#46 Kitazawa Seed Company’s Maya Shiroyama and Jim Ryugo on 100 years of selling Asian vegetable seeds in the United States

Maya Shiroyama and Jim Ryugo run Kitazawa Seeds, a 100-year-old seed distributor based in California that specializes in Asian vegetables.  The company was started by Gijiu Kitazawa in 1917, serving mostly Japanese-American gardeners on the West Coast.  It closed for four years when the United States government sent Kitazawa and most of his customers to concentration camps during World War Two, and re-opened in 1945 shortly after their release.  Maya and Jim had planted the company’s seeds in their home garden for years when a missing seed order led to them buying the company from Kitazawa’s granddaughter in 2000. In this episode, Maya and Jim talk with Devon about the 100-year history of the seed company, the global network of growers that supply their unique inventory of seeds, and the new and old varieties dear to Asian-American gardeners and farmers around the country.