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August 24, 2012 07:07 AM

Apple Orchard Ready Early

harrisburg, sd

An early spring and then hard freeze wasn't the hand Country Apple Orchard in Harrisburg was looking to be dealt this year.  But visitors will soon be able to pick their own apples.

"We're ready to open," Country Apple Orchard co-owner Charles Robertson said.

And that's about three weeks ahead of schedule. Robertson says an early spring is to blame. 

"From the day they get blossoms until the bloom hits and once they're pollinated, those apples are on a time chain just like corn, 100 day corn or 90 day corn or whatever, these apples work the same way," Roberson said.

A freeze shortly after the apples bloomed killed about 60 percent of the crop.  But what you see hanging on the trees is not your average apple.

"Overall, we have a lot of apples and we have really good apples The apples are a little smaller this year than they have been before but they will taste better then any apple you have ever eaten," Roberson said.

This summer's drought actually made the apples hold more sugar, giving them a little something extra with every bite. The orchard opens this Saturday and Robertson says if you're looking to pick your own, sooner is better than later.

"We either let you pick them or were going to have to harvest them ourselves. So, if you have a question of whether you want to come or not, come now because they're ready; all our apples are ready," Robertson said.

The orchard opens at 10 a.m. Saturday.

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