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Meet acclaimed author and organic farmer David ‘Mas’ Masumoto

February 14, 2014

Carleton College will present an evening with acclaimed author and organic farmer David ‘Mas’ Masumoto, the C. Angus Wurtele Distinguished Visitor in Environmental Studies, on Thursday, Feb. 20 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Weitz Center for Creativity Larson Meeting Room 236. Masumoto is an organic farmer in California, whose farming techniques have been employed by farmers across the nation. He is also an award-winning author and columnist for the Fresno Bee and the Sacramento Bee. In 2013 was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the National Council on the Arts. Following Masumoto’s presentation, entitled “How A Peach Changed Everything,” he will sign copies of his books, which will be available for purchase at the event. This event is free and open to the public.

A third-generation farmer, Masumoto grows certified organic peaches, nectarines, grapes, and raisins on an 80-acre farm in the San Joaquin valley south of Fresno, California. He is the award-winning author of six books, including “Wisdom of the Last Farmer: Harvesting Legacies from the Land” (Free Press, 2009), “Letters to the Valley: A Harvest of Memories” (Heyday Books, 2004), “Four Seasons in Five Senses: Things Worth Savoring” (W.W. Norton & Co., 2003), “Harvest Son: Planting Roots in American Soil” (W. W. Norton & Co., 1998), and “Epitaph for a Peach: Four Seasons on My Family Farm” (Harper Collins, 1995). He, along with his wife, Marcy, and daughter, Nikiko, most recently published a family farm cookbook in June 2013 entitled “The Perfect Peach: Recipes and Stories from the Masumoto Family Farm” (Ten Speed Press).  

Masumoto brings a uniquely rich and multifaceted perspective to bear on American agrarianism. He uses his farm (as one reviewer put it) as Thoreau used Walden Pond. His writing is a mix of multigenerational memoir, social and environmental commentary, and an evocative celebration of the sensory pleasures of working the land and growing fresh fruit. Masumoto writes about immigration, the Japanese internment experience, contemporary rural life in California and Japan, and his experience both as a farm laborer and as a farm owner relying on immigrant labor.

Masumoto was a Kellogg Foundation Food and Society Policy Fellow from 2006-2008. His writing awards include the Commonwealth Club Silver medal, the Julia Child Cookbook award, the James Clavell Literacy Award,  and a finalist in the James Beard Foundation awards. Masumoto received the “Award of Distinction” from the University of California, Davis in 2003 and the California Central Valley “Excellence in Business” Award in 2007. He has served as chair of the California Council for the Humanities. He is currently a board member of the James Irvine Foundation and serves on the Statewide Leadership Council to the Public Policy Institute of California.

Masumoto will be in residence on the Carleton campus February 16 through 22, meeting with students and faculty in a variety of settings. Learn more about Masumoto at www.masumoto.com.

This event is sponsored by the Carleton College Department of Environmental Studies, with support from the C. Angus Wurtele Distinguished Visitor Fund. For more information, including disability accommodations, call (507) 222-5769. The Weitz Center for Creativity is located and Third and College Streets in Northfield.