In the restaurant culture of L.A., there are a good handful of famous farms whose names come up again and again. Thao Family Farm in California’s Fresno County is one of them. The Thao family grows over 300 different types of all-natural, pesticide-free produce that they supply to farmers markets and top restaurants throughout California, including pretty much all of our favorite eateries in L.A.: Rustic Canyon, P.Y.T, Gjelina, Republique, BotanicaSqirl, AOC, Animal, Jon and Vinnys, The Little Door, Felix, Night Market, Kismet…the list goes on.

Many of us who live in big cities fantasize about getting closer to the earth through that farm life, despite the enormous amount of day-to-day work it entails. We love talking with farmers about what they do to get a glimpse at that life and to achieve a closer sense of connection to our food. Follow along for a day in the life of farmer Kong Thao and watch for his top notch local produce next time you’re surrounding by small plates at Gjelina or Kismet!

My Daily Work Routine...

Depends on what day of the week it is and where I’m at. Two to three days of the week I’m in Los Angeles; the rest of the week I’m at the farm getting produce ready for the farmers markets and restaurants.

The Easiest Things I Grow Are...

Nothing is really easy. Everything we grow requires a lot of time and attention.

What are your top spring crops right now?

We’re currently growing ’sprouting’ broccoli, Taiwanese flat cabbage, Chinese Napa cabbage, ‘Thai’ rapini, ‘thai’ shallots, ‘green’ garlic.

And what comes next?

Six varieties of basil, sugar snap peas, fava beans, and green beans.

Top restaurants using your produce:

So many great restaurants here in Southern California. We sell directly to about 30- 40 restaurants, including: Rustic Canyon, P.Y.T, Gjelina, Republique , Botanica, Sqirl, Lucques, AOC, Animal, Jon and Vinnys, The Little