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Thursday, October 2, 2014

FIRST FRUIT NEWS - October 2014

"A Quality Fruit Company Committed To Bearing Fruit...Fruit That Will Last" (John 15:16)

Trust In Each Other
This past month, General Stanley McChrystal addressed a group of Washington State
business leaders. While one might think that his talk would have covered strategy, military strength and technology, Gen. McChrystal spoke at length about leaders needing to allow their teams to function in semi-autonomous groups, about the importance of good communication, and also the need for leaders to be servants to their teams.

As the General saw it, organizations are filled with good men and women.  All too often, however, leaders obstruct a team's performance on account of their own need for recognition or inability to trust others.  Good leaders need to put themselves aside and facilitate team work. 

On this point, McChrystal emphasized the importance of constant communication to foster trust. Every day his teams communicated with central command and then also with each other.  Every day his soldiers recited their creed, "never shall I fail my comrades." For us at Broetje Orchards, we can learn a lot from this man, even though he lived a very different reality. How often are we putting our team first?  How often are we truly trusting each other? Do we strive to never fail our fellow employees?
In a complicated world, success never hinges on one person.

As a way to build team-work, think about our health and have fun at the same time, Broetje Orchards began its first employee  6 Week Walking Challenge. A total of 65 employees from many of our entities accepted this challenge and are walking their way to better health.  Some have formed walking teams and others walk in pairs, but steps are adding up nonetheless

As the first week ended, we were amazed  by how seriously our employees are taking this challenge.  In this first week, our employees have taken over 4 million steps!  This  equates to approximately 2,100 miles. Natalie Patricio from our HSL line is a great example. She is among the top 10 in the walking challenge. When asked how and why she took the challenge she replied,"I use to weigh over 200lbs, with high levels of cholesterol and diabetes that was out of control that caused me to get recurring seizures. After a life and death experience, I learned the importance of watching what I eat and I am a true believer in exercise. In the last 9 months, I have lost about 100lbs. And I now walk two hours every morning and an hour hour in the afternoon. The best part is that my seizures stopped and I feel healthier than I have ever felt in my life."

Changing the Lives of Kids
Araceli Rivera- Head Teacher
New Horizon Early Childhood Education Center

Araceli grew up in Mexico City with 5 sisters and 2 brothers.  In 1992 she graduated with a BA in Psychology from Universidad Tecnológica de México,.  She subsequently obtained her GED and CDA (infants, toddlers and preschool), and is just a few courses away from completing her Early Childhood Education degree. Araceli moved to Washington in 1999 and began picking apples at Broetje Orchards.  After only 3 weeks, she was recruited to work at New Horizons Center. She is now the Head Teacher in our center and is in charge of curriculum and instruction.
Araceli shares her knowledge and her love for children with students and teachers and parents alike. Last Year, she facilitated the
Ready for Kindergarten program for 69 parents and family members. "We are parents in the education for children and it's essential that parents know they play a very important role.We are here to support them." Ready for Kindergarten helps parents work on phonics, math, and social and emotional skills at home with their children. The program helps parents identify developmental stages and provides ideas and tools to support educational play. At New Horizons Center you will find Araceli working in the preschool 2 classroom for part of her day. She says "the best part of my day is story time, because I can bring stories to life with different voices, questions and prediction. I know the kids really like this time too because they are so quiet and looking at me and the book. It is so much fun to surprise them with what is coming next!"

Harvest Update
Prescott OrchardFinished picking Gala and Golden; 80% finished with Honey Crisp and Fuji; started picking Red Delicious.
Wallula OrchardFinished picking Gala, Golden, Red Delicious, and Honey Crisp; 90% finished with Early Fuji; started picking Opal and Braeburn.
Benton City OrchardFinished picking Gala; 60% finished with Early Fuji; started picking Red Delicious

First Fruits Marketing
2014 Summit: "New Ultra Mesh"
Each October, members of our First Fruits sales team attend the PMA Fresh Summit. This annual event is the biggest produce expo in the United States. With 20,000 attendees and 900 exhibitors from over 60 countries

This year the sales team will be presenting our new Ultra Mesh bags which we offer in multiple varieties, such as Fuji, Gala, Granny Smith and even our proprietaryOpal. This high graphic bag has beautiful, eye-catching artwork, and will also be featured in the new product showcase at Fresh Summit.Fresh Summit is a place where top buyers from the world's largest retail chains as well as key decision makers from companies all along the supply chain have a chance to meet our team and see what FirstFruits has to offer.

Vista Hermosa Foundation
Kirindon, Kenya
With apple harvest in full swing, we recognize how blessed we are by the natural resources in our area and the important role that water plays in the development of thriving communities. Imagine not having access to clean water.Unfortunately this is a reality for many communities in Kenya. For the last seven years Vista Hermosa Foundation has supported the World Vision's Water, Sanitiation and Hygiene (WASH) Project in the Kirindon region of Kenya. When they started, less than 10% of the population had access to clean water and only 18% had access to improved sanitation facilities.

The WASH project is having a profound impact on children. Mr.Kinanta, head teacher of Kimintet Primary School. commented that after the school was connected with piped water, there was a large reduction in the number of students missing school to help parents each for water. The local clinic also noted a significant decrease in waterborne diseases. In turn, student test scores on national exams improved significantly, from 240 in 2014 to 265 in 2013.

To learn more about World Vision's Clean Water Initiative please visit:
World Vision WASH Project

Rural Savings Bank
Oaxaca, Mexico
Micro-finance has played a key role in poverty alleviation worldwide, but in recent years there has been a shift towards community led savings. Unlike traditional micro-finance, no outside capital is contributed: community members learn to save their own money in a group, which requires a great deal of trust building and solidarity.

Members then request loans from the group and interest may be charged.  To encourage savings and financial training, members receive interest dividends, resulting in greater community cash flow. Benefits also include social involvement, community strengthening, women's empowerment, skill development, social capital, and social entrepreneurship. VHF has partnered with Fundacion Leon XIII in the coastal area of Oaxaca this year to support 90 Rural Savings Banks with a total of 7,000 members. 80% of its members are women, and each bank saves an average of $3,500 US dollars a month. Uniquely, members of the program also pool a portion of their savings and interest into community development projects, which not only benefit the community, but also encourage leadership and community responsibility

First Fruits Scholars
Since 1997, Vista Hermosa Foundation has awarded over $1.3 million in scholarships to first-generation college students of Broetje Orchards and Jubilee Youth Ranch.
This summer, an Alumni and Scholarship Awards Celebration was held in Pasco,Washington and an additional $117,000 was awarded to 26 students attending colleges of their choice this Fall.  For students who commit to performing community service hours each month, they are eligible to renew their scholarship for up to a four-year degree.
Please join us in congratulating these students and their parents for all of their hard work and dedication.  As classes begin this Fall, these students may be the first in their families to attend college, but they will not be the last. They are setting the example and paving the paths for many generations to come. Their example shows us that realizing our dreams takes hard work, dedication, parent support and the belief that we all have wonderful and unique gifts to give. Dreams can be accomplished by believing in ourselves 

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