Dodge Center “Apple Man’s” final harvest this fall

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(ABC 6 News) – After decades of selling apples, this will be the final harvest season for one Dodge Center man.

Nestled at the edge of Dodge Center, is a little apple orchard. One that has been here for nearly 25 years.

“It is an interesting hobby to have, it’s one that’s been fun for me all these years,” said its owner, Dave Hanson.

Selling apples is what brings Hanson joy.

The community, however, might enjoy his apples a little bit more.

“It’s a sign of fall when the signs go up that says ‘apples for sale,’ so we know fall is here and we come out and buy the apples that Dave has,” said Carol Johnson.

Johnson has been friends with Hanson for decades.

At 89-years-old, a typical day for Hanson consists of riding around on his golf cart inspecting his apple trees and making sure everything is ready for harvest season.

Hanson is known around town as the apple man.

“The other day I was walking up and someone said ‘hey, there’s the apple man’ so yeah I like that,” said Hanson. “It’s been a lot of gratitude year to year. It’s given me some problems sometimes, but just like other farmers you say ‘oh it’ll be better next year.”

But things are about to change.

Soon, Hanson will be moving to an assisted living facility, selling the orchard he has loved all these years.

“It’s time for me to move on,” said Hanson. “It’s something for young people to latch onto. It has been good and sometimes disappointing when you had hail or a disease.”

Throughout the tour of the orchard, Hanson recalled numerous times when weather severely impacted his crops. One year, an early frost destroyed an entire variety of apple trees on his property.

Through the ups and downs though, Hanson knew selling apples was what he wanted to continue doing.

“It’s sad. I’m happy for Dave but I’m sad for our community and the children, the kindergartners that used to come out and learn about apples and taste some apples. See what it’s like to be an apple farmer,” said Johnson.

Dave the ‘apple man’, however, is not done just yet.

“I’ll be in assisted living in Kasson, so I’ll be able to get out here and see what’s going on,” said Hanson.

Although the seasons may change, Hanson’s love for apples will not.

Hanson will be moving to the facility come mid-Sept.

The new property owners of Hanson’s Apple Barn say they are still wanting to be in the apple farming business.

Hanson says he will be checking in a lot.