25; greenhouses sit on 2.5 acres in Winters, about 70 miles from the market.
Bart, Paul, and Eva Bruins along with 1 full-time helper.
The Bruins brothers, Paul and Bart, grew up in Holland's 'sea of glass,' an area with the world's largest acreage of greenhouse farms. In the 1960s, the Bruins moved to CA and Paul and Bart earned degrees from UC Davis. Finding Winters particularly well-suited to growing tomatoes in greenhouses, as they do in Holland, the Bruins found a used 5,000 sq. ft. greenhouse, dismantled it and moved it to Winters in 1974. They pursued their passion for raising high quality tomatoes on a part-time basis for more than 10 years until they decided to focus on farming fulltime in 1984 when Paul's wife Eva also joined the business. Farming in greenhouses allows the Bruinses to sell vine-ripened tomatoes beginning in mid-March before field tomatoes are ready.
Greenhouses allow the Bruinses to keep out pests and control temperature and humidity to reduce risk of disease by circulating the air with fans. They also release beneficial insects. Greenhouses greatly reduce weed populations.
In the past 10 years, the Bruins have been working to make their farm more environmentally sustainable. They have stopped using synthetic pesticides and fungicides altogether, and are transitioning to organic fertilizers.
On-site wells and drip irrigation with little sprinklers that spray a 1 sq. ft. area.