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.