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.


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Summing up the Flower Business

Looking forward to 2015 in the Flower Business

As we end 2014 and head into 2015 we should reflect on what we do most days:  grow, sell or arrange beautiful flowers.  People not in the business will often say, “You are so lucky, you get to work with flowers every day!” 

I rarely read the Economist but I saw an article from the Dec 20th issue about the Manhattan flower business which had a very interesting quote. This quote made me laugh, but it captured my sentiment on a lot of days. 

I am often frustrated with our industry and business, especially since I live in the Silicon Valley where all business is cutting edge and everyone is working on their 5th billion dollar startup.  What’s odd is; it is these guys who tell me how lucky I am not doing what they do.  Of course they are right, as my favorite fortune cookie advised me, “You are where you are supposed to be.” 

The flower business can be shitty, but I can’t imagine doing anything else, and today I feel lucky that I get to do more of it in 2015.

Full Economist Article

Happy New Year!!


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

KB Christmas

How did it all of a sudden become Christmas Eve?  I will start shopping in about 3 hours: my usual tradition.  I believe gift cards were invented just for me.  Anyway, we have had a nice holiday season.  Our coolers are empty heading into the Christmas holiday week. 

We could have grown and sold more flowers this December, and we will plan accordingly next year, but it will be nice to start 2105 with all FRESH FLOWERS.

Some highlights from this holiday season was a great Christmas lunch last Thursday, 
organized by our HR Director Maria Ledesma.  

The BBQ from Carmonas was delicious, and don’t kid yourself that pinatas are for kids play.  
As you can see the KB staff got into the “swing” of things.

To everyone thank you for your support and interest in KB, 
and we look forward to another great year in 2015!