Hikari Farms keeps the legacy of the Issei farmers alive

WATSONVILLE, Calif. — Hikari Farms has faced hardships before, so Janet Nagamine, who manages the third-generation family farm in Watsonville, is optimistic that the operation will continue and even grow in spite of the battering that California has taken from Mother Nature in the past couple of months. Watsonville has been subjected to flood warnings, […]

Natural Progression: Sharecropper descendant James Nakahara supports emerging farmers

If you’ve ever dreamed of starting your own farm, you might want to talk to James Nakahara of Kitchen Table Advisors. His job at the Northern California nonprofit is to counsel fledgling agricultural entrepreneurs, and he can provide you with all sorts of useful information about irrigation techniques, soil properties and organic growing practices. He […]

Cultivating Multitudes: Santa Cruz farmer Kellee Matsushita-Tseng stewards seeds and self

Tiny beige flecks showered down from the desiccated stalk of celtuce in Kellee Matsushita-Tseng’s gloved hands. As the determined farmer tapped it rhythmically against the edge of a black plastic tub, the stalk’s withered sprigs rustled softly, making a sound like the fluttering paper streamers on a Shinto priest’s purification wand. The bottom of the […]

LIVING LEGACIES: The past, present and future of Nikkei agriculture at Tanaka Farms

Just south of the 405 Freeway in Irvine, Calif. — nestled between an open space preserve and a golf course — stands an unexpected monument to the history of Japanese American farming. Constructed out of old wooden boards, this monument is roughly the height and length of a shipping container, and at least twice as […]

Historic Rancho Palos Verdes Hatano Farm to close

RANCHO PALOS VERDES, Calif. — The view from Hatano Farm is mesmerizing. Sown with flowers and edged by cacti, the 5.5-acre plot sits on a gently descending hillside above a cliff that drops off into the Pacific Ocean. Facing south, you can stand in its soft, crumbly dirt and become transfixed by the vast expanse […]

Country Wisdom: Maya Shiroyama runs the Kitazawa Seed Company with lessons learned from rural living

Maya Shiroyama learned about growing food from an early age. When she was a very small child, her grandmother would bring her out on her parents’ new farm. To help the young couple get on their feet, Shiroyama’s grandmother played field hand and babysitter at the same time, tending the land with her grandchild strapped […]

The Next Generation of Chino Farm in Rancho Santa Fe: The Vegetable Shop at Chino Family Farm doesn’t open until 10 a.m., but crowds begin to swell much earlier

Editor’s Note: The article was originally published by Edible San Diego. In the moments between the ebb and flow of the market, Makoto Chino asks if anyone has a recipe to recommend. He’s planning an elaborate dinner party for nine. “What are you making?” I ask before he rapidly fires back with a list of […]

A century of growth

One hundred years ago, Gijiu Kitazawa established the seed company that still bears his name. He first worked as an apprentice for a seed company in Japan before immigrating to the U.S. at the age of 22. In 1916, Gijiu and his brother Buemon started the Kitazawa Brothers Nursery and Seed Company in San Jose, […]

RABBIT RAMBLINGS: Avoiding government-induced poison

Well, that does it. From now on, I plan to buy mostly organic produce. I know that it will cost me a bit more, but after watching the new Rachel Carson documentary, this is a small price to pay for food that is certified to have no pesticides or herbicides used in its production. And […]

Memoirist intertwines family, farming and feelings of the heart

CHANGING SEASON: A FATHER, A DAUGHTER, A FAMILY FARM By David Mas Masumoto with Nikiko Masumoto (Berkeley, Calif.: Heyday, 2016, 192 pp., $16, paperback) In the mid-1980s, while researching the World War II incarceration experience of Americans of Japanese ancestry at the Gila River Relocation Center in south central Arizona, I discovered a brief yet […]