Saturday, November 11, 2023

Autumn Update Part 2 – Lots of Fruit, Lots of Kids

Brovold Community Orchard’s number one objective is providing healthy and nutritious organic fruit to the community, and we did that in spades this year. An equally important objective is doing good things for our community’s kids, and we did that too. In fact, we set records for both objectives in 2023, and that’s something we can all celebrate.

Asian pears ready for harvest

The fruit harvest began in late August when our Asian pears ripened. The European pear varieties began to ripen in late September, and the apples soon followed. The weather remained amazing well into early fall, extending our harvest into the third week of October before freezing temperatures and snow finally shut things down for the year. Throughout this period, the public was invited to come to the orchard and pick to their heart’s content, and pick they did. A steady stream of people, from parents with babies just a few days old to citizens well into their senior years filled buckets, bags, and boxes with apples and pears and left with big smiles on their faces. We had attendants present this year to help people navigate our new electric fence and show them which trees were ready to pick. The expressions of appreciation and gratitude we received from orchard visitors made our time spent helping them especially rewarding. Though we never charge for fruit, many people left us donations, and that is a great blessing. Your donations allow us to stay open and maintain the orchard. Thank you so much! When all was said and done, over 6,700 pounds of fruit were harvested from the orchard this year, and the lives of nearly 500 people, from Clinton to St. Regis and all points in between, were touched by the nature’s bounty that Brovold Community Orchard provides. We are proud to be a part of these communities and happy that our efforts at the orchard can help so many people.

School busses arrive
The orchard has been hosting school children for decades, but the number of children coming to visit has increased rapidly in recent years. The first to visit this year was the Alberton summer class that came in July to tour the orchard and learn a little about how an orchard works. There were about 30 students and adults in this group. Two busloads of about 100 kids and adults from DeSmet School in Missoula visited in late September to pick apples and learn how to press them into sweet apple cider. This was their second year of visiting the orchard. Next came a group of 20 preschoolers and adults from Alberton Early Learning Center in early October. It was a joy to see the little ones picking fruit off the trees
Kids picking apples
and eating it on the spot. Finally, 60 kids and adults from Alberton School came a few days later to pick apples and make apple cider, a tradition they established with the orchard’s founder, Norman Brovold, many years ago. We had inquiries from other schools as far as 100 miles away, so we expect our program of working with children will continue to rapidly increase in the years ahead. We believe getting kids outside to interact with nature and learn where their food comes from is important to their wellbeing and something that will benefit them the rest of their lives. Young adults have told us that the times they visited the orchard while in elementary school were some of the best days of their lives. Knowing that we have those kinds of impacts on people’s lives is a big reason why we do what we do at Brovold Community Orchard.
A happy child

If you haven’t visited the orchard, we hope you will in 2024. We’re right on the east end of Alberton,
about a stone’s throw away from the skate park. We’ll be having volunteer work days one Saturday per month again starting in April next year. That’s a good way to see the orchard and get to know us. Watch for the dates on our Facebook page or ask us to add you to our email list at If the orchard blessed you in one way or another and you’d like to support our work by making a donation, you may do so by clicking on the Donate button in the upper right corner of this page. Thank you for being part of our community, and thank you for supporting Brovold Community Orchard.


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