gmhTODAY 13 gmhToday March April 2017 - Page 57

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building ’ s stability relies on the strength of its foundation ; the same can be said for a family ’ s foundation , and in the case of the Bonino family , theirs ’ is built on 100 years of love . In 1917 , Italian-born Luigi Bonino moved his family to San Martin and purchased 150 acres of land , which at the time sold for 50 dollars an acre . His grandson , Louie , still farms 100 of those original acres and sells what he produces at LJB Farms . Louie , his brother Donnie , and his sister Elaine , were born into the farming life , just as their father , Tony Bonino had been .
“ My father , he was a tough guy . I tell you what , he had chores for us every day ,” said Louie , adding , “ That was part of our life .” Farming continued to be Louie ’ s way of life until he entered college in the mid ’ 60s , and majored in electrical engineering . He met and married his wife , Judy , in 1966 . After Louie graduated , rather than waiting to be drafted into the Vietnam War , he enlisted in the National Guard . When his service ended , he returned home to the family farm , and never left .
“ Where can you be your own boss , and come and go as you please , and not have to report to anybody ?” said Louie .
The family legacy was passed on to their sons , Russ , 46 , and Brent , 42 , making them the fourth generation of Bonino farmers , and according to Louie , the reason behind LJB Farms . “ We threw a couple of boxes of pears out front , and we made these signs out of cardboard ,” said Russ . He was five at the time the brothers came up with the idea for a pear stand . “ And that ’ s basically how it started .” Brent , who was three , considered it a unique idea .“ Other kids had lemonade stands , but we had a pear stand .”
The year was 1975 , and canning was very popular . The boys not only sold individual pears to their customers , they sold boxes .
“ After a few years , business picked up and I think it surprised all of us that we started making the kind of money we were from a simple pear stand ,” said Brent . Fast-forward 10 years , and the card table and homemade signs written in crayon transitioned to a 2400 square foot barn and full-service produce market .
Louis ’ wife , Judy , is the administrative end of the business . She sees a similarity with her sons ’ and the roles each plays in the family business .
“ The spilt between the boys is exactly the split between Louie and I ,” Judy said . “ Russ does all the farming , and Brent does all the management of the fruit stand .” As much as the Bonino ’ s enjoy their business , Louie is the first to admit it hasn ’ t been easy .
“ This is a very tough business because this is a perishable business . The only way you can stay in this business is you have to get better , you have to get better yields , and if you don ’ t get better yields , you ’ re not going to make it , because all your costs have gone up ,” Louie said .
Russ agrees with his father . “ The market is always changing , it ’ s always an ever evolving thing .” Evidence of this fact is the dwindling number of farms throughout the area . “ If you go from Leavesley Road north , there ’ s only three of us left … three local farms , there ’ s Chiala Farms , Uesugi Farms , and LJB Farms , that ’ s it ,” Louie said .
Louie credited Judy with the continued success of the family business . “ Oh , my wife plays probably the biggest role in the whole place ,” he said . “ This business is her little domain here , and she takes a lot of pride in what she does here , and all the input .”
Even with LJB Farm ’ s 40-plus years of success , Louie advised his sons to , “ get a job and make some real money .” Their
GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN MARCH / APRIL 2017 gmhtoday . com
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A building’s stability relies on the strength of its foundation; the same can be said for a family’s foundation, and in the case of the Bonino family, theirs’ is built on 100 years of love. In 1917, Italian-born Luigi Bonino moved his family to San Martin and purchased 150 acres of land, which at the time sold for 50 dollars an acre. His grandson, Louie, still farms 100 of those original acres and sells what he produces at LJB Farms. Louie, his brother Donnie, and his sister Elaine, were born into the farming life, just as their father, Tony Bonino had been. “My father, he was a tough guy. I tell you what, he had chores for us every day,” sa 1եqQЁ݅́)ȁtɵѥՕѼ)1եé݅䁽չѥѕɕ)ѡd̰ɕɥ)ɥ!Ёɥ́ݥ))Ց䰁ظѕȁ1եɅՅѕ)Ʌѡȁѡ݅ѥѼɅѕѼѡ)Yѹ]Ȱѕѡ9ѥ)Յɐ]͕́٥)ɕɹѼѡ䁙ɴ)ٕȁи+q]ɔԁȁݸ̰)́ԁ͔Ёٔ)ѼɕЁѼ剽tͅ1ե)Q䁱͕݅́)Ѽѡȁͽ̰Ḭذ ɕаȰ)ѡѡѠɅѥ) ɵ̰ɑѼ1ե)ѡɕͽ1)ɵ̸q]ѡɕ܁)́́Ёɽаݔ)ѡ͔ͥ́Ёɑɐtͅ)I̸!݅́ٔЁѡѥѡɽѡ)ݥѠѡȁȁх+qѡӊéͥ䁡܁Ёхѕt ɕа)ݡ݅́ѡɕͥɕЁչՔ)q=ѡȁ́х̰)Ёݔȁхt)Q啅ȁ݅̀԰݅)ٕձȸQ́Ёͽ)٥Յ́Ѽѡȁѽ̰ѡ)ͽ̸+qѕȁ܁啅̰ͥ́)$ѡЁɥ͕́ѡ)ݔхѕѡ)ݔݕɔɽͥȁхtͅ) ɕие݅ɐ啅̰ѡ)ɐхͥ́ɥѕ)Ʌ彸ɅͥѥѼՅɔ)ɸձ͕٥ɽՍɭи)1եϊdݥ)Ց䰁́ѡɅѥٔ)ѡ̸ͥḾ͕ͥɥ)ݥѠȁͽϊdѡɽ́́)ѡ䁉̸ͥ+qQЁݕѡ́́ᅍѱ)ѡЁݕ1ե$t)Ց)%1I=d5=I8!%10M85IQ%8)5I AI%0)ͅqÍ́ѡɵ) ɕЁ́ѡЁѡ)եЁхt́Ս́ѡ e)ѡȁ̰ͥ1ե́ѡЁѼ)ЁЁͻeЁ+qQٕ́́ѽ՝͔ͥ́)ѡ́́ɥ̸ͥ͡Q݅)ԁх䁥ѡ́ͥ́́ԁٔ)ѼЁѕȰԁٔѼЁѕȁ奕̰)ԁeЁЁѕȁ奕̰׊eɔ)ЁѼа͔)́ٔt1եͅ)Íɕ́ݥѠ́ѡȸqQ)ɭЁ́݅́ӊé݅)ٕȁٽ٥ѡt٥ѡ)Ё́ѡݥյȁɵ)ѡɽ՝Ёѡɕq%ԁɽ)1ٕͱIѠѡɗéѡɕ)́Ѓѡɕɵ̰ѡɗé )ɵ̰U՝ɵ̰1)ɵ̰)ѡӊéгt1եͅ)1եɕѕ)ՑݥѠѡѥՕ)Ս́ѡ䁉̸ͥq=)ݥ́ɽѡЁɽ)ѡݡtͅqQ́ͥ)́ȁѱɔ͡х́)ЁɥݡЁ́͡ɔ)ѡлt)ٕݥѠ1)ɷè́啅́)Ս̰1ե٥͕́ͽ́Ѽq)ͽɕ今tQ)ѽ乍(