The Baseline Flower Fields


– Do you remember when you first started
farming flowers here? – It was after the war. We were put in the camps, and the war ended and they let everybody out, so we started farming out here. – And then how many families along here? There were seven families eventually. – The two of us were farming, Kishiyamas
and I were growing flowers at that time and then two, three other families
came in and started growing flowers. So at one time there was probably
300 acres of flowers along Baseline. And the perfume, you could smell
it for two, three miles away. And it was a national (laughs) attraction. All of the tourists and everybody would
come here for the flower gardens, and Baseline, at the peak of the flower season,
Baseline was just a two-lane highway. And they had to have police up there
on the corner directing traffic so it wouldn’t be jammed up. – It was fun to see, although it was a little strange having all the tourists come in all the time when we were kids. And they would sometimes want to take pictures, right? Of us in the fields, ’cause there were little kids. So those are some funny things that I
remember about growing up around here. – I even had a tower built so that people could go up and to the top of the tower and look down on the fields and enjoy the colors. – I remember this business as
being a lot of work for you and mom. So I remember being here like on the weekends when you would have maybe six weddings that you’d have to get out and all of
those boxes were lined up and we would be all blowing into the bag to get the corsages set and everything boxed up so you could deliver them. – Thinking about it now, I says, I don’t know how I managed everything like that. (laughs) – It was a big business. Yeah, I remember you and mom
sitting there, or you sitting there particularly writing out and mom
taking care of the front, and she was so good with all the customers. She would always make that joke about “I won’t charge you tax, don’t tell the governor.”
(laughter) – Well I missed farming. I love farming,
that’s why I was in farming to grow plants and watch them grow and produce
something that people would enjoy. I really enjoyed that. – Did you kind of expect that one of us
would go into the business? ‘Cause we all moved away, none
of us really intended to— – No, I didn’t expect any of my children to take over the business
because it was a lot of hard work. I put a lot of hours and work into
building up the business and buying the land and everything and there was times
when in the growing season I would leave early in the morning and
never got back ’til late at night. I wouldn’t see the kids for maybe a couple
of weeks at a time, you know. – It was sad to sell the land, but because none of the kids were going into it, it was something that made sense
because that was sort of what the plan was for retirement,
was selling the land at some point. Yeah, I guess I’m happy that you
have the flower shop to be at because you’re 95 and it kind of
keeps you young, I think. (laughs) – Well, it keeps me out of mischief.
(laughter)

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