Wednesday, August 31, 2022

2022 Fruit Harvest Will Be Limited

In any type of agricultural endeavor, there are good years and there are bad years. Usually, it’s driven by the weather. This happens to be a bad year for fruit production at Brovold Community Orchard. Most of our apple trees never bloomed at all this Spring. The pear trees, plum trees, and the few apple trees that did bloom failed to set much fruit. Now, with the hot weather and natural windfall, the crop is looking even worse. The very hot dry summer last year may have stressed the trees and reduced this year’s bloom, and then the cold wet Spring this year appears to have affected fruit set. We were hit by a double whammy.

In light of this, we have decided our priority must be on the school kids who visit the orchard each Fall to learn about picking apples and making apple cider. We have two schools scheduled this year, Alberton on September 30, and DeSmet School from Missoula on October 7. If there are apples left after the kids visit, we will open the orchard to public harvest then. But honestly, we expect the opportunities to be very limited. This makes us sad because our mission is to share our fruit with the community. Last year we gave away over 3,800 pounds of apples, pears, and plums. But you can’t give away what you don’t have.

As an alternative, depending on interest, we may offer a day, probably in October, when people could bring apples from their own trees, and we would help them turn the apples into cider. Sort of a community cider pressing day. If this is something you would be interested in, please let us know.

There’s a saying in baseball that “there’s always next year”. The same holds for orchards. We have a lot of exciting developments going on at Brovold Community Orchard, and we’re looking ahead to next year when the fruit harvest will hopefully be a lot better.




Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Keepin' It Going


It takes a lot to keep a community orchard going. Equipment for mowing, weed eating, and repair parts to keep the equipment operating is always a big need. Fuel to operate the equipment is another big one, especially with toady’s fuel prices. Other needs include tools, products for pest and noxious weed control, fertilizer and other soil supplements, irrigation system repair parts, and supplies for hosting events like cleaning supplies, garbage bags, and a host of other disposables. We could use more tables and folding chairs, and of course there’s always electricity and water bills that come every month.

We’ve been successful in getting grants for some of our bigger infrastructure projects, like a new parking lot and replacing our drip irrigation system. But the day-to-day operation of the orchard is largely dependent on donations from you, the public who uses the orchard. Some people donate cash to the orchard, and that is very much appreciated. It ALWAYS goes to a good use. But we’re thinking some people may prefer to donate physical items instead of cash. So, we’ve decided to put together a “Wish List” of items that would benefit the orchard. These could be new items, but even used items may be helpful if they are in good condition. Yard salers, keep an eye out for these things. They can often be had for pennies on the dollar as you know.


Our Wish List (Links are just for examples. Other sources are acceptable.)

Riding or zero turn lawn mower Link 

Gas powered string trimmers (weed eaters) Link 

Tank/sprayer to tow behind UTV Link 

Large irrigation sprinkler Link 

Folding tables Link 

Folding chairs Link 

Metal T-Posts Link 

Field fencing Link 

Garden hoses, good quality Link  

High nitrogen fertilizer Link 

Grass seed, lawn & pasture Link 

Garbage bags, paper cups, paper plates, plastic spoons, etc

Home Depot or Lowes gift cards

Of course if you would prefer to give money in support of the community orchard, cash donations are easy to make and always welcome. Thank you for supporting the orchard and your community.



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