Kitchitaro Kawano came to the United States from Japan in the late 1800s. He eventually found his way to Loomis, California, where he worked on various farms.
In 1911, he and his wife, Momi, purchased 20 acres of land in the Rosedale Colony Tract of Loomis and named it Rosedale Farm. This land later became Roseville and is now part of Granite Bay.
Kitchitaro cleared the land of rocks, boulders and scrub oak and began propagating trees for his future orchard. Most of Kitchitaro's orchard was planted in grapes and persimmons, along with some pears and a few peaches. When grape prices plummeted in the 1920s, the grapes were replaced with plums.
After Kitchitaro's death in 1939, his widow and youngest daughter, Helen, ran the farm. During World War II, Helen and her new husband, Seiichi Otow, were interned at Tule Lake Relocation Center and later worked in Chicago.
After the war they returned to the farm to find that it was not in condition to provide them an income. Seiichi opened a radio repair shop in Sacramento while reviving the orchard.
Eventually Seiichi and Helen returned to farming fulltime. Rosedale Farm shipped plums to eastern markets through the fruit sheds in Loomis. Fresh persimmons were sold to Oakland, Los Angeles, Seattle and via the Loomis fruit shed.
Dried persimmons were sold locally as well as in Los Angeles, the Bay Area and eventually Hawaii. Peaches were sold at the Sacramento market.
The Otow family, including Seiichi, Helen, June, Christine and Wesley not only cared for and harvested the orchard, but also packed all the fruit on the farm until the 1970s.
During the 1980s and 1990s, the limited operation of the local fruit shed and lack of workers caused the decline of the orchard. Rosedale Farm ceased shipping via the fruit shed in Loomis.
However, the creation of PlacerGROWN and new agricultural marketing efforts in Placer County encouraged the family to open a direct marketing fruit stand.
Today, Chris Otow Kuratomi and her husband, Tosh Kuratomi, respond to their customers' preferences with a much more diverse variety of fruits and vegetables. They continue to specialize in the ancient art of dried persimmons known as hoshigaki.
Surrounded by development, they strive to honor their family's commitment to the farm. The orchard takes on different personalities through the seasons and continues to provide local residents with high-quality fresh food for their table.