Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Sam Ogo Interview
Narrator: Sam Ogo
Interviewer: Megan Asaka
Location: Spokane, Washington
Date: April 25, 2006
Densho ID: denshovh-osam-01-0017

<Begin Segment 17>

MA: I wanted to talk a little bit about your farm. So you said that when the war broke out, you had plans to go to California for automotive school.

SO: Uh-huh.

MA: But you couldn't do that, that was closed to you.

SO: I couldn't, no, 'cause they were evacuating people.

MA: So then when you, is that when you decided to go into farming?

SO: No, I was farming already. I was still farming already, but I wanted (a) change, you know, into something (with a little more future.) (The teacher) told me I was, came out, came in first out of the class, the automotive class, and the teacher, I guess, (he) was really impressed with what I'd done. I overhauled a airplane engine, for one thing. I mean, yeah, first thing, said, "My goodness," he wrote out a... what do you call 'em? A recommendation (to the school, but) then the war broke out, that was it. So that just about killed my first ambition.

MA: Did you think about going back to automotive school after the war ended?

SO: No, after that, then I kept on farming, and then like I say, I took (a course in) electronics, and I (received) my diploma, and they gave me a list of places where I could apply for employment. And the best one I could find was (in) Texas, (but) who in the heck wants to go to Texas? So I didn't go.

MA: Did you run this farm yourself?

SO: Well, my folks helped me. We had the hotel and the farm at that time, see, so we (did) both.

MA: Were you living on the farm?

SO: No, I lived in town. I never lived on the farm. [Laughs] I just had the land, well, there was a house on there, but nobody lived there, I just used it for storage.

MA: How did you, did you have many employees on the farm, then? How did it work --

SO: No, it's just, I only had five acres, but you know, when you raise carrots and beets, five acres is quite a bit. I didn't have, well, my folks helped me, and I'd help 'em, we kind of switched around, you know. And let's see... I had, oh, sometimes I had a couple, couple helpers, I guess, I'd hire for the week or day or whatever time I needed 'em for. No one steady.

MA: And then you'd harvest the, the produce and then sell it?

SO: Yeah, I'd bring it to (the) wholesale, they used to call, the one called -- I don't know if they're in business now or not, but Pacific Fruit & Produce Company. I used to take all my produce down there.

MA: The area that you farmed in, were there also other Nisei farmers around?

SO: There was, let's see, myself and my cousin was there, that had a farm there, (Hitomis), and what is that other... there (were) four of us in my area, there was four of us. And then down in the, I call it the hold, it's down, you're right on top of the mountain, did you see that scenery down below?

MA: Uh-huh.

SO: (Many) of the Japanese farms were, down in, (the) Hangman Creek (area). That's where most of 'em were, down there. There was practically all Japanese farms down there. No longer, though, they're building, there aren't too many left. They're building condos and (single family units). That's where most of 'em were.

MA: What was the majority of, was it mostly produce?

SO: Produce, all produce. All produce. Yeah, anything from a radish on up, you name it, as long as it was green, we raised it.

MA: And were there also maybe like Caucasian farmers around as well, or was it just mainly...

SO: There, no, Caucasians didn't do that kind of farming, not around here, they were all big wheat farmers and things like that. They had thousands of acres, you know. Ours (were) just little dinky (farms) -- I guess the biggest one around would probably be, oh, if they had eighteen or twenty acres, I'd say that was an awful large farm, truck farm.

MA: So why did, why was there this separation between the, the Caucasian farmers who had so much?

SO: Well, most of the Caucasian farmers around here are grain, grain farmers, they raised wheat. And they don't like the type of farming that we (did). They like, they want to run those big combines, you know. So there weren't any Caucasian truck farmers around here that I know. They were all Japanese.


MA: Okay, well, we're back, and we've been talking about your farming business. And I wanted to ask you a little bit about truck farming. Why was it called that? Why was it called "truck farming"?

SO: I don't know. (Why), they called it "truck gardening," I don't know, that's what we hauled the produce with, I guess. I don't know the reason for it, but they all called it truck farming.

MA: And how long did you farm?

SO: I farmed for about nineteen or twenty years, before the state, not took, but purchased the land for the freeway construction. That's how I lost it.

MA: Oh, I see. So the state came and bought up all the land.

SO: Yeah, they bought all of us out there. And like I (said), you, I betcha you (drove) right over (what) used to be my land.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.