1946 to Present | Return and Change
After WWII ended, the Mukai family returned to Vashon, They continued to grow strawberries and operate the barreling plant. During the 1950’s, Masa opened two more processing plants, one in Ferndale, Washington, the other in Forest Grove, Oregon. But the economics of the strawberry business had changed significantly after WWII. In 1969 Masa sold the packing business and shifted his energy towards operating a septic and contracting business until he retired in 1979.
Kuni passed away in 1957. B.D. lived until the age of 87 and died in Japan in 1972. Chiyeko lived until 1994, and Masa until 1999. Their son Milton Mukai, who retired from Seattle City Light, lived in Seattle until his death in 2020.
Through the 1970s-1990s, the property passed through several ownerships. In 1993, the house, garden and barreling plant, along with about five acres remaining of the original sixty, were designated a King County Landmark (*view Mukai Landmark Registration Form here). In 1994, the entire site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 2000, the Mukai House & Garden parcel was purchased with public money by Island Landmarks, a local non-profit organization. The Friends of Mukai in 2016 gained control of the property after the home fell into further decline, and launched a major revitalization effort. In 2020, the Friends of Mukai largely completed restoration of the house and garden.
King County has purchased the adjacent fruit barreling plant, designating the Friends of Mukai as a long-term lessee. Steps are underway to restore this facility so that all components – the house, Japanese garden, and fruit barreling plant – can be managed for the benefit of the public.
Today, Mukai Farm & Garden is a vibrant gathering place that tells the story of Vashon’s rich Japanese American and agricultural heritage.