Gijiu Kitazawa worked many years as an apprentice for a seed company in Japan prior to starting Kitazawa Seed Company in 1917. The business operated in a large warehouse with a storefront located in downtown San Jose, California. At this time, America's vegetables reflected a homogenous national palate yet Kitazawa Seed Company sold all kinds of seeds from domestic and foreign sources. This was also when the Company began selling and promoting their own line of packaged seeds of Asian vegetables. The Asian vegetable seeds were sold primarily to customers who wanted to grow Asian vegetables in order to prepare traditional Japanese dishes. The seeds were sold in the familiar manila packets with green ink that we use today. Gijiu also built a thriving bulk seed business in the developing farming areas of California and Oregon selling to predominantly Japanese-American farmers.
From 1942 to 1945 Kitazawa Seed Company was forced to abandon the business due to WWII. The Kitazawa family, along with all other Japanese-Americans, were moved and put into Relocation Camps during that time. Gijiu restarted the business after the war. Many of his customers had relocated due to land ownership changes. This is when Kitazawa Seed Company began selling and shipping seeds across the United States.
Kitazawa Seed Company celebrated its centennial, and American taste buds and produce now reflect the diversity of our population. Once exotic sounding vegetables like eda mame, nappa, daikon and kabocha have become a part of our kitchens and gardens.
Kitazawa Seeds proudly continues to offer the highest quality Asian seeds to delight the diverse palates of our customers. We offer over 500 seed varieties that produce dento yasai or traditional heirloom vegetables of Japan, to the Asian vegetables popularly found in farmers' markets, specialty grocery stores and restaurants. Now you can grow them in your kitchen garden, sell them at your garden center and grow them commercially.