A night at the movies

 Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Hugh Ralston


It was a magical evening straight out of the pictures – clear skies, twinkling stars, gathering of friends at the family home, ice cream and a lovely breeze reminding us we were still weeks away from August’s furnace. And a movie screen that – despite its 21st century technology – was grounded by the family tractor.

It was a new documentary that brought us to the Masumoto family’s organic farm, some seventy years after Mas Masumoto’s father invested in San Joaquin Valley farmland for a better life. A movie that shares the narrative of a family’s love for the land, the will required to thrive, of the transitions of generations, and the unique experience of a Japanese American family adapting to new traditions, new stories, and new hopes.

The heart of the film rests around Mas’ observation and question, “how many harvests are there in a farmer's life?” As the family business transitions to daughter Nikiko, who has - like her father - returned to the farm, the question shifts to how many harvests are there now to share. And in the reminder of the hard physical labor it takes to produce such sublime peaches – pruning, shaping, watering, harvesting, packing, marketing and delivering, labor that is shared between and among the family and stretches through all four seasons.

At the Fresno Regional Foundation, we understand the dynamics of families, of legacies that carry meaning through generations, of finding inner strength to carry through the adversities of nature and life. We are privileged to have board members like Mas Masumoto, who brings his talents, passions and hopes for a future his children will help shape, to our work.

We raise strong people on this land, strong enough to thrive and to create the future. What a privilege to share the next cycle of that most human of stories: one generation staking the next, adjusting to changes that reflect values, and the hard work on the land to bring forth all its bounty, far richer than the sweetest of peaches we enjoyed during a night at the movies.

Best Regards,

Hugh J. Ralston
President and CEO 
(559) 226-5600 ext. 101 

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