Veipune Sarah is a participant in the Northwest Community College Initiative (NWCCI) program from India at Whatcom Community College in Bellingham. As a business student, she was interested in learning about how BelleWood Acres farm has turned a family business into one of the largest apple orchards in northwestern Washington.
Washington State is truly a beautiful place to live, especially for people who love nature. In the middle of all of this beauty is BelleWood Acres Farm, which grows a variety of apples. The farm is located about six miles away from Bellingham, and about the same distance to the border of Canada. On the tour I learned that BelleWood Acres Farm is one of the largest apple orchards in northwest Washington. They grow several types of apples and many other fresh, locally grown products.
When we arrived at Belle Wood Acres, John and Dorie Belisle, the owners and operators, told us the fascinating history of their farm. They started their business together with their family in 1996. By the beginning of 2013 they opened a brand new 14,000 square-foot building, which offers an expanded farm market, gift shop plus a bistro and bakery. Their goal has always been to grow the best apples in Whatcom County and to provide visitors with many fun filled days on the farm.
John and Dorie said that everything in their farm was done with the philosophy of strong community and responsible farming. Later on, we had a chance to ride golf carts through the orchard. We made several stops and learned how their farm works. To get a real farm experience, we picked our own apples. At the end of the tour, we had a chance to taste several different apple varieties, discussing their origin and uses. Everyone on the tour got a glass of cider, which was made in front of us, and then we sampled other BelleWood farm products.
In India, I have never seen an apple tree with my own eyes. I was extremely excited that I could share my experience to my friends back at home who have never seen an apple tree. Touring in the apple farm was really great experience which I will never forget, because it could be my first and last time seeing an apple tree. Not only did I see what an apple farm looks like, but I also learned how apples are grown. To my surprise, apples also need food to grow. Since I study business, our tour fascinated me even more. The way they turned a small business into such a huge business was unbelievable.
In conclusion, one very important thing that I learned from the apple farm tour is that you need to be very passionate to accomplish your business goals. You need to have a clear mindset about how you want to grow your business. As a business woman, I should be prepared to face any challenges with confidence, since sometimes huge investments can involve a big loss. You must also be able to articulate a vision for your business that inspires others and have a clear plan of how to get from where you are to where you want to be.
The NWCCI program is part of the Community College Initiative, an exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs.