Have you ever heard the story about a company and cried? Probably not.
Well I have and it’s the the story about the Broetje Family, owners of First Fruits, the grower of the amazing Opal Apple(more on the apples later).
Myself and a few other bloggers..(Katie from Katie’s Cucina,Kevin from Closet Cooking and the adorable couple Lindsay and Bjork from Pinch of Yum had the wonderful opportunity to visit the Broetje family in Prescott Washington on their 5,000 acre farm.
The story begins when Ralf Broetje was 15. He remembers hearing a missionary from India speak about the hunger and suffering of children and thought…wouldn’t it be nice to grow an apple orchard and help children someday?
Fast forward many years after marriage, he and his wife Cheryl borrowed enough money to purchase a small cherry orchard, that has now turned into a 5000 acre orchard producing apples, pears and sweet cherries.
One would think that their orchard is their life. Yes, in a way it is, but their orchard has allowed them to do the thing they love the most…give back.
Their mission…“bearing fruit that will last” (John 15:16)
I can not even begin to touch on all things this giving family does for others…but I will give you a little snippet.
Visiting their farm was truly eye opening. The word Servant Leadership came up many times, as this is how they believe in running their company. They recognize that each person has a gift to share with the community and that many times they simply need an opportunity to be able to explore, develop and share these gifts in unique ways that strengthen the common good. They treat their employees like family. No, really, they do. They have BUILT an entire community ( called Vista Hermosa and Tierra Vida) for their worker to live and grow. The family has built homes, apartments, stores, a church, a school, a school for troubled boys, daycare and many other amenities for any of their employees to utilize. The Broetjes want a sense of community within their company.
The philanthropy branches out much father than the farm. They have many international partners that they have personally seeded….PLEASE take a moment and look at their work in foreign countries and locally in the US HERE.
I could seriously go on and on AND on about all the good that the Broetje Family and First Fruits does, but your eyes would get tired of reading. So when you have the time click on all the links I provided in this post, prepare to be inspired by their charitableness.
Soooo, The apples…..Opal Apples more specifically. Have you had them? Oh.Heavens. They are divine.
Most people have never heard of them.
They have a beautiful bright yellow skin with a crispy, crunchy, sweet and tangy flavor. They are by far the best apple I have ever tasted. Another one of their amazing attributes is that the Opal apple naturally resists browning. No browning means they are perfect for lunchboxes and perfect for fruit platters. The Opal Apple season is December- April. They will soon have their “Find Opal” page up and running so you can find them locally.
(Red Delicious Apple pictured below)
We had all had such a fun time in the field, attempting to pick apples.
First we watch the pros….
Now it was the “Unprofessionals” Turn…
Notice Katie’s jacket pockets….she smuggled quite a few Opal apples..
The beautiful Opal
The First Fruit Facility was so very interesting.
Apples far as the eye can see.
Lots and lots of sorting.
I am honored to have met the Broetje family and to have learned all about their full hearts.
**Travel expenses were paid. I was not required to post about my trip**