Take A Bite Out of Hunger

Join Our Newsletter

Company History

1968—A Rough Beginning.
Ralph and Cheryl Broetje bought their first cherry orchard in Benton City, Washington. The first three years were disastrous. “The cherries froze the first year,” recalls Cheryl. “Rain ruined them the second year. The third year we lost them to fruit flies. Our lives were not in real good shape. By the third year I was counting on a higher power to get me through.”

Although they were hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, the banks extended their credit and a few friends andrelatives pitched in to help—a “dream team,” as Cheryl refers to them. One of them was Ralph’s former Sunday school teacher. “He reminded me of a dream I’d had when I was on a retreat in junior high school,” Ralph explains. “The dream was that I would own an apple orchard and use the money we made to help feed kids in India.”

Broetje Orchards - Our Benton City
The original cherry orchard in Benton City in 1977. This was the first orchard that Ralph and Cheryl Broetje purchased in 1968.
1980—Establishing Roots.
At the urging of a friend the Broetjes invested in 400 acres sagebrush covered land in the Columbia Basin near the confluence of the Snake and Columbia Rivers. Although no apples were grown in the region at that time, they irrigated the land and planted about 350 acres the first year, then planted 900 acres the next three years. “It was a new place for apples and that made it a risky spot,” says Ralph. “But there was a lot of land available, and it had good slopes and available water. The area has about as ideal apple-growing weather as you can find. In hindsight, I think God moved us down here. Ever since we’ve been on this place, amazing things have happened. It was the beginning of our real mission in farming.”
Broetje Orchards - Arial View
In the late 1970s, Ralph and Cheryl Broetje broke new ground out of sagebrush and planted what would become more than a 5,000 acre orchard.

1984 - Remembering The Dream.

The Broetje family took a mission trip to Mexico. Their experiences there brought about a dramatic change in the way they would run their business. “That mission to Mexico made me realize how hard it was for people there to dream about achieving anything, because the opportunities did not exist,” Ralph explains. “I understood that they were coming to the United States for better opportunities for their families. It gave us more insight into what their needs are, and it reminded me of why we had this orchard. It wasn’t so we could keep building things for ourselves. It was so we could try and give back to the families we worked with as much as we can.”

Children in India
“The dream was that I would own an apple orchard and use the money we made to help feed kids in India.”
—Ralph Broetje

1988-Investing in Community.

ChurchDeveloping more full-time jobs was not the whole solution. Many low-income families have inadequate housing, childcare, and education. To address this situation, the Broetjes invested about $5 million and built 121 single-family homes and apartment units to rent at low cost to year-round employees. Residents named the community “Vista Hermosa”—which means Beautiful View. They also built New Horizons Preschool on site for 60 children.

Vista Hermosa Elementary came next to provide students in grades K-6 with a quality, Christian education. “It has been so amazing to see the changes in the parents and kids,” says Ralph. “They become very self-motivated. Although most have very little education, they believe they can do anything.”

By 1990, Vista Hermosa Foundation was established as a private family foundation to support local initiatives for families residing in the Vista Hermosa community as well as to reach out to and partner with underserved communities around the world. To date, partners have been supported in over 30 countries, including Mexico, India, Honduras, Colombia, Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Chad, Haiti, Jamaica, Romania, and the United States.

Click here to read more about our philanthophic efforts

1992 - Giving of the First Fruits.
Broetje CherriesThe Broetjes considered replacing their 50-acre plot of cherries with apples due to consistently poor harvests. Reading Luke 13, they gave the crop one more year, placing their faith in God. The crop was bountiful that year and all proceeds we donated to a children’s home in Oaxaca, Mexico. Today, 100% of proceeds from the sale of cherries from these 50 acres continue to be donated to non-profit work. Cherry crop committees, comprised of employees of all Broetje Orchards ministries and for profits, review projects and determine allocation of funds. Through this process, the firstfruits of the season are donated in His name and employees live out the mission of bearing fruit that will last.

Click here to learn more about our cherry crop
2004 - 2006 - Increasing Families' Economic Stability.

Family Economic StabilityCASA LLC. and Mano a Mano were two of Broetje Orchards most recent affiliates to be created. Both organizations address issues related to housing and community building. Mano a Mano provides educational outreach to at-risk youth and also owns and manages a 108-bed, on-farm seasonal housing facility for single men and families needing temporary shelter.

CASA LLC provides employees of Broetje Orchards with an opportunity to become first time home-owners in its Tierra Vida community. Following the model created by the Vista Hermosa community, CASA LLC is not only the developer of the physical infrastructure, but also seeks to build the community of people who choose to live in Tierra Vida.