THE SHINTA AND THE KAWAHARA FAMILIES HAVE WORKED ON FARMS FOR OVER 100 YEARS.
*Bachan Shinta started her Santa Clara Valley strawberry farm in the 1920s; rebuilding her strawberry farm following the Japanese-American internment. As she considered retirement in 1960, her son Kuni Shinta and his wife Bea Kawahara helped grow the business, founded Shinta Kawahara Company in 1965, and in 1973 moved their strawberry farm to Watsonville where favorable agricultural land was more available.
Today Kuni and Bea’s daughter Gwen and her husband Rod Koda operate the business as small independent farmers and work every day to grow and deliver the most delicious and the highest quality strawberries possible! Our farm also has a long tradition of collaborating with many strawberry researchers in farm trials in order to contribute to the larger California strawberry industry.
To hear more about our family history and about Japanese American farmers in California you can listen to a podcast in which we were featured on America's Test Kitchen Proof here.
*pronounced bAA-chan, endearment for grandmother in Japanese
KUNI BEA FARMS
Kuni and Bea laid much of the foundation for what the farm is today. In much the same way our California strawberries are integral to our farm’s operation. Even in perfect conditions strawberries require rigorous care and attention. By reserving part of the farm for our Kuni Bea strawberries we have the ability to take additional action to promote the health of this portion of our crop; this allows us to continue operations and offer regular gainful employment even when adverse conditions arise.
MONTEREY BAY FARMS ORGANIC STRAWBERRIES
Farmer Rod and Gwen have always been interested in the art and science of growing strawberries so when they fully took over day to day operations of the farm from Kuni and Bea they wanted to start an organic program at the farm. Rod and Gwen view the addition of the organic program as their contribution to the long legacy of our family’s farm.
Our organic label is inspired by the nearby Monterey Bay, which provides us with ideal conditions to cultivate strawberries. Our proximity to the cooling Monterey Bay conditions allows us to let our strawberries ripen on the plant longer, which allows the fruit to develop sweetness and better flavor. The beautiful Monterey Bay is a reminder of our obligation to preserve our natural environment while providing for others in a responsible and sustainable way; because of this we have chosen to dedicate significant resources to promote organic food and have Monterey Bay Farms strawberries certified organic.
ABOUT ALBION STRAWBERRIES
A strawberry is not just a strawberry; in fact there are many varieties of strawberries! Strawberry varieties/cultivars are selected for various characteristics: taste, size, shape, aroma, production, fruiting season, and hardiness to plant/fruit physical stresses. Currently, we only grow Albion variety strawberries; a cultivar developed by Doug Shaw and Kirk Larson of the University of California, Davis. After years of strawberry cultivar grower trials at our farm and hearing glowing feedback from family, friends and strawberry lovers, we are passionate to grow Albion because of its classic strawberry taste and characteristics!