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Stories of California History Through Food and Family

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A Japanese-American man with white hair wearing blue jeans and a blue shirts walks down a grassy aisle between flowering peach trees.
David 'Mas' Masumoto in an orchard of Suncrest peaches he helped his father plant 60 years ago. (Lisa Morehouse/KQED)

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On this week’s show we’re revisiting two stories about family, food and farming.

Farming With Ghosts: David “Mas” Masumoto’s New Book Centers on a Family Secret

David “Mas” Masumoto says he farms with ghosts. On his family’s organic peach, nectarine and grape farm south of Fresno, California, Mas says the labor and lessons of his ancestors are in the soil and he’s passing these on to the next generations. Reporter Lisa Morehouse has visited Masumoto Farm for years, picking luscious peaches and nectarines in summer.  For her series California Foodways, she returned to hear about a family secret at the center of Mas’ new book, Secret Harvests.

How Oakland Restaurant Wahpepah’s Kitchen Reclaimed Native Dishes

Crystal Wahpepah wanted to be a chef since she was 7 years old. Like her grandfather and mother, Wahpepah is a registered member of the Kickapoo tribe of Oklahoma. She remembers learning to make fry bread with her aunty and grandmother — and picking berries with her grandfather on the Hoopa Reservation where she spent time as a child. But while growing up on Ohlone land in Oakland, Wahpepah was struck by the Bay Area’s lack of Native restaurants, despite the region’s large Indigenous population and palette for diverse cuisine. So she decided to change that. It wasn’t just a matter of culinary representation, it was a matter of reclaiming Native food sovereignty. KQED’s Bianca Taylor brings us her story as part of our ongoing series Flavor Profile, which features folks who started successful food businesses during the pandemic.


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