Vegetables come from different regions in order to provide the freshest optimal produce for Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes restaurants. One example of a multi-generation farm that we source delicious vegetables from is Muranaka Farm, Inc. in Moorpark, CA.
Charles Muranaka, 38, the third generation of the Muranaka family, is continuing the family legacy as the Executive Vice President. Charles explains the history of how his grandparents got started, the farms, and looking into the future.
Muranaka Farm, Inc. was founded in 1947 by Minoru Muranaka and his wife, Matsue. They had a trucking fleet that hauled vegetable produce every day from the Japanese-American farms in the Culver City/West Los Angeles area to the Downtown LA market. Through this business, they were introduced to the farming industry and were given the opportunity to starting farming as celery sharecroppers.
Their first farming attempts were unsuccessful. However, Minoru and Matsue were determined to find the right crops to grow and become successful farmers. “They had to make a tough decision to either stay sharecroppers their whole life or make a go of their own. They chose to go independent,” says Charles. The Muranaka’s succeeded to become independent growers starting with a small 60 acre farm in the San Fernando Valley. In the 1950’s, they farmed green onion and radishes. Radishes continued to be a signature crop for them as they moved west from the San Fernando Valley into the town of Moorpark, our home ground since 1969.
Minoru and Matsue’s sons, Harry and Roy, continued to expand the farming business and in 1983, they made the decision to begin operations in Mexico. With the reputation of providing high quality produce consistently with year-round availability, diversifying the growing regions was necessary. Because of the warm steady weather throughout the winter season in the Mexicali Valley. “Mexicali provides a strong growing platform to ensure consistent quality crop to our customers,” says Charles, son of Roy Muranaka.
Farming has always been part of Charles’ life. He has been in the business for over 14 years working in purchasing and sales. Charles is proud to represent the long tradition and says, “I absolutely love what I do. Everyday has new challenges. Dealing with a living breathing plant is exciting. To be able to feed the country with the freshest quality produce we can grow is a privilege.”
About Muranaka Farm, Inc.
Our business is founded on keeping the consumer’s best interests in mind. We understand that there is no substitute for fresh, premium grade produce. And when it comes to food safety, we take the necessary steps to ensure our product is not only fresh, but safe. This provides our clients with an added measure of peace of mind, knowing that their customers will enjoy nothing but the finest, freshest vegetables.