for months.
Golden 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.
Granny Smith.  A bright green apple with gray dots.  The apple is tart making it good for pies and fresh eating.  The traditional “sour green” apple.
Pink Lady. Medium size apple with a firm, crisp flesh, and a tart taste with a sweet finish.  Stores well.
     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.
Thank you for your continued support and for buying local.  Everyone at Corey Lake Orchards wishes you a restful Winter.