Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The World of Flowers (WFE 2015)

Flowers have always been an important part of my life, and I was overwhelmed at the sight of the World Flower Exposition held in Los Angles from March 11th through the 13th.  Under one roof there were close to 500 flower growers from around the world.  

This was the first time that Kitayama Brothers participated in such an event of this scale.  
I was proud that the flowers we grow in Watsonville were among the best in quality at the show. 

There is heated competition with flowers grown in California and South America, and it was so encouraging to have the both of us at the same show.  I spoke with growers from Africa, Israel, Australia, Holland, Thailand, Canada and more.  

There was a common bond among growers with similar challenges: clean water, disease, extreme weather, transportation and politics.  A few growers told me that at times the difference between a good and bad year is just luck.

Over 2,000 flower buyers attended the show in Los Angeles.  The show was not only a success for our company but for the Flower Industry as well.  

Next year we hope to have the World Flower Exposition in California again.  
Kitayama Brothers will be there and invite all of you to come, you will not regret it.

Dave Kitayama

Friday, March 13, 2015


It was a family affair at the World Flower Expo in LA on Wednesday.  Cousin Dave and Wendy (Dave’s wife) set up the booth which looked great.  Brother Scott (no picture) came to town to talk to his Ecuadorian rose grower; he made a little time for his brother.   Here is Wendy with Ben Dobbe at the HAL booth, we like the patio furniture; we are going to steal that idea for the Fun N Sun booth.

A nice surprise was young cousin Daniel came to visit us at the show.  He was great. 
He talked to the customers, posed with a flower hat, pretended he was in the flower business; acted interested and overall left a good impression. 

Cousin Janet from Green Valley, she won’t admit she is related to us (she is not, but we like her that much), and a Japanese flower importer, Hiroyuki, who was interesting.   

For a first time show, we think WFE was worthwhile attending.  It will be back and so will we.


Friday, February 27, 2015

Women’s Day 2015

Confess, who knows when and what Women’s Day is?  
(March 8th is International Women's Day) It was first celebrated in the early 1900’s as a way to start recognizing women’s rights. The earliest Women’s Day observance was held on February 28, 1909, in New YorkIt is celebrated mainly in Europe and Asia where people buy flowers and other gifts for the women in their lives.  

The American flower industry wants to make this an American holiday. We were not sure how to promote this holiday but according to my daughters, if the holiday benefited women and women’s causes they could support it.  I thought that was a great suggestion.

Therefore on this first Women’s Day promotion, 
KB is donating 10% of our sales on March 6th to two groups: 
Monarch Women’s Center in Watsonville.  

KB is also advertising in the Santa Cruz Sentinel on March 1, 4 and 6 
listing our customers who are also donating to local women’s causes on Women’s Day. 
IF possible, please support one of these businesses.

Whether you buy flowers or not, on March 8th let the women in your life know 
how much you appreciate them.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Flowers in the City

Flowers for Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year collide in San Francisco

This past weekend I was in San Francisco on Friday and Sunday. 
When the weather is in the 70’s, there isn't a more beautiful city in the country. 

SF Flower Market
On Friday morning, I went to SF Flower Market to check out how business was, and how our customers were feeling.  Our good friend and customer, Karman Kwan seemed pretty happy about the holiday.  He said he was sold out and was glad that he didn’t have as many roses like his neighbor Shibata Floral.  Hopefully Shibata sold out, too. 

Karman Kwan

Around the rest of the market there was a good selection of branches, spring flowers and ranunculus; all are now in good supply.  Everyone seemed to be in good spirits which is nice to see around Valentine’s Day.

Chinatown Flower Fair
On Sunday 2/15, my family and I took a trip to San Francisco to see what was going on at the Chinatown Flower Fair.  Chinese New Year is Thursday 2/19 and this is the year of the Ram/Sheep.  As you can see there were a lot of shoppers, it is the biggest holiday of the year for the Chinese and Vietnamese communities.

I was a little disappointed with the flower offerings.  There were a smattering of gladiolas, orchids and some nice pots of narcissus, but otherwise it was all fake flowers and plastic stuff.  There is great potential for flower sales, someone step up!  You can get your flowers from KB.

