Kassenhoff Growers takes
root at Oakland landmark
By Cheryl Angelina Koehler • Photos by Andrew Ellis
In May, when Kassenhoff Growers invited a group of devoted customers to a debut plant sale at their new West Oakland digs, owners Helen Krayenhoff and Peggy Kass weren’t quite prepared for the frenzy that would ensue over Krayenhoff’s newly minted tomato trading cards*.
“People started trading them right after they came through the gate,” Krayenhoff says, explaining how she gave each visitor two copies of the same card as a signal to start swapping. The surprise was that some people talked others out of their cards entirely in an effort to amass all eight “stars” of the tomato-lover’s garden.
But of course, the fans didn’t come to this sale for the cards: The actual stock in trade at Kassenhoff Growers is organic seedlings. After nearly two decades in the biz, Helen and her life partner Peggy Kass are now known fondly as the “tomato gals” or “tomato ladies” of the Grand Lake and Temescal farmers’ markets. They also have a loyal following for their full array of vegetable, flower, and herb seedlings, which get high marks for growing up to be healthy and productive members of many an East Bay home garden.… Read More