Kitazawa, now based in Oakland, offers a two-color (green and black) catalogue printed on yellow paper and illustrated with line drawings. 2017 marks the company’s 100th anniversary. It was founded by Gijiu Kitazawa, an apprentice to a Japanese seed company who immigrated to the U.S. and settled in San Jose, where he sold seeds out of a downtown store.
During the war the Kitazawa family was forcibly interred into relocation camps, and the business had to be abandoned. Because of the internments, many Japanese-American farmers lost their farms, so after the war Kitazawa, having lost its local market, began a mail-order business.
The company features a range of Asian vegetables, not limited to Japanese. I would say that they have the most extensive selection of Asian vegetable seeds of any of the vendors I received catalogues from. Their descriptions are concise but informative.
Besides individual seed packets, priced at $3.69, the company offers packages of several seeds, called “Chef Specialty Gardens,” at a reduced price. I ordered the Stir Fry Garden mix.
I also ordered several other seeds from Kitazawa this year, and the company responded instantly: As I recall, the well-packaged seeds were in my mailbox the very next day! I was astonished.
In keeping with the family-oriented spirit of the company, their catalogue includes some recipes using the vegetables.
Orders can be made by phone, fax, mail, or via a secure web page: order info is here. This is one of my favorite seed vendors. Highly recommended.