News Releases

Opal® Apple Announces Youth Make a Difference Finalists

BY: Shira Caldie | DATE: June 02, 2016

YAKIMA, Wash. - June 2, 2016- FirstFruits Marketing is proud to announce the outstanding 14 finalists in the annual Youth Make a Difference grant initiative. All award winners are youth-led organizations addressing issues around food security, nutrition, agriculture, food politics, and education. FirstFruits seeks to build a holistic, sustainable community by empowering members to put their dreams into action and then serve those most in need within their community. Over 18,000 consumers voted for their favorite organization on the Opal® apple website.

The following are the award-winning finalists:

  • Build, Plant, Grow, Eat, Repeat Garden: Manning, SC
  • Family Gardens in a Food Desert: Denver, CO
  • Community Garden and Playground at Genesis Project: Fort Collins, CO
  • Wyoming County Farm to School Initiative: Mullens, WV
  • Hope-4-Hope Garden: Marion, AR
  • Go Healthy St. Louis: St. Louis, MO
  • Garden Clubs and Food Forests: Ojai, CA
  • Youth Roots Program: Oakland, CA
  • Junior Leadership/Food Recovery Program: Rio Rancho, NM
  • Westwood Raised Garden Beds: Mesa, AZ
  • Pinehurst Garden Buddies: Pinehurst, NC
  • Healthy Lifestyles: Sequim, WA
  • Youth Urban Farm Training Program: Memphis, TN
  • Greenhouse Pest Management Initiative: Orleans, MA

"We are so excited for these finalists and know they will do exceptional work in their communities," said Naomi Lule, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of FirstFruits Marketing of Washington and Youth Make a Difference Committee Chairwoman.  "Youth Make a Difference not only supports initiatives financially, but it instills passion and confidence in our youth today that will follow them into their futures."

Learn more about each of the finalists and their missions at 


About FirstFruits Marketing of Washington

FirstFruits Marketing is a collaborative apple marketing company owned by Ralph and Cheryl Broetje. FirstFruits shares a commitment to producing high quality fruit while balancing the demands of purpose, people, planet and profit. Annually a portion of profits are donated to non-profit missions supporting the underserved. For more Information, visit

About Opal Apple

Opal apple is the apple with a purpose, making a difference in communities across the nation. FirstFruits Marketing donates a percentage of sales to worthy organizations. Opals are grown exclusively by Broetje Orchards and marketed under the OPAL® brand name by First Fruits Marketing. Grown only in Washington, this Golden Delicious-Topaz cross apple variety was introduced in 2010 to wide consumer and media acclaim. Its distinctive color, flavor and texture are unique qualities that make it a one of a kind apple. 

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