MPC, Del Monte and Aptos
Strawberries and blueberries.
Paul and Kim Tao
156 Amaral Road
Castroville, CA 95012
Established in 1994, P & K Farms is a family-run farm that grows its berries in two locations in Castroville on approximately 25 acres, with a third of the land dedicated for production and the remaining land rotated with cover crops to ensure soil fertility.
Paul represents the third generation of the Tao family to farm in the Monterey Bay area. His grandfather Keitaro farmed vegetables and lettuce beginning in the early 1920s in Watsonville and then later on in Berryessa until WWII. Paul’s late father Akira began farming strawberries and some vegetables in the early 1930s in Watsonville. The Taos are continuing the farming tradition with Paul managing the farm while Kim and their three children help at the farmers markets. P & K Farms strives to provide high quality and flavorful berries to their customers.
P & K Farms harvests its strawberries as early as February up until as late as December. Its season for blueberries, which were first planted in 2006, typically begins at a slow pace in January and then wraps up in early September.
After a decade of farming conventionally, P & K Farms produced its first organic crop in 2005 and are certified by California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), which annually inspects the farm to ensure that strict organic regulations and integrity are maintained. In the middle of 2013, P & K Farms transitioned to growing exclusively organic.
Paul Tao is picky about perfect strawberries. Here are his suggestions —
How to store them: “Take a sealable container and line it with a paper towel. Put the unwashed berries in, seal it up and put in the refrigerator. The paper towel keeps the condensation off of the fruit.”
How to freeze them: “Wash them first and take the calyx off — that’s the cap. Dry them off and place them on a cookie sheet. Put it in the freezer until they’re hard — maybe a couple of hours. Then put them into a ziploc freezer bag. They will not stick together.”