David and Dawnna Berndt have been watching their business grow for almost 10 years.
It was only 9 years ago when they felt the need to do something that could involve the whole family. They didn’t want it to be all “play” reports the Brookings Register.
So the couple came up with a plan that would teach their kids the values they wanted to foster — and they did it in the form of an everybody-pitches-in family business.
Dawnna came up with the idea for the business, and David, who Dawnna says is the “brains” of the outfit, jumped on board right away. David started gardening in grade school and sold his own produce in the former Gibson parking lot (which is now where First Bank & Trust’s east branch is located).
David, who stops in at the stands from time to time, continues to run a full-time cattle and hay farming operation. “His heart is in hay and straw,” says Dawnna. “He loves physical work.”
Berndt Family Produce was launched in in August 2001. The business partners include: planter/harvester Joshua, now 17; green-bean picker Jessica, 16; comedian and harvester Jacob, 14; sales associate Julia, 12; and greeter/setup-and-tear-down assistant Junior, 7. Oldest daughter Jennifer, 20, now lives in Veblen and is busy being a mom.
“The men in the family are the muscle of the operation. The women are the mouth,” Dawnna says jokingly.
Photo by heydrienne