Out in the Field
Many of you, I'm sure, have seen a tent in the orchard along the roadside with a group of men poking and slicing apples. Have you ever wondered what they are doing?
Meet Mark LaPierre from Wilbur-Ellis. Mark and his staff have been Broetje Orchards' partners for years. At this time of year, they are testing apples block by block to make sure that the fruit we pick each day is the fruit that is ready.
Some of the testing that Mark's team does:
* Determining fruit maturity from all locations, comparing orchard to orchard, block to block. Maturity tests include looking at the sugar content of the fruit. Each type of apple requires a different level of sugars in order to be seen as ready to harvest. Mark and his team also look at the pressure of the fruit. Fruit that is too hard was picked too soon; fruit that is too soft was picked too late. It is this testing which determines where each picking crew goes and what fruit they harvest.
* During other times of the year, Mark and his team are looking at other indicators like tree budding, which helps our crews prune trees correctly.
The 2015 harvest has had its challenges for sure. Due to the high heat this summer, we have had an early season which has introduced heat stress, unevenness of crop load on various blocks, and fruit becoming mature at different times.
Mark and his team are owed much thanks for their support and guidance, particularly this year. We are truly thankful to have Mark and Wilbur-Ellis a part of our First Fruits Family.
Stephen's Children in Egypt
Students of Vista Hermosa Elementary and Jubilee Leadership Academy were blessed by a visit from Mama Maggie this September. Staff had an opportunity to share about our work with ACEs and trauma informed care and Maggie prayed with the children that they would continue to grow strong in their personal faith and love for one another.
Mama Maggie, founder of Stephen's Children in Egypt, has been an important partner to Vista Hermosa Foundation since 2004. Her ministry serves thousands of families living and working in the garbage slums of Cairo, where they shift through filthy piles of trash every day for items to sell or recycle. In a place where hunger, sickness, violence and abuse run rampant, Maggie and her staff bring love, education, and healing.
More than 33,000 children are now served through home visits, community education centers, daycamps, and vocational training. A desert farm also provides refuge from the city, where young men and women have opportunities to learn farming, discipleship and leadership skills to grow the ministry. Please pray for Mama Maggie and her staff, read her inspiring biography, and visit their website for more information: www.stephenschildren.org.
Safe Quality Food (SQF) Certification
Providing consumers and their families with safe, quality food is important to us, and being SQF certified is our way of guaranteeing our customers and buyers that we mean what we say. SQF stands for Safe Quality Food and is administered by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) to keep suppliers informed about consumer concerns and to provide consumers assurances that suppliers are maintaining high standards in the production of their fruit.
In order to achieve SQF certification, Broetje Orchards has developed and implemented rigorous safety and hygiene standards in the orchard and the warehouse. We undergo several internal audits throughout the year and have a third-party inspection yearly to make sure we are following SQF procedures.
For those working in our fields at this time of year, please be mindful of some of the regulations that Broetje Orchards must follow, including: do not wear jewelry, do not hang articles of clothing on nearby trees, or do not eat inside the orchard. Thank you for your help!
Paisanos Unidos Program
Through the Paisanos Unidos program, Broetje Orchard employees are changing the future of children in Nuevo Paraíso Tzotzil in Chiapas, México. Every dollar that employees donate is matched by the Vista Hermosa Foundation and donated to Amextra, an ngo that supports holistic development in marginalized Mexican communities.
The people of Nuevo Paraíso Tzotzil have a tragic history. They are originally from Acteal, but in 1997 fled as a result of a massacre. Since then, they have been looking for a place to live in peace. Last year, they received land and have hope for a better future, but education is a big concern. The closest school is 7 km away and there isn't transportation. With your support, they would like to build a school. Through this project, children will have a safe place to play, learn and grow.
Together, Broetje Orchards employees and the Vista Hermosa Foundation are making that happen. We invite you to join our cause!
If you would like to donate to Paisanos Unidos, please contact Melanie Lopez-Grewal in the office building or by phone at 509-749-8178.
First Fruits Scholar Student Spotlight
Cesar Munguia, child of Jesus and Guillermina Flores, has been a First Fruits Scholarship recipient for four years. In December, he will graduate with a degree in Sociology from Washington State University, Pullman.
Cesar is the first person in his family to attend college and has paid for his college tuition and housing primarily with scholarships. While at WSU he has served as a Resident Advisor, an Orientation Counselor and is President of his fraternity. He has a passion for helping others understand that financial barriers do not have to get in the way of attending college.
After graduation he plans to pursue a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership and work in Student Affairs. With his degree Cesar hopes to "help students who may face similar challenges as I did and guide them to success."
New Doctor at Vista Hermosa Clinic
Our partner, AnovaWorks, has announced that a new doctor will begin serving our employees at the Vista Hermosa Clinic.
Dr. Lynda Williamson is a family physician with over fifteen years of experience in clinical medicine. Dr. Williamson seeks to support the health and well-being in every patient and to provide tools and education for patients to be as healthy as possible.
She practices the full range of family and occupational medicine, including caring for workers, children and providing women's health services. As an osteopathic physician, Dr. Williamson also provides musculoskeletal manipulation when appropriate. Dr. Williamson was born in Clarkston and grew up in apple country in the lower Yakima Valley and picked apples, grapes and cut asparagus as a teenager. During her last year of high school she was an exchange student in Montevideo, Uruguay.
She is the Chair of the Washington Osteopathic Medical Association's Continuing Medical Education program for physicians and teaches at medical seminars several times a year.