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 […]

Honoring a legacy: Produce giant George Tanimura dies at 100

SALINAS, Calif. — George Minoru Tanimura, widely known as the family patriarch of Tanimura & Antle produce, died peacefully in his Salinas home April 15, 2016. He was 100 years old. Known for his humility and generosity as much as his success, Tanimura’s passing is a loss to the agriculture industry, Salinas Valley and Japanese […]

A look at ‘Changing Season: On the Masumoto Family Farm’

Some documentaries get by largely on the strength of their subject matter. Jim Choi’s new documentary, “Changing Season: On the Masumoto Family Farm,” could have easily been such a film. Its subjects, the Masumoto family, are icons of the slow food movement. Their pioneering organic farm — run by husband and wife, David “Mas” and […]

The fruits of Santa Clara Valley’s Asian laborers

GARDEN OF THE WORLD: Asian Immigrants and the Making of Agriculture in California’s Santa Clara Valley By Cecilia M. Tsu (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013, 304 pp., $99, hard cover; $29.95 paperback) As Cecilia Tsu tells readers in her cogent introduction, its underlying purpose is “recovering the intertwined history of the Santa Clara Valley (in […]

RABBIT RAMBLINGS: David ‘Mas’ Masumoto, you’re a peach!

I had the great good fortune to attend a surprise birthday party for David “Mas” Masumoto, his 60th. It was held at the University of California, Berkeley campus Alumni House, his alma mater. As his daughter, Nikiko, related, the hardest part was keeping it a secret. They managed to pull it off, so, “Surprise!” really […]

A ‘LABOR OF LOVE’: Farming exhibit in San Jose honors Issei legacy

SAN JOSE — The Japanese American Museum of San Jose (JAMsj) introduced its new agricultural exhibit, “Yesterday’s Farmer: Planting an American Dream,” on Dec. 10. With a focus on the Japanese immigrants who settled in Santa Clara Valley in the early part of the 20th century, the permanent exhibit features more than 100 types of […]

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