Hoogenboom Family Farm is best known for the fresh greenhouse grown English cucumbers and crisp and delicious varieties of lettuce that are available at YFM.
Marco and Edith Hoogenboom founded Hoogenboom Family Farm in 2004 after immigrating to Ontario from their native Holland with a wealth of greenhouse farming experience.
“We used to have a greenhouse back in the Netherlands,” says Marco. “When we decided to emigrate, I had the opportunity to manage a greenhouse and after two years I decided I wanted to be my own boss.”
The Hoogenbooms took over an existing greenhouse that had been used to grow tomatoes and they began growing English cucumbers, the same as they had done in the Netherlands.
Soon after they took over their first greenhouse, the couple became involved with YFM when Don McKay heard they were growing English cucumbers.
“He approached us and from there on we have been dealing with him ever since,” says Marco. “Almost 16 years already. When you think about it, it’s been a long time.”
The Hoogenbooms’ cucumbers are like any other English cucumbers, but large grocery stores don’t hold a candle to their ultra-fresh cucumbers that arrive daily at the market when in season.
“At YFM, those are really fresh cucumbers,” says Marco. “Compared to sometimes in stores, they can be about a week old or something and it’s just not the same.”
Marco explains that their English cucumbers, as well as their baby romaine, butterhead and trio mix lettuce, are harvested, packed and shipped to YFM all in the same day. Within 24 hours the produce goes from the dirt to the market, ready to be enjoyed. The taste is noticeable.
“I think that’s a big gain,” he says.
Since starting the farm, the Hoogenbooms have kept an eye on the future and, much like their produce, they are always growing. In 2010, they expanded to three acres of cucumber greenhouses and two years ago they branched out and began growing a new type of produce—hydroponic lettuce. The Hoogenbooms are currently in the process of expanding their greenhouses for more lettuce.
Their greenhouse lettuce is a crowd pleaser at YFM and carries its own distinct taste.
“Baby lettuce is not exactly your romaine heart that you know from the stores but it’s a little smaller and it’s crispy and a little bit sweet,” says Marco. “It’s actually awesome.”
In addition to Marco and Edith, a truck driver and about 25 full-time employees keep Hoogenboom Family Farm running smoothly throughout the year. In the summer, seven or eight students also come onboard to work and gain farm experience.
Marco says that they are proud of how they got to where they are with relatively little from the Netherlands. With nearly 20 years of production experience, they have managed to build up the business to the size they are at right now.
“I say quite often this has been a team effort with Edith and myself to achieve this,” he says.
Marco explains that in addition to following a food safety program called Canada GAP (Good Agricultural Practices), they also hold their own high standards of excellence.
“We try to achieve the best quality and freshest products out there.”
If you want the freshest farm to table English cucumbers and variety of hydroponic lettuces, add Hoogenboom Family Farm produce to your veggies list next time you visit YFM. Bite into crisp and delicious produce from a family farm that has been set on quality and freshness for decades.