Friday, December 12, 2014
When people use the term "big business" these days, it isn't usually uttered in a positive light. This is a travesty, because big business can bear remarkably positive fruit...if done in a certain way.
Broetje Orchards has over 6,000 acres of apples and cherries in my home state of Washington. On one of the largest privately held orchards in the US, First Fruits of Washington produces 15 different varieties of apples. The company has a capacity to pack about 20,000 boxes of apples per day, which is over 5 million boxes a year. During peak harvest times, 1,000 temporary workers join the company’s 1,100 full-time employees.
This sounds like big business to me! Thank God for it. Why? Because Ralph and Cheryl Broetje, founders and owners, are committed to a biblically-informed view of business, a biblically-informed view of community, and a biblically-informed view of work that would make any 18th Century Moravian smile with glee.
On the company website you'll read: "During the past 30 years our employees have become our community. Together we tend a large fruit garden that then takes care of our needs. As we have learned how to care for one another over the years, we as a community are increasingly able to extend resources and solidarity to other communities both in the U.S and internationally."
Not only is First Fruits committed to growing quality fruit in a way that models best practices for others in the industry, but in the process they truly respect those who work for them: "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 all parties an opportunity to improve." They are addressing the poverty issue, starting right where they live.
What motivates the Broetjes? The screenshot below, from their company website, spells it out with no ambiguity [click the image to enlarge it]:
I encourage you to visit the First Fruits of Washington website yourself. It's very appealing.
Does it make a difference where your grocery gets its apples? It can. Perhaps you could send your local grocery outlet this post, along with a personal note suggesting they consider purchasing apples from First Fruits. Just a thought. The Sales Information page is here.