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Frosty Apples

September 18, 2012, 8:20 AM by Austin Hoffman

Frosty Apples
BRANDON, SD -

With cooler temperatures, there are many people who probably covered their plants or took what they could indoors Monday night. But some farmers look forward to the frost.

Hoversten Orchard just north of Brandon had a frosty white coating on much of the grass Tuesday morning. It's something they look forward to every year.

"Doesn't bother me at all," orchard manager Pat Coughlin said.

Coughlin has been managing the Hoversten Orchard for around 25 years. The first fall frost has been a welcomed sight year after year.

"If it's around 26 or above, it will sweeten up the apples, winter apples. They usually start the first of October.  This year they're going to be starting, well we started some of them already this weekend, this past weekend and were going to start the rest of them next weekend," Coughlin said.

He says it caused them to sugar, but doesn't know exactly why they do it. But, if it gets too cold, sugaring is the least of his worries.

“Now we have had times in the past where it's got down to 22 degrees here and that wrecks the apples. But our apples will take it down to 26 degrees sustained.  It'll take us down to 25 degrees if it’s only for an hour or so," Coughlin said.

But that usually doesn't happen on the first frost of the year. And while Coughlin says whatever happens doesn't make too much of a difference to him, the customers are waiting.

"A lot them are waiting particularly with the Haralsons and the Connell Reds.  They're waiting for a frost to come out and pick them because they know that’s going to sweeten them up and they'll have better apples," Coughlin said.

Coughlin says they have about a quarter of the apples they normally do because of a spring freeze but the apples that are here are sweeter than they normally are.
    
Find the orchard's location and hours on the Hoversten Orchard website.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
A misspelling was corrected in this story.

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