Small Farms Get a Second Life

Family farms are funding new business ventures to personally appeal to consumers


Small farms aren’t just businesses, they’re a culture. And that may be what will help them stay afloat in today’s economy of supersized agriculture.

Families like the Masumotos, owners of a small farm in Del Rey, Calif., are showcasing other aspects of their lifestyle in order to get a leg up financially. David Mas Masumoto, his wife Marcy, and their grown daughter Nikiko have recently published a book of recipes designed to feature the fresh fruits they grow.  

Intriguing dishes aside, the book also features photos of the farm, which has been family-owned and operated for generations. The Masumotos’ project not only promotes a healthy appetite for the succulent peaches they’re known for, but also invites consumers into a new, more personal understanding of what life is like on the small farms that are so often mentioned in the media. It’s a humanist view of something typically discussed in purely economic terms.

Other farms are taking similar initiatives. Some are inviting guests to stay in an adjoining inn after engaging them in farm workshops or cooking classes, or are producing their own preserves and ciders, making them available for public purchase. 

These ventures are part of what is known as value-added agriculture. It allows the farmer to market something year-round, even in low-yield seasons and strengthens the connection between growers and consumers. 

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