Masumoto Farm: History of the Land

By Nikiko Masumoto

Published on February 22, 2014

Our farm is about 15 minutes south of Fresno, nestled in the middle of California's agricultural heartland. These 80 acres were acquired in the late 1940s by my grandfather Takashi Masumoto. He bought the land because it was inexpensive; he didn't have very much money when he left an internment camp after World War II. To plant new roots on this land, a thick layer of hardpan rocks had to be broken and hauled out by hand. Today, peaches, nectarines, and grapevines thrive in the blistering hot summers, supported by well-draining, nutrient-rich soil. In the early 1980s, we transitioned the farm to organic by adopting sustainable methods of cultivation, planting cover crops, and inviting helpful insects back to the land. The diverse ecosystem of our farm might look wild to a conventional farmer, but it's this diversity that helps both our land—and our family—thrive.

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