Bellewood Farms Has New Owners, Name

Bellewood Farms, formerly Bellewood Acres, may have a new name and new owners, but it’s the same orchard locals have grown to cherish. Since 2002, the Whatcom County farm has been an autumn landmark, attracting families from around the state as one of western Washington’s largest apple orchards. Featuring a café, farm market, and art gallery, alongside seasonal attractions, tours, and events, Bellewood draws nearly 50,000 people each year, say owners.

After 22 years, John and Dorie Belisle put down their pruners for the last time in September 2018, handing the operation over to the multigeneration Abel family, who made their way up the coast from Seattle to begin their new adventure. Bellewood’s day-to-day operations will be shared by Eric and Julie Abel, their son Blake and his wife Janelle, and kids Rowe and Raylee. They now live, work, and play on the property. Eric is acting president, Julie is the store and cafe manager, Blake oversees farm operations and acts as vice president, and Janelle is the community relations and marketing director.

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With a craft distillery on site, the family has plans to create Bellewood’s own hard cider to join with a collection of vodka, brandy, and gin already available. Agriculture is another top priority. The Abels believe strongly in community food systems. “Everything we’re doing is giving back to our neighbors,” says Eric. “It’s less about creating apples and more about the joy that comes from eating apples and giving nourishment.” The Bellewood Country Café is open every day from 8 a.m.–5 p.m., drawing locals throughout the cold months for delicious pastries and light breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. Most of the café’s fresh ingredients come from Bellewood and its neighboring farms, something important to the Abels. “To us, it’s a natural thing that you know where your food is from,” Eric says.

One of Eric’s favorite parts about the farm is knowing that Bellewood is part of a tradition that spans multiple generations of Pacific Northwesterners—that each fall, families will gather around their kitchen island to bake a pie using Bellewood apples. “There’s a warmth about eating together that’s unexplainable,” Eric says. As the sun returns to Whatcom County, Bellewood will welcome pale pink and white blossoms across its 62 acres of pear and apple trees. These blooms will be on full display at the farm’s Mother’s Day Brunch on May 12 and Father’s Day Car Show on June 16.

Bellewood Farms
6140 Guide Meridian Rd., Lynden
360.318.7720 | bellewoodfarms.com

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"'To us, it’s a natural thing that you know where your food is from,' Eric says."