Location36817 Foothill Road, Soledad, CA, United States (Show on map)
Mike Costa’s family spans three generations in the USA, with his father’s family emigrating from Portugal and his mother’s family emigrating from Switzerland. Mike’s father (Anthony Costa) was born in Wakefield (near Boston), Massachusetts. Anthony Costa came to California when he was 11 years old to live with his aunt in 1939. He entered the dairy business when he first came to Salinas, CA.
Anthony Costa started farming in 1956 with 150 acres in Soledad, CA growing sugar beets. Costa Family Farms still farm the original 150 acres today. Anthony and his wife Elsie still live on the same ranch that Elsie was born and raised in and remains as their Costa home ranch.
The Costa family has been farming in the Salinas Valley of California for over 55 years. The family started with sugar beets, beans, potatoes, green onions (added in 1958) and leaf lettuce in 1959-1960. In the mid-70s, Costa Family Farms started growing broccoli for Mann Packing (which Mann Packing was well-known for in the world). Even though Anthony Costa and Don Nucci (co-owner of Mann Packing) were best friends, their relationship solidified further when Mann Packing started packaging and marketing their lettuce in 1982. Starting from 2 dozen Butter and red/green Romaine, they now have 20 different varieties packed 150-160 ways 6/days a week, 52 weeks/year excluding holidays. At present, Costa Family Farms grows about 85% of Mann Packing’s products and are Mann Packing’s main grower-partner.
Costa Family Farms main crop is Leaf Lettuce including Romaine. They were one of the first to grow romaine in the Salinas Valley. With Mike’s siblings, David Costa and Joanne (Costa) Moline, as well as a few of their children, Colby Rubbo and Peter Dossche they carry on their family farming tradition.
In 2005, Costa Family Farms revolutionized lettuce harvesting with the innovation and manufacturing of a whole leaf lettuce machine. An integral step in eliminating waste, the machine mechanically de-leafs an entire head of leaf lettuce into individual leaves. Always looking towards the future, in 2009, Costa Family Farms invented and manufactured a broccoli floret machine that mechanically takes the harvested broccoli crowns and cuts them into individual florets.
For over 25 years, Costa Family Farms partnered with Mann Packing Company, have grown 20 different field commodities including broccoli, cauliflower, multiple lettuce varieties, celery, bok choy, cabbage, kale, parsley, cilantro and Broccolini®. They are in joint ownership in Yuma, AZ and Holtville, CA with 4000 acres of crops for the Winter Desert Season. The two companies have a great partnership as grower, packager and marketer of their products.
“Very important to have relationships with our workers, people that work with us…we have people that have been with us for over 30 years.” –Mike Costa
Costa Family Farms has a very hands on philosophy. Even as a corporate family farm due to their size (5,800 acres / 12,500 acres of crops) they have established important relationship with their workers and consider their workers as part of their “family”. Mike and his brother, David, are involved in all personnel issues and stay in touch with all their employees to hear first hand any issues that may need to be addressed. Today, they employ more than 70 people. Their staff is dedicated to quality, innovation and food safety. They share that same philosophy with Mann Packing that makes their partnership a great thing.