Rieks and Robin Bruins purchased land in 1981 in the rolling hills of Monmouth County, New Jersey. Farming was not new to this couple who traced their love of agriculture to generations of tillers of the soil. Robin’s ancestors left the British Isles for Virginia in 1635, while Rieks was a first generation transplant from the Netherlands. They met in 1976 on the Bicentennial of the United States when Robin was an exchange student on the Bruins’ farm. Days spent together on the hay wagon blossomed into love and the couple returned to the states to begin their own farm family.
Before traveling to the Netherlands, Robin earned degrees in Animal Science and Agricultural Education and taught Vocational Agriculture in Delaware.
Rieks Bruins grew up with dairy cattle and sheep on a 42 hectare grain farm in Groningen, the Netherlands. After earning Master degrees in Agricultural Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, he returned home for the summer to help on the family farm to find an American girl living in his house. They moved from the land of windmills, speed skating and tulips to the US and married.
As farmers, Rieks and Robin are constantly searching for better ways to raise their livestock and manage their pastures. The little farm in the center of the Garden State is treated as a unique ecosystem featuring a great diversity and variety of animals and plants, wild and domesticated that depend on one another. Goats kill poison ivy and their manure is composted to be used as fertilizer. Rhubarb leaves are boiled to make insecticide and poultry eat larvae and insects from the garden each fall.
Roodehaan Farm, named for the little town where Rieks grew up, translates as “Red Rooster” Farm and represents the proud and colorful call to care for the land. Rieks, recently retired from Rutgers University where he worked to improve the packaging of military rations, MREs. He has continued to work in this field as a consultant forming his own LLC after one day of retirement. After a forty year teaching career, Robin is retired, volunteering in ten non-profits.
This couple has three sons and six grandchildren. Community service is a joint commitment. The Bruins have volunteered in 4-H, FFA, church, youth sports and agricultural organizations, such as the Monmouth County Board of Agriculture and Farm Bureau.
Purchasing stock from our farm comes with the Bruins’ guarantee. We promise to deliver a high quality product at a fair price. If you are interested in supporting sustainable agriculture and naturally grown livestock and plants, call us and stop up for a visit. The coffee pot is always on.
Bruins - Roodehaan Farm