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, Ralph 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.
From their vision, Broetje Orchards became a recognized leader in the apple industry and for over 25 years as one of the largest privately owned apple orchards in the United States. Their business-as-ministry focus drew from the bible verse in John 15.
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.”
For more information on the Broetje family and their continued work, please visit Vista Hermosa Foundation.
Starting in 2019, ownership transferred to a new company, but the founding vision continues to shape the unique culture of our business. While new goals and priorities will be set to grow the business into the future, we remain committed to developing relationships, building individual’s capacities and serving community in the workplace.
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.
We will continue to sustain this holistic work in three integrated ways:
The company’s acreage includes about 5,000 contiguous acres near Prescott, 625 in Benton City and another 550 devoted to certified organic productions in Wallula, WA. Once the fruit is picked from the field, it is quickly transported to our 12 million square foot storage and packing facility on site, ensuring the best quality product.
In 1990, the Broetjes invested $5 million from their business to build on-site housing. The first residents named the community “Vista Hermosa,” which means “beautiful view.” Today the community is home to over 800 employees and their families, offering a variety of educational, health and recreation activities.
FirstFruits Marketing was started in 2009 as a collaborative apple marketing company with Congdon Orchards. Sharing in the larger mission of ‘bearing fruit that will last’, this organization was tasked with communicating the philanthropic spirit connected to the fruit sold under our label.