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Andy Matsui, potted orchid pioneer and Salinas Valley philanthropist, dies at 85. | News

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Andy Matsui, a Salinas Valley farmer whose funding in potted orchids within the Nineteen Nineties blossomed right into a nationwide phenomenon and earned him sufficient cash to develop into one of the crucial vital benefactors of public increased training in California, died on Dec. 11 in Carmel. He was 85. 

Born Toshikiyo Matsui to a farm household within the rural Nara Prefecture in Japan in 1935, he first set foot in Monterey County in 1961 as a part of a one-year coaching program with the Farm Bureau. He and his spouse, Mary, determined to return in 1964, settling right here completely. Beginning as laborers, they labored their method up and shortly established their very own greenhouse flower-growing operation. 

For the primary few a long time they primarily bought chrysanthemums and roses however heavy competitors compelled them to innovate the flower nursery enterprise within the Nineteen Nineties. They guess on potted orchids and managed to strike offers to provide Dealer Joe’s and different massive grocery store chains. 

The extravagant and intricately formed flowers proved wildly well-liked as a dwelling ornamental presents that didn’t wilt quickly after buy like reduce flowers. The Matsui Nursery grew to make use of 200 staff and its greenhouses got here to occupy about 2.4 million sq. toes. 

Within the 2000s, the Matsui household ramped up their philanthropic giving with a particular give attention to offering academic alternatives to the least privileged in Monterey County. They’ve given about $8 million in school scholarships to highschool college students within the Salinas space since 2004. The most important reward but got here in 2017, when the Matsuis donated 215 acres of farmland on the outskirts of Salinas to Hartnell School. The land was valued at greater than $20 million, making it the most important donation ever to a neighborhood school in California. 

“Andy Matsui was a pioneer in agriculture and training in his personal proper and laid down the inspiration for others to attain their desires,” Hartnell board president Aurelio Salazar Jr. mentioned in a press launch. 

Matsui is survived by his spouse of 62 years, their 4 youngsters and 4 grandchildren. 

A public occasion to have fun Matsui life might be held when the specter of the pandemic subsides, in keeping with an obituary printed by the household.

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