Hails from: The Central Valley, CA
Occupation: Organic peach farmer and author
Known for: In the culinary world, Masumoto peaches are synonymous with the best. The heirloom variety Masumoto Elberta peach, in particular, is prized by chefs, but it’s so delicate, it can’t travel to market. Devotees of the Masumoto Elberta must, instead, adopt a tree for a year and harvest it themselves, usually in late July to early August.
But the history behind these peaches–and the nectarines and grapes the Masumoto Family Farm produces just south of Fresno–is as extraordinary as the fruit itself. The Masumotos first arrived in California in 1898 and have been farming the Central Valley for over a hundred years. Patriarch David “Mas” Masumoto is not only a 3rd-generation farmer but the author of eight books that weave together stories of food, farming, family, and Japanese-Americans (the Masumotos were interned during WWII). Masumoto’s latest, Wisdom of the Last Farmer: Harvesting Legacies from the Land, debuts this month.
Do you dare eat a peach? If it’s a Masumoto, the answer’s yes. Tom Colicchio’s Craft restaurant in Los Angeles is currently offering an all-Masumoto Elberta tasting menu–it’ll set you back $100–through early September.
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