It may not feel like it outside, but it's already apple picking season! Hoversten's Orchard outside of Brandon is open for business.
Despite our cooler than usual summer, apples out at Hoversten's Orchard are flourishing.
"The crop, this is actually the biggest one we've ever had. Last year was the biggest one we ever had, and this year is bigger," Hoversten Manager, Pat Coughlin said.
There are over 5,000 trees with 22 varieties of apples out here at the orchard. And because there are so many apples, it's a prosperous year, the branches are actually bending at the base.
"It's just tremendous. In fact, you can look and you can see the branches hanging over there, it's too heavy and there's a lot of them breaking off. We even thinned the apples twice," Coughlin said.
Pat Coughlin has been the manager at Hoversten's for more than 25 years. He doesn't consider himself an apple expert, but he knows what people like about coming out to see them.
"This is a pick your own. And it's a real good deal because it gives them a percentage off for picking them. And a lot of the kids love to come out here and pick apples," Coughlin said.
And if chomping into an apple isn't your thing, they have other stuff like honey and plenty of cider ready to go.
"5 to 6,000 gallons a year of apple cider. And it's really good stuff. It's a combination always of all the different apples that are in season. So every batch we do, the flavor changes," Coughlin said.
And it's that kind of personal touch that keeps people coming back to this Brandon orchard for more.
Coughlin says a good way to tell if an apple is ready is to cut it in half, and if the seeds are brown it's a good apple.