Louisville teens give back with heirloom tomato business - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Louisville teens give back with heirloom tomato business

J.Bros tomatoes are grown on a Shelby County farm. (Source: Andreina Centlivre, WAVE 3 News) J.Bros tomatoes are grown on a Shelby County farm. (Source: Andreina Centlivre, WAVE 3 News)
The 750 plants are grown organically. (Source: Andreina Centlivre, WAVE 3 News) The 750 plants are grown organically. (Source: Andreina Centlivre, WAVE 3 News)
Henry and Logan Jelsma (Source: Andreina Centlivre, WAVE 3 News) Henry and Logan Jelsma (Source: Andreina Centlivre, WAVE 3 News)
Curtis Taylor (Source: Andreina Centlivre, WAVE 3 News) Curtis Taylor (Source: Andreina Centlivre, WAVE 3 News)
The Jelsma brothers provide tomatoes to Curt Taylor and the kitchen he runs to feed the homeless. (Source: Andreina Centlivre, WAVE 3 News) The Jelsma brothers provide tomatoes to Curt Taylor and the kitchen he runs to feed the homeless. (Source: Andreina Centlivre, WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - On a farm in Shelby County, two young men manage 750 plants. They do everything from tilling to weeding.

"It's a lot of work in the heat of Kentucky," Logan Jelsma said.

Logan and Henry Jelsma are 18–year-old twins from Louisville. They own J.Bros Tomatoes.
 
"J.Bros Tomatoes can be a joke around sound of our friends," Logan said.  

The jokes don't bother the young entrepreneurs who grow over 60 varieties of heirloom tomatoes.
 
"We have been growing tomatoes for about seven years before, growing for our church," said Henry.

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Turning their operation into a business wasn't easy. The Jelsma brothers say at first, cold calls weren't successful.
 
"They would pick up the phone and say our chef just stepped out," Henry said. 
 
With the support of family, the twins persisted.

"They realized if they showed the chefs the tomatoes they might actually buy them," Mr. Jelsma said.

In the second year of business J.Bros Tomatoes can be found at restaurants like Decca, Whiltshire Pantry, and Anoosh Bistro.

The tomatoes sold are organic, so without the help of pesticides the two teens have to work quickly before their product turns.  

"And we don't want to just throw them in our compost pile and just go to waste," Henry said.

"We don't require anybody to pay for them when they want them. We give them out for free," Curtis Taylor, who feeds the homeless on Saturdays.

This is the second year the Jelsma's tomatoes are donated and served in Taylor's kitchen. 

In August the Jelsma brothers are off to college. The twins don't know what will happen next season.

"This all started with giving back," Logan said. 
 
Both brothers say they feel like J.Bros has come full circle. 
 
"It make us feel great that we are doing something, we are  making money, but we are also helping the community," Henry said.

For more information on the Jelsma brothers and J.Bros Tomatoes click here.
 
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