Mas and his daughter Nikiko are the 3rd - Sansei in Japanese - and 4th - Yonsei - farming generations of the Masumoto family. Masumoto's parents purchased the farm in the Central Valley after they were released from US internment camps, and after college, Mas returned to farming. Now the author of eleven books, Mas has become a leading influence in both the active and academic fields of organic farming. Leading the next generation, Nikiko brings her own creative voice to their Fresno Country farm through transformative installations and multidimensional experiences. She is also the co-founder of Yonsei Memory Project, an organisation which creates intergenerational spaces for ‘memory keeping’ within the Japanese American community.
Across their 80 acres of orchards, Mas and his daughter Nikiko cultivate a diverse ecosystem, encouraging native plants to grow between the trees, never mowing mechanically or spraying herbicides to keep the vegetation at bay. An abundance of wildflowers as a part of their cover cropping which act as a home for beneficial pollinators and predators which overwinter their eggs. Most commercial stone fruit growers have never planted a cover crop let alone a patchwork of wildflowers, clover, rye, and vetch filled with life. By specializing in only two main crops, Mas and Nikiko are able to uphold growing and harvesting standards unmatched by many others in the industry. Like
Beyond agricultural practice, it is the family’s dedication to cultural preservation that we admire the most. In 1987, Mas sat down to write 'Epitaph for a Peach.' In response to their difficulty selling heirloom varieties like Sun Crest - which have fragile, thin skins and delicate flesh - growers ripped the trees from their orchards and replaced them with flavorless but cosmetically pleasing alternatives. The response to this article gave him reason to hope there was a future for flavor focused farming. We are proud to work with growers like Mas and his daughter Nikiko, whose commitment is keeping the most flavorful varieties of stone fruit alive.
Their early season fruit is particularly sweet and sun-ripened; with a strict twenty foot minimum distance between trees, each piece gets ample sunshine, essential for natural development of sugars. The richness of the Yellow Peaches, and Yellow Nectarines, is quite noticeable in their syrup-like juice.
SUN CREST PEACH
The peach that became the symbol of the sustainable food revolution. Now included in the Slow Food Ark of Taste, Sun Crest peaches are grown by only a handful of farms who resisted market pressure to replace this delicate freestone variety with hybridized, cosmetically appealing ones. The abundance of true, peach-flavored juice is impossible to find in those easy-to-ship varieties. Mas was unable to compromise his love for perfect flavor and texture in favor of commercial success.