By Mary Rabourn
Mukai Farm & Gardens
The Vashon Strawberry Festival is back this summer on July 16 to 19, with music, kid’s games, festival food and seeing friends old and new. The festival will be pared back this year, but islanders can still enjoy all the fun it brings. And Mukai Farm and Garden will host a number of events on Saturday, July 17 to celebrate this amazing return to a healthy island.
Mukai Farm & Garden has a special place in the Vashon Strawberry Festival. What says Strawberry Festival like the history of the strawberry on Vashon? The Friends of Mukai will feature the esteemed fruit on a Strawberry Festival Parade float featuring a distinguished and distinguishable antique red truck (make and year to be your best guess).
Mukai is also running a mayoral candidate (New York City could get tips from Vashon); their own Ms. Marshall Strawberry for which the Mukai Farm was renown, lauded by James Beard as the best of all strawberries. The Marshall has been listed on Slow Foods’ “Most Endangered Foods.”
The Marshall strawberry, thanks to B.D. Mukai’s ingenuity, became the strawberry eaten around the United States before WWII. And it all started on Vashon Island. A vote early and often for Ms. Marshall Strawberry will put possibly the first berry (or vegetation) to ever to run as the island’s next Mayor. Visit Mukai Farm & Garden, at 18017 107th Ave SW, to find out more strawberry secrets.
Ms. Marshall Strawberry, as embodied by islander Kay Longhi, will be collecting votes in her basket from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the Saturday Market on Saturday, July 10 and other places around town. No cash? No problem. There will be a QR code for easy, online voting. Go to MukaiFarmandGarden.org for more information, and to support improvements and events.
Mukai Farm & Garden is hosting events from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, July 17 — including strawberry shortcakes all day long made by the Vashon Rotary members, children’s activities, tours of the historic Mukai home and garden, and photo opportunities with Ms. Marshall Strawberry.
The farm offers a beautiful setting for picnic lunches (bring your own, and clean up after yourself) and Saturday, from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., islanders can join in music and dancing with the Maggie Laird Trio, playing swing and 1950s music.
“This will be a great day and a great way to learn more about this important island farm and homestead,” said Mukai’s Executive Director Tina Shattuck. “This is such a cool place, and it’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Come and find out about Vashon’s pre-WWII Japanese American community, the island strawberry farmers — and we hope to raise funds to support more great community events, for maintenance, but especially to get started on our restoration of the Fruit Barreling Plant — the next big community place.”