Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Recognizing Our Sponsors

 Recognizing Our Sponsors

As a charitable nonprofit orchard that gives away everything we produce, we couldn’t continue to operate without donations and grants. With gratitude, we acknowledge the generous support of those who contribute to our work. Chief among our supporters are the many private individuals who donate their hard-earned cash. Equally important are those who volunteer their labor to keep us up and running. And finally, we would like to thank the businesses, foundations, and agencies who have given us grants or in-kind support. All of you make it possible for Brovold Community Orchard to continue serving real people in the very real communities we love.










2024 (so far)



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.


Friday, November 10, 2023

Autumn Update Part I – Where Did the Summer Go?

Hello friends. On this gray November day I find myself thinking about where this year has gone. It seems like only yesterday that the orchard trees were in full bloom and Spring’s promise of a great year lay just around the corner. This has been an interesting year. Every year in the orchard is a little different, but they all are interesting in their own way.

Bear and apples
If last year was the year of the bear, this year has been the year of the bear fence. You may remember that the orchard suffered significant damage last year from bears breaking limbs out of the trees to get to the fruit. Bears have been visiting the orchard for decades, but last year was the worst in memory for bear damage due to the failure of the berry crop and other natural foods out in the forest. We certainly don’t begrudge the bears a good meal, but destruction of our fruit trees is something we can’t abide. So, our Board of Directors voted to erect an electric bear fence, and the great fence building adventure of 2023 began. The start of the project was delayed until early June due to our inability to obtain 8-foot wooden treated fence posts. Who knew supply chain issues could affect even made-in-Montana fence posts? Once all supplies were acquired though, the work began. We contracted with Vance Russell of Flying Arrow Enterprises to pound the wooden and steel posts in. Then we strung the wire during one of our monthly volunteer work days. There are a lot of parts and pieces to a 5-strand high-tension electric fence, and putting them all together took a lot of hours. In the end, though, we had a good looking and strong functioning fence by the second week of August. It’s a fence we can all be proud of.

Volunteers work on fence
Building our fence took a lot of help, and it’s only fitting we acknowledge and thank those who provided that help. First and foremost, many private individuals donated money to help us build the fence. This is especially gratifying because it lets us know that people truly value the work we’re doing at the orchard. Gallagher USA donated a TON of electric fencing parts and supplies. Money-wise, this was the largest donation we received, and we couldn’t have built the fence without it. Gallagher products are the best quality money can buy, and if you’re looking to build an electric fence, I highly recommend them. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks donated three high quality gates. Tractor Supply gave us a price break on steel fence posts and wire. Missoula for Bears made a large cash donation, as did Blackfoot Communications and First Security Bank. Volunteers from People and Carnivores and USDA Wildlife Services came all the way from Kalispell to assist. Last but not least, our volunteer Board of Directors and local volunteers from the community worked many long hours putting the fence all together. This fence project has been a community project in the truest sense of the word, and that seems entirely fitting for a community orchard. Thanks everyone for your help!

Gate and electric fence warning sign

Now that the fruit harvesting season is over and bears are or soon will be in their dens, I can say with complete confidence that our bear fence was 100 percent effective in keeping bears out of the orchard this year. We know they were in the neighborhood, but the orchard was definitely off limits. Part of our objective in building the fence was to set an example for the Alberton community, which has experienced bears rummaging through garbage and other types of bear-human conflicts for many decades. With completion of our fence at Brovold Community Orchard, Alberton is one step closer to becoming a Bear Smart Community. We encourage everyone in Alberton to join us in securing your bear attractants.

I want to tell you about how the fruit harvest went this year, but this article has already become too long. Look for Part 2 of the Autumn Update to come soon.

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