Kung Hei Fat Choy & Happy Tet!


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Wedding Flowers

In honor of Valentine’s Day... the holiday of romance

We want to show off flowers and photos from my cousin’s daughter wedding.  
Rachel Cathcart and Scott Daley married in Palo Alto on January 24.  
Rachel is my cousin Monica’s daughter, Uncle Tom’s granddaughter and cousin David’s niece.  

It was decided a few years ago that Kitayama family weddings should have nice flowers.
I thought the flowers for this wedding were very nice.   
Cousin Dave usually procures the flowers and he did a great job; 
considering it was just a few weeks before Valentine’s Day.  
Brides want what brides want, and that often means garden roses. 

Rachel and Scott met in Philadelphia while attending college.    
They will both be living in Philadelphia; I guess the cold doesn’t bother them.  
The arrangements and bouquets were designed by Yasuko Solar of DeYoung Florist, 
and a friend of the family.  

Rachel’s sisters Naomi and Rebecca were the bridesmaids.

We had a nice time at the reception, funny toasts and heartfelt speeches.  
Kitayama is a large family and celebrating family milestones is a big part of what is important…

Stuart, Scott and Robert

Stuart, Dennis and Ted

Friday, January 30, 2015

Getting Ready for the Holiday

Walking around the farm, we are gearing up for the Valentine rush

We had forecasted this year would be down as a result of the Saturday holiday, and we planted accordingly.  Hindsight is 20/20 and we probably should have grown a bit more as we are currently sold out of Gerberas, Lisianthus, Starfighters, Pink Orientals and Snapdragons.  We have tulips and novelty items to sell: talk to your KB rep to see what we have.  

Here is a picture of the warehouse, you can still see the floor space, 
so you know we haven’t gone into full production yet.

Our grower Jimmy Zheng is standing in front of his lily crop.  
We are sold out, so thank you for ordering your lilies this Valentine.  
Oriental lilies will continue to be in short supply for the remainder of the year, 
because of the unstable bulb supply and a backlog of containers at the container ports 
due to a longshoreman strike.  We will do our best to supply our customers.

As for the Valentine holiday, take it one day at a time, it will be over before you know it.  Then you will have just enough time to prepare for Women’s Day on March 8th!


Friday, January 9, 2015

New Year at Auntie Heidi

Akemashite Omedato!! (Happy New Year)

As usual the Kitayama family New Year’s celebration was at Auntie Heidi.  
Each year you can expect about the same things.  
There will be mochi making in the kitchen.  
On the dessert table will be blue finger Jell-O, rice crispy treats made to look like sushi, 
a rainbow sherbet punch and snicker doodles.  

There will be Japanese stuff to eat: 
ozone, nishime, kampyo, gobo, kazunoko, tsukemono, etc…all great.  

We will watch college bowl games, 
meet new boyfriends, 
occasionally hold a new baby, 
and talk about stuff we haven’t covered the 3 or 4 other times 
we have seen each other during the holiday season.    

Clockwise: Kyle, Naomi, Barbara, Mark and Grace

(Mochi Making Group)
Cousin Kyle, Cousin Naomi, Cousin Barbara, Cousin Mark and Grace.

Mochi is eaten on New Year’s Day because…I don’t really know why, but it is sticky and can be hazardous.  

News Flash: This year, 9 Japanese died from chocking on mochi.

Left to Right: Uncle Ted, Mom Kimiko, Auntie Martha and Auntie Heidi

(The 4 Elders) 
Uncle Ted (one of the brothers), Mom (Kimiko, who is Ray’s wife), Auntie Martha (the brothers' youngest sister), and Auntie Heidi (Tom’s wife and Dave's mom)

This table represents about 350 years of advice.  You’ll be glad to know they're still giving a lot of advice.

(Dave and Emi)

Cousin Dave, a new Grandfather with baby Emi.  

A picture says a 1000 words..

Left to right: Grace, Karen, Robert and Maya

(My family) 
Grace, Karen, Robert and Maya 

Happy New Year from KB and our family.