Attenders at the annual homecoming breakfast sponsored by the Department of Business and Economics and the local MEDA chapter heard the inspiring story of Broetje Orchards from Roger Bairstow, son-in-law of founders Ralph and Cheryl Broetje.
Broetje Orchards was founded in 1968 when Ralph and Cheryl bought their first cherry orchard, but they had disastrous results for three years in a row. Although they were in debt, Ralph and Cheryl pursued their dream with the help of friends and relatives who pitched in to help, and banks that continued to extend credit, because was reminded by a former Sunday school teacher that he had had a dream that he would own an apple orchard and use the proceeds to feed hungry children in India.
Today, Broetje Orchards, operating under the name of FirstFruits of Washington, employs over 3,000 people, mostly migrant workers, and has established daycare centers, schools, housing, camps, and scholarships to provide for the needs of their workers. Through the Vista Hermosa Foundation they have supported families in Mexico, India, Honduras, Colombia, Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Chad, Haiti, Jamaica, Romania, and the United States.
The group was inspired by Roger’s presentation about how God has blessed the business because the leadership is committed to quality in product and committed to bearing fruit that will last. For more information on Broetje Orchards, see their website at www.broetjeorchards.com.