Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Hardest Working Women in Flowers...

Grandma Kitayama and Farm Girl

Grandma Kitayama worked till the day she died at 85. She passed away during the morning break from grading carnations. Grandma raised 6 children in a country she couldn't speak the language and who put her and the family into concentration camps during WWII. However, she told her kids this was a good place and to work hard and it would be "daijobu" OK. Grandma's boys build greenhouses and grandma graded carnations and made sure everyone got along.  She was given her own color rubber band to grade carnations, she would grade every bunch "Fancy" because we could charge the most money for Fancys. I am reminded of Grandma Kitayama when I went to visit Christina Stembel AKA Farm Girl over Valentine's Day. Here is another woman who works very hard, every day to fulfill her dreams.

Grandma Kitayama on the rare day she wasn't working.

Once upon a time Kitayama Brothers would start at 4;30am and work until midnight during Valentine's Day. That was when we grew roses and carnations and stored them and then shipped thousands of boxes. However, now we are older and lazier. This holiday we went home around 5:00 PM, we did work 21 days straight (can't do that anymore in CA after this year). On February 13th I drove to San Francisco to deliver kale and visit with our great customer Farmgirl Flowers. She did not have time to chat with me, she was too busy working her butt off to get out hundreds more orders before cut off. She had just done a 24 hour shift. I love KB but I haven't worked 24 hours ever. Not only is Christina the hardest working women I have met since Grandma she also supports KB flowers almost as much as grandma. Christina buys as many California flowers as she possibly can and she doesn't get enough credit for doing so. From KB, "Thank You", get a little rest, and then get back out there! 

Farm Girl at Valentines Day, "no time to talk" 

PS: March 8th Women's Day. 
Women buy 85% of all flowers, 
please give you favorite female some flowers!

Robert Kitayama

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Rain, rain... go away, but just till we dry out

The KB Blog has been on hiatus till I could find time again.  I am going to give up reading distracting online articles and start writing them.  
At least I will know how much truth they contain.  

You have to be careful what you ask for, last year we said, "if it rained every day that wouldn't be enough".  It might not be enough to end the 5 years of drought, but it is enough when it actually happens.  You find out that creeks, roads, embankments, power lines and other usually innocuous things have their limit and will overflow, tumble down or stop working.  It is another example of how awesome nature is.  The other night my family and I were in the dark, literally.  We just went to bed even though it was 8:30pm.  We didn't know how to deal without electricity, don't even get me start on not having internet, "what's the point of living?"

Good news bad news, flowers love rain water, we collect if off our greenhouse roofs and the gerbera daisies think it is a great treat.  You will start seeing the results in the coming weeks and months.  However, warm, rainy weather is a growers worst enemy when dealing with botrytis and other diseases.  We have done a good job keeping the flowers clean, but every California grower and I believe South America also is having a wet winter, will have issues.

I am going skiing this weekend if I can get to there.  One ski area in Tahoe reported 51 feet of snow so far this season.  I am excited about the prospect and hope you have a good weekend too.

 "one of KB's fields under water"

 "neighbors strawberry crop"

"one of our tenant's hoop houses"

Robert Kitayama