May 11th, 1955 Eb (Opa) and Annie (Oma) Hogervorst emigrated from the Netherlands shortly after they were married. After a nine day sea voyage they arrived in New Jersey. They toured New York for a day and then jumped on a bus headed to California. Now talk about not wasting any time! Their journey across the country began on May 21st and they arrived in San Diego the very next week on May 30th.
They immediately began looking for work. A dairyman named Cornie De Young, in Chula Vista needed a cow milker and Opa was hired. They even provided a small house for Opa and Oma to live on the dairy which was located at the north end of 1st Avenue. (Today the 805 freeway runs through the land where the dairy used to be.) They borrowed a gas stove, purchased a new refrigerator and were loaned a bed from Oma’s sister. They even bought their very first car, a used 1947 Dodge, for $395.00 which was quite a cause for concern for the young couple because what would their friends think that they had such a fine car as poor, young immigrants?!
After about a year and a half of working on the dairy, Opa and Oma had a dream, they wanted to run their own business. So on October 1st, 1957 after saving every penny they made, Opa and Oma purchased a chicken ranch… the only problem was that they didn’t know a thing about chickens, but as it goes, Eben-Haezer, God will provide. Opa and Oma, bought the property and business from a lovely Russian couple, John and Marie Tickunov. The Tickunov’s decided to stay for a few months and taught them everything there was to know about the chicken business. At that time the ranch had 4000 layer hens and the eggs were collected in wire baskets, placed on flatbed trucks to be transported to the egg room where they were washed on a small egg washer, hand packaged, then picked up by their egg buyer Arden.
Oma worked right alongside Opa while raising up their own brood of seven children. Those seven children grew up with some serious work ethic and every one of them was out helping on the ranch at early ages. Naturally Opa did lots of building in the years that followed with many additions to the farmhouse to accommodate the growing family as well as many of the layer houses to accommodate the growing number of hens that continue to be in production at the Eben-Haezer Poultry Ranch today. Thankfully Oma’s cousin Luke Van Egmond, who was a carpenter, was there to help him all the while.
In 1995 Opa and Oma officially retired. Once Opa and Oma retired, their daughter Bernice and son-in-law Luis along with their five kids took over the farm.