Okui Strawberry And Fruit Stand, the only one left in town, overcomes rain delays for latest opening ever
By San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau
SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY — A line of cars off Highland Way in Grover Beach signaled the opening of Okui Strawberry and Fruit Stand last Thursday. Farmer and longtime Farm Bureau member Charles Okui says they typically begin harvesting strawberries in January, but this year’s wet weather delayed picking until April.
This crop of Albion variety strawberries was planted at the end of October and could continue bearing fruit until the fall. Okui says besides the loss of sales from delayed harvest, the increasing cost of labor (now around $18.50 an hour) will make 2023 especially challenging. “This year, we’re just hoping to break even,” he said.
Okui’s grandfather Charlie Sakamoto started growing berries on the five-acre farm next to the stand in 1948. Charles and his sister Joan Okui are the third generation of Japanese-American farmers to manage the farm. San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau helped facilitate a visit of Okui Farms on Thursday for Grover Beach city leaders.
Okui Farms is the only commercial agricultural production remaining within the city limits of Grover Beach.
“This farm is a fixture of our community,” City Manager Matt Bronson said. “We’re proud it’s here.”
Okui says the strawberries they sell at the farm stand are sweeter than those you typically find at the grocery store because they don’t have to be shipped, allowing them to be left on the vine for a few extra days. Okui Strawberry and Fruit Stand is now open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at 1234 Highland Drive in Grover Beach.