Family Rich in Farming Heritage to Host Field to Vase Dinner

As the summer blooms start to pop up around the United States, we’re also looking forward to our second Field to Vase Dinner of the year. On Saturday, August 6, Ocean Breeze Farms will be hosting our long-awaited dinner in Arroyo Grande, California. Originally postponed due to COVID-19, this event promises a breathtaking atmosphere filled with colorful gerbera daisies in  one of the farm’s greenhouses.

For Rene Van Wingerden, one of the owners of Ocean Breeze Farms, Field to Vase is more than just a dinner, but a labor of love that encompasses a rich history of nearly 50 years. The Van Wingerdens have been a farming family for generations. Rene and his parents and siblings, along with his three uncles and their families immigrated to the United States from Holland in 1966. They had a well-established farm in Holland growing flowers, vegetables and fruit, but eventually decided to sell everything they had and pursue the American Dream. They initially visited Rhode Island, Colorado, and Lompoc, California before settling around Carpinteria, California. 

Group of older couples sitting in cairs

Van Wingerden Brothers and their wives (from left to right: Bill & Leny, John & Mary, Case & Connie, Hank & Agatha)

Man carrying bunch of flowers

Case Van Wingerden (Rene’s father) carrying the first crop of carnations

With farming in his family’s DNA, it’s no surprise that Rene chose to pursue it as well. He took up farming full time in 1973 soon after graduating high school, and Ocean Breeze Farms was born. Since its establishment, the farm has undergone many changes and additions. It started out growing chrysanthemums and later roses, and went through a number of ups and downs before settling on the flowers they grow now. Today, Ocean Breeze’s main flowers include gerbera daisies and oriental lilies, but they also have other varieties such as dahlias, hydrangeas, sunflowers and dianthus. 

Collage of Flower

Hydrangea, Lilies, Dahlias, Sunflower

Today Rene and his wife June, continue to own and operate the Carpinteria division, while their son, Ivor and his wife Brooks own and manage Ocean Breeze Farms’ Arroyo Grade division. 

Couple in gerbera field in greenhouse

Rene & June Van Wingerden

Couple in a greenhouse

Ivor & Brooks Van Wingerden

Ocean Breeze Farms’ history with Certified American Grown spans nearly a decade. A sister company, MOBI’s hosted the very first Field to Vase dinner in 2014, and followed up with another in 2015. During COVID, Ocean Breeze started an outdoor sales event each Saturday where visitors can take a peek inside the gerbera greenhouse and purchase farm fresh American Grown flowers. The commitment of the farm and sister company to connect directly with flower lovers is amazing and this year’s Field to Vase dinner continues to be an opportunity to share the bounty in person.

Gerberas in bucket and being held.

Gerberas at market

The Van Wingerden family and the rest of Ocean Breeze are excited about showcasing their hard work at the upcoming dinner. They are particularly looking forward to the face-to-face interaction with buyers and consumers since they haven’t had as many opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rene and Ivor believe that it’s important to show all the aspects of running a farm, so consumers can realize that supporting a local business is important. “It’s good for consumers to see what’s happening,” Ivor said. “Hopefully it will build more interest and desire so they can tell our story to the people they know, and they realize why American Grown Flowers are the ones to buy.” 

Three little girls in front of gerberas

Ivor and Brooks daughters helping in the cooler.

If you want to experience the breathtaking beauty of Ocean Breeze Farms, dine in a greenhouse full of gerberas, and taste some amazing local food, buy your tickets to the upcoming Field to Vase Dinner today!

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