FirstFruits Farms has its roots in the birth and development of Broetje Orchards, a family-owned business that began as a daydream in the mind of Ralph Broetje. At the age of 15, he remembers hearing a missionary from India speak about the suffering of children and then thinking….wouldn’t it be great to have an orchard and help kids some day?! After marrying his wife, Cheryl in 1967, the two built an organization with an ecumenical approach to both their work and living out their faith.
Their business-as-ministry focus has developed over these many years seeking to honor the following scripture:
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other.” (John 15:16, 17 NIV)
This scripture was the source of the company’s official mission statement: “to be a quality fruit company, committed to bearing fruit that will last.”
Serving as the company’s inspiration, this mission statement reflects Ralph and Cheryl’s early experiences and also how we currently work within the business – developing relationships, building individual’s’ capacities and serving communities.
Our belief is that business does not have to thrive at the expense of the planet or its people, but can chart a course that provides employees, families, owners and communities an opportunity to grow and thrive.
In 1986, Cheryl Broetje founded the Center For Sharing which is a faith-based experiential learning community around the teaching and practice of servant leadership that is focused on the need to move from charity to development in order to prepare people to lead themselves.
Established by Ralph and Cheryl Broetje in 1990 to carry out the mission of “bearing fruit that will last,” the Vista Hermosa Foundation became the philanthropic arm of the Broetje family. VHF invests in the development of holistic, sustainable communities in East Africa, India, Haiti, Mexico, and the United States.
FirstFruits of Washington was started in 2009 as a collaborative apple marketing company owned by the growers, Broetje and Congdon Orchards. Sharing in the mission established by Ralph and Cheryl, this organization was tasked with communicating the philanthropic spirit connected to the fruit sold under out label.