From the time he was six years old, James Belue was destined to be a farmer. That summer, James, his older brother Perry, and Uncle Boyce Lee Burnett packed peaches on Fernwood Orchard Farm in Spartanburg. Despite hard work, James quickly learned he had a passion and knack for farming, and began a life-long career. By age 10, he moved to the Flatwoods part of Spartanburg, an area rich in farmland and values. At church, he met his soulmate, Betty Bagwell, and in 1950, the pair married.
By 1955, James and Betty Belue ventured into farming with 45 acres of peach trees and a few years later, a peach-packing business off Parris Bridge Road and a market to sell their “fresh-picked” produce. Along the way, they raised two children, Mike and Harriett. Like his dad, Mike grew up riding on a tractor, and after college, returned to the farm to oversee and manage daily operations. After college and a 15-year marketing career, Harriett returned to expand the farm and store’s mission to include natural and organic foods, launching Belue Farms Natural Market in 2001. More recently, Harriett has become licensed in Massage/Bodywork Therapy and certified as a lymphatic enhancement therapist, a natural progression from her desire to keep people healthy and happy.
While Betty has now retired and her beloved James passed away in 2014, the Belue family’s original mission still stands: to provide the freshest products available, a welcome destination for weary travelers, and a family business built on honesty, dedication, and trust. Son Mike still operates the family’s farm using sustainable farming practices such as using pasture manure as natural fertilizer and no-till farming to reduce soil erosion and energy demands. The farm continues to raise grass-fed Angus cattle, peaches, and seasonal vegetables, all sold at Belue Farms Natural Market.
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