Ken Suzuki was born in 1947 in Gamagori, Aichi Prefecture as the oldest brother of seven. After graduating from an agricultural high school, he passed a chick sexing test and moved to the US in 1974 to work as a chick sexer.
In his early years in the US, he was not able to find fresh and delicious Japanese vegetables. As a solution, he started growing vegetables by himself in a small garden as a hobby. This is how Suzuki Farm began.
Despite his lack of experience in farming, Ken taught himself farming methods and farm management through trial and error. He learned that Delaware’s climate was similar to the northern part of Japan, but winter in Delaware could be harsh. He took extra measures to protect the crops from the cold temperature. However, on one winter day, the vegetables were all wiped out when the temperature dropped below 14°F. One day in summer, some rabbits had a feast and ate an entire row of edamame. He learned farming was a continuous battle against nature, so his crops were always at risk.
Although he faced a challenging time when he was forced to move the farm, his pride and responsibility as the only Japanese vegetable producer in the East Coast kept him going. He now grows more than 30 varieties of Japanese vegetables throughout the year. His effort and passion toward Japanese vegetables have been widely recognized and featured in the media including The Washington Post. Delicate and juicy vegetables from Suzuki Farm are highly sought after by many Japanese restaurants and supermarkets across Washington D.C., New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia.
Ken is in his seventies now and continues to work long hours everyday year-round. On a regular day, he starts working at the farm at 7am and leaves for home late at night. He pays careful attention to each plant, trimming them one by one if needed. He strongly believes in growing vegetables naturally; he even makes his own pesticides from mint, garlic, vinegar, etc..
In the past years, Ken had been exploring ideas on how to deliver his vegetables to an even bigger audience as well as looking for a worthy successor for the farm. When he met Jun Yoneda from Food’s Style USA, Inc., a franchisee of Hokkaido Ramen Santouka restaurants, he was confident that the two had the same aspirations in the business. In 2021, Ken decided to transfer his agricultural business to Food’s Style USA, Inc. whose mission is to provide a platform for conveying Japan’s traditional gastro-culture to the world.
Japanese food has become very popular in America. Both men believe, utilizing the knowledge Food’s Style USA has built from operating restaurants as well as its own restaurants and assets, this transition will create great synergistic effects and can lead to the further expansion of Suzuki Farm.