A beloved local landmark at the Mukai Farm & Garden is the Fruit Barreling Plant, a 90-year-old building that made strawberries famous around the United States. But today the Barreling Plant is in need of repair. Friends of Mukai, in partnership with King County, learned that their application for $600,000 in restoration funding from the Washington State Historical Society, was rated 9th of the 37 applicants.
“The process we just went thru to apply for and then to be recommended to the state shows how much work we have done to save and restore Mukai Farm & Garden,” said Kay Longhi, Board President. “Heritage Capital Project” funding happens every two years and means we may receive additional funds to support the restoration. We will spend the next year doing a lot of public awareness and outreach on how the community envisions use of the Barreling Plant.”
The Mukai family built the plant in 1927 to process tons of strawberries for shipment
across the country. During the 1930’s, at the height of the Depression, the Mukai
family employed over 400 people a year to help with the harvest and the berry
processing. The Barreling Plant was the focus of the business’s remarkable success.
The Washington State Historical Society recommended full funding of the $600,000
Fruit Barreling Plant grant request (find the statewide list at
www.washingtonhistory.org/support/heritage/capitalprojectsfund). Governor Jay
Inslee then includes it in capital budget he sends to the legislature. When the capital
budget is passed, the funding will be available July 1, 2019.
Friends of Mukai will begin planning community conversations on the possible uses of the Barreling Plant. Community members will be invited to participate, and ideas and proposals will be solicited from businesses and organizations. Public spaces and the use of the large landing dock for gatherings will be part of the planning.
The Fruit Barreling Plant has been a vibrant component of the Mukai Farm & Garden. With the $600,000 in potential funding, restoration and community planning can begin.
Mukai Farm & Garden celebrates Vashon’s Japanese American and agricultural heritage. Today, the Mukai Farm & Garden reminds us of the influential contributions of the Mukai family and the Japanese American immigrant community on 20th century agriculture, business, and community life. Mukai shows how history lives and is relevant today. Find more at MukaiFarmandGarden.org.