Controversy over Takahashi Farms Fruit Stand

Fresno, CA, USA The Takahashi family name is well-known in these parts for their produce. But despite a public outpouring of support the family's small fruit and vegetable stand may have to close.

The sweet smell hits you before you can scan the produce. This stand operated by Takahashi Farms has developed a very loyal following over the last four years. Shoppers go into the packed stand and walk off with bags and boxes full of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Dana Walker: "Well I come here twice a week. I never buy my produce at the grocery store I'm sorry. Maybe they have a problem with that but I like my fruit perfectly ripe."

Someone did have a problem though and complained to Fresno County in July. Stand owner Irene Takahashi isn't sure who it was.

"Maybe a competitor doesn't want you here? A big store? You never know, you never suspect sometimes."

"I'd rather take the high road."

Bob Waterston, Fresno County Supervisor: "It may not even be someone in the area. Maybe somebody that thinks hey I'm paying all this money to sell my produce and this is happening here."

Supervisor Waterston says these kinds of produce stands can only sell what is grown on the property.

Bob Waterston: "This stand isn't like that. They're bringing in produce from other places and selling everybody's produce as well as maybe whatever else they have. That's where the rub is at. It's not zoned for that plus you have to get licenses for that."

It's quite a blow to the Takahashi family, which has been in the valley Ag business since the early 1900-s.

Irene Takahashi: "We moved out of Millbrook and Copper. We were there about fifty years but development came and an old Clovis family friend had this little slot here and they let us come here."

A sign has been posted thanking customers for their support. Takahashi thought they'd have to close last month but it hasn't happened yet. Many have signed petitions to save the stand.

Bob Waterston: "The sad part about all this is we have these people signing petitions and complaining to us about it and the people signing the petitions don't even know what the rules are."

Irene Takahashi says the family's just trying to make a living the only way they know how.

Bob Waterston: "These people aren't bothering anybody but again somebody has complained."

You'll actually find a lot of fruit stands around the valley, which don't sell produce grown on the property.

The county doesn't actively inspect these stands. Waterston says the difference in this case was that someone complained about Takahashi's stand.


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