John and Ruth Jansen
In January 1994, Ruth and John bought 40 acres of corn stubble, sand burrs, and gophers. Over the following years the Jansens transformed the land to Brambling Rows Berry Farm. They planted grapes, blueberries, raspberries, black raspberries and 169 apple trees of 14 different varieties--only to have the trees demolished by grasshoppers two years in a row. The insects also demolished two blueberry varieties.
Brambling Rows Berry Farm no longer raises just fruit; it is now a produce farm with seven greenhouses. The Jansen farm continues to evolve rapidly because of on-going experimental projects. John and Ruth are currently working on a Zone 3 hardy table grape, a purple raspberry, an extremely sweet squash, an early greenhouse tomato and an Italian green bean that doesn’t rot in cold, wet soil.
Several generations of the Jansen family have worked in the operation. In addition to John and Ruth’s children, eight grandchildren have helped out on the farm or at local markets. John and Ruth also have eleven great-grandchildren.
The Jansens are members of Inter-Faith Caregivers and St. Francis Catholic Church. The family donates produce to the Salvation Army Food Shelf, the area soup kitchen and women’s shelter. John and Ruth are active in area farmers’ markets as well.