Planting Roots That Last
From the time he was six years old, James Belue knew he 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. While the work was hard, James quickly learned he had a passion and a knack for farming, and began a life-long career.
By age 10, James moved with his family to the Flatwoods part of Spartanburg, an area rich in farmland and values. At church, he soon met his true love, Betty Bagwell. A local girl, Betty grew up on a cotton farm, and in 1950, James and Betty married. “We just can’t do without each other,” she says. “If I didn’t love farming, I would have been miserable.” Together, James and Betty developed a thriving peach packing business, a self-sustaining farm, and in 1991, a Market to sell their “fresh picked” peaches and produce directly to local customers.
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 the daily workload. After graduating college and 15 years in marketing, communications and advertising, daughter Harriett came to manage bookkeeping and the retail Market. Even grandson Elliott helps out during the summer months, and enjoys interacting with shoppers. Together with 15 year-round employees plus seasonal workers, they help make Belue Farms a welcome respite that hearkens to days gone by.
Over half a century later, James and Betty still work side by side with no plans to retire. They continue to provide the freshest locally-grown products available in a family business built on honesty, dedication, and respect.