BUFFALO, Minn. - A warm winter followed by a sudden April freeze left Minnesota apple orchards struggling to produce a full crop this fall, but an orchard in Buffalo is experiencing something entirely different.
"The crop has turned out amazing," said Yuri Preugschas, owner of Deer Lake Orchard in Buffalo. "It's gone far beyond our expectation."
Preugschas and his wife took over the orchard two years ago, but they had no idea how perfectly situated the plot of land was. This year, 90 percent of the orchard's 5,000 apple trees produced a healthy crop. The owners credit an 85-year old man named Otto Buttenhoff
"We're so blessed," said Preugschas. "I'm convinced we wouldn't have this crop if it wasn't for him."
Buttenhoff bought the 40-acre plot of land in 1965 and had a dream of owning his own orchard. He said the land was the perfect place for apple trees to thrive, even in harsh spring conditions.
"We did have lots of production," says Otto who know calls the Sunrise Assisted Living Center in Buffalo home. "It really is the perfect location."
The trees sit on an east-facin slope in high elevation. The owners say the sun hits the trees at the perfect angle.
"We're calling this the 'Otto crop,'" said Preugschas. "In fact, we were able to help supply some of the other orchards in our area."
Buttenhoff, has since lost his sight, but it was his foresight 47 years ago that's now blessing an orchard-owning family with a bumper crop.
"We're really thankful to him for choosing this piece of property."
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