BRANDON, S.D. (KELO) — As people begin to turn their attention to pumpkins and gourds, apple picking season is still going strong for one local producer.
Hoversten Orchard is tucked away a few miles northwest of Brandon. The 25-acre property includes about 5,000 apple trees, half of which are Honey Crisp, though the orchard does offer 20 varieties of apples.
“We start with the earliest variety the 19th of August, and the last variety ripens about the 10th or 15th of October, and they kind of come in successive weeks all through the year,” Hoversten Orchard owner David Hoversten said.
David Hoversten started the orchard in 1992, and says this year’s crop is fantastic.
“We had drought in July and I was crying in my beer, but in August we had eight inches of rain, just right, and they sized up beautifully. They’re all nice, big apples,” Hoversten said.
“We’ve got a lot of apples on the trees, we’ve got a lot of apples to sell out of the store, and we’re sitting good with it right now,” Hoversten Orchard owner Doug Winter said.
Doug Winter is Hoversten’s son-in-law, and says there’s an appeal to picking apples.
“I think it’s just a good family getaway. They like to come out in the afternoons and pick 10, 20 pounds of apples, take pictures, eat off the trees, try different apples, just out and about, you’re close to the city but you’re out in the country,” Winter said.
A year ago, the weather didn’t cooperate and Hoversten was out of apples by early October. This year, despite today’s conditions, that’s not the case.
“We plan to go certainly through all of October, and if the weather holds we’ll go into early November, maybe two weeks. It’s weather dependent. If we get a big snow and it turns cold, the orchard’s done,” Hoversten said.
As for Hoversten, he’s showing no signs of slowing down.
“I love it, I love it, I love growing things, I love nature, I love the trees, and 35 years on I’m getting pretty smart about how to grow apples,” Hoversten said.
Hoversten Orchard is open Wednesday through Sunday from noon until 6:00 p.m., though apple picking closes at 5:30.