A History of Farming and Family.
Today, Sakuma Brothers Farms in northwest Washington is well known throughout the industry and region as a committed leader in berry production, packing and processing.
It all began in 1907 when young Takeo Sakuma left Kyushu, Japan to go to America and moved to Bainbridge Island, Washington. There he got started farming and quickly became known for growing quality strawberries. Takeo and his wife Nobu began a family, a total of 10 children, where the first 8 were sons and last 2 daughters. Such was the humble beginnings of the Sakuma family farm.
Current Sakuma Family Members. L to R: Glenn Sakuma, Ryan Sakuma, Bryan Sakuma & Richard Sakuma
From Bainbridge to Burlington.
A Seattle processor suggested to Takeo that the fertile soil in Skagit Valley near Burlington, WA was an ideal place for growing strawberries. In 1935, after graduating from high school, the eldest son Atsusa moved to Burlington an began growing berries in Skagit Valley. One by one, Atsusa’s brothers moved to Skagit after high school to help with harvesting.
In 1941 the brothers farming in Burlington supported the family remaining on Bainbridge Island. Then Pearl Harbor was attacked in December. The Sakuma family was imprisoned at Manzanar in March. In June the brothers from Burlington were ordered to Tule Lake (northern California), five hundred miles from the rest of the family.
After the Attack on Pearl Harbor. Sakuma Family members pictured as they were forced to internment camps.
While family was treated as the enemy, three of eight Sakuma boys joined the famed 442nd Infantry Regiment. Three other sons served with the MIS. After the war, the Sakuma family returned to Bainbridge, but their property was lost, so they moved to Burlington. During the war, their farm was maintained and returned by the Oscar Mapes family—a never forgotten act of kindness.
Today the legacy continues with the 4th generation helping to lead the Sakuma family tradition.