Umi Nami Farm
Posted on Wednesday, 16 February 2022 under Stories
Umi Nami Farm is a 10-acre farm (3 acres in production) located in Victoria, specializing in year-round organic fruit and vegetable production. They use unheated greenhouses and fields to grow Japanese specialty crops and Western vegetables. Back in 1996 when the farm was started, they came up with the name Umi Nami after the founders’ last names Yoshiko Unno and Tom Suganami; “Umi Nami” consists of the first Chinese character of “Unno” and the second Chinese character from “Suganami.” “Umi” means “Ocean,” and “Nami” means “Wave” in Japanese. Umi Nami Farm is now run by Yoshiko Unno and Heather Ramsay, along with Madoka Yasumura and several other farmhands.
For twelve years, Heather has been farming at Umi Nami Farm. They grow daikon, Japanese turnips, greens like komatsuna, mizuna, wasabina, bok choy, kakina, takana, and many more. Ramsay’s favourite crop to grow is cucumbers. She says, “We spend a lot of time with them, we pick our cucumbers every day to make sure that we get them at the right stage.”
Photo by Umi Nami Farm
They sell their produce to the community through their CSA program, restaurants, and local farmer’s markets. The relationships with local businesses are very important but providing produce to the families in their community is their main focus. Ramsay says, “Those relationships are our core philosophy, everyday food eating at home.” Umi Nami Farm loves creating a community around their produce. In the beginning, the customer base was solidly Japanese. They have had the opportunity to teach their non-Japanese customer base a lot over the years about the vegetables they grow, how to prepare them, and their histories. At Umi Nami Farm, they like to have the opportunity to educate their customers and strengthen Japanese culture in Victoria. Ramsay says, “We want to be a hub for Japanese food and culture that’s not available in your regular supermarket. We’re proud to be able to do that and the more people support farms like ours, the more we can be that.”
Photo by Umi Nami Farm
The most important thing for farmers is support. Ramsay says, “We couldn’t do it without people choosing to show up for us.” Farmers across BC work hard to produce quality food for eaters and can continue to do so with the support of communities. “Umi Nami Farm akes pride in being able to provide people with a product that is hands-down better than anything they get in the supermarket,” says Ramsay.