How family knowledge and passion grew a delicious enterprise
When Jamie Lewis was growing up in Amity, her mother, an outstanding baker, taught her the art of pie making. She never thought that this was an extraordinary skill – many people learn such artistry from their mothers. But, she was wrong in that thinking. There is a little something different in the way that Jamie Lewis bakes pies.
Her family story is one of courage and tenacity. When Alphonso DeRaeve arrived in America from Holland and planted his life and profession in the Amity area, he built a farm and dairy of 800 acres and a legacy that is continued today with his granddaughter, Jamie, co-owner, along with husband, Ron, of Blue Raeven Farms. Now the owner of 132 of those acres, half of which produce some of the Northwest’s most flavorful blueberries, she and Ron are also the proprietors of a successful farm stand and ever-growing bakery which includes pies unlike any other – made with fresh, local ingredients and shipped all over the country.
Ron and Jamie opened the farm stand on Highway 99 in 2007, and Ron had the vision of adding a bakery. Jamie was game and brought to bear her family secrets with cinnamon rolls and cookies – a feat she accomplished with the help of her mother-in-law. But it was the fortuitous hire of a young woman from Indiana at the farm stand that led to what is now a brilliant business. Having grown up in a bakery setting, she suggested Jamie should try to sell pies. A simple suggestion birthed a delicious enterprise.
If you take a bite of a mixed berry (the most popular seller) pie, you get it. There is nothing more wondrous than a bite into a mixture of Oregon’s most juicy blueberries, raspberries, boisenberries and marionberries, and the way that the concoction of the state’s finest fruits come together is uniquely Blue Raeven.
While the businesses (farm, distribution and retail) grow, children Colby and Katie are following in their parents’ footsteps. Each works for Blue Raeven and is learning the industry so it will continue into the future- Ron and Jamie’s succession plan; Alphonso DeRaeve’s legacy. For Jamie, Amity represents family and her passion for friends, family and relationships is evident.
She shares, I was the fifth daughter (a boy arrived as child number six). I went away to college and moved to Seattle and Montana. After Ron and I married, we returned to Amity. I discovered that you can look at other places, but then you realize that our home community has so much to offer in terms of great people and this beautiful farm. It was a great place to raise our children. It is a great family atmosphere. And we try to make it better with our work here.
The holidays pose particular challenges in the pie business. Over the years, visitors from California and across the country have gotten into the habit of ordering only Blue Raeven treats for their Thanksgiving and holiday tables. One long-standing customer from the Golden State ordered 70 Thanksgiving pies this year. For Jamie and company, that’s a lot of dough.
You cannot understand the special nature of the Amity area without stopping by the Blue Raeven farm stand. For Jamie, she cannot image a visitor to the area not taking advantage of the willingness of the local residents to show you where their produce, grapes and crops develop and how their special touch makes them unique to Yamhill County.
The more local businesses you go into, the more you will have a sense of the community here, Jamie said. You need to step into the businesses and wineries and talk to the owners. This is an ag community, and we are proud to show you how we work and how we thrive.
Blue Raeven Farm