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.
Tim Page runs the Farmers’ Exchange of Earthy Delights — also known as F.E.E.D. Sonoma— a produce distribution company that works very closely with 50 small scale farmers in Sonoma County, California. Growing up in the Orange County, CA of the ‘70s, Tim witnessed the disappearance of farmlands firsthand, inspiring F.E.E.D.’s dedication to creating a food system with efficient practices and pristine raw ingredients, all while practicing the maximization of our existing resources. Chelsea talks with Tim about the origins of this business under an oak tree, supporting a community of farmers, and what to do with the ridiculous abundance of California.
Molly Willson and Zack Hemstreet run Bullock Lake Farm on Salt Spring Island, British Colombia, where they grow organic produce, flowers, and pastured livestock. From heirloom apples to bouquets to a new barn that will double as a music venue, they take a diverse approach farming. They sell at local farmers markets, grocery stores, and a very popular Community Supported Agriculture program. Molly and Zack speak with Chelsea about how they became farmers, diverse income strategies on a family farm, and the potential of farms to bring community together.