The Clovis Way of Life: Yoshito Takahashi

Yoshito Takahashi, 1920-2008, was named “Citizen of the Year”  in 1977 and inducted to the Clovis Hall of Fame in 1979. (Photo courtesy of Takahashi family)

After passing away in 2008, the life and contributions of Yoshito Takahashi have had a lasting impact on the Clovis community.

Takahashi was a Clovis native born in 1920 and was largely known for his farm Takahashi Farms Inc., and more famously among the community for his fruit stand.

The Takahashi fruit stand, that was located at Millbrook and Cooper Avenues was so well known throughout the community and agriculture industry that it was featured in the Central Valley Magazine in July of 2014, where author Janice Stevens wrote about how at the start the fruit stand used to be a “simple structure” but soon gained popularity among the community.

“The business grew rapidly with customers eager to purchase the top quality fruits and vegetables at affordable prices,” Stevens wrote.

Stevens wrote that while working alongside his brother, the Takahashi’s would diversify their crop production on their farm after they expanded the acreage of their farm.

Using the crops grown on his farm, Takahashi worked in collaboration with wholesalers to pack and distribute their produce across the Central Valley but utilized a portion of his production to stock his fruit stand and sell to the community.

Takahashi’s legacy is still remembered today for his successful impact on agriculture and his community. Takahashi proved to be such a valued member of the Clovis community that in 1977, he was named “Citizen of the Year” and in 1979 was inducted him into the Clovis Hall of Fame.

In an article from the Clovis Independent chamber news, Takahashi was said to have exemplified the “Clovis way of life.” 

Throughout the article, Takahashi’s accomplishments such as his involvement in professional associations and clubs such as the Fresno County Farm Bureau and the Clovis Judo Club were highlighted.

In a letter from the Clovis Judo club, Takahashi is remembered for his dedication to the club, but also for his passion for farming.

“Despite his many achievements, Yosh remained humble throughout his lifetime. He lived his entire life on the family farm where he was born and raised,” the letter read.

Reflecting on Takahashi’s life of service and stewardship, Stevens also covered Takahashi’s early life during as a Japanese American and how much his life was impacted by executive order 9066, which ordered the subject those of Japanese descent and their families living in the United States to be imprisoned in internment camps. 

“Loyal friends kept a glimmer of that American Dream alive by their acts of kindness. Anna Johnson, whose husband had passed away in 1927, and friends Edwin and Capitola Harris maintained the Takahasi farm during their internment,” Stevens wrote.

Upon his passing the community remembered Takahashi for his contributions to the community. Most notably in “A tribute to the life of Yoshito Takahashi” written by Congressman, Jim Costa.

Costa wrote, “Upon returning home [from the internment camp] to Clovis, Yoshito and his brother Ted went into farming together. Takahashi Farms was born, becoming a recognized brand in the Fresno/ Clovis metropolitan area.” 

Throughout his time serving the Clovis community in a variety of roles, Takahashi shared in an article from the Clovis Independent that the one he was most proud of was his conferment of a decoration, the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold and Silver Rays from the Japanese government in 1999. An award reserved for Japanese citizens, but nonetheless was awarded to Takahashi for his contributions to the local Japanese American community that were deemed to be “significant” by the Japanese government.

Adam Ricardo Solis has written for The Collegian as a staff reporter covering a variety of topics and transferred from Fresno City College to Fresno State where he majored in agriculture business. He is excited to incorporate what he has learned about the agriculture industry in the Central Valley into future articles while also covering a variety of other community matters.