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August 25, 2017 09:59 PM

An Early Apple Harvest

It's another sign that fall is right around the corner.  You can now pick apples at an area orchard.

The owner of Hoversten Orchard says it's one of the earliest harvests in the past few decades.

Apples hit a sweet spot for David Hoversten. The Sioux Falls orthopedic physician has been running an orchard near Brandon for around 30 years.

"An apple a day keeps the doctor away. I believe that," Hoversten said.

This year, Hoversten is seeing one of his earliest harvests. The reason why? The weather.

"We had a lot of heat in July. It was kind of dry. I think the apple tree was under stress. When it's under stress, it will ripen a little earlier," Hoversten said.

While it was a stressful summer for the trees, the rain over the past few weeks was just sweet enough.

"An apple gets most of its size in the last three weeks before you pick it. The majority of the apples are going to be entirely normal size or a little bigger," Hoversten said.

While around 20 percent of the apples are ready now, the biggest seller, Honeycrisp, won't be ready until after Labor Day.

"Honeycrisp is usually the 10th or 12th of September. This year, we're going to open them up a week early. In fact, north of the lane where there are small trees with a lot of sun, they're ready," Hoversten said.

Right now you can only pick apples yourself, but if you're not into picking, crews will do it for you starting next week.

"We'll get the crew in here picking on Monday. We'll pick and sort and start making apple juice," co-owner Doug Winter said.

A yearly tradition that never seems to be too ripe.

 Country Apple Orchard near Harrisburg plans to open on September 2.

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  • Brandon, SD


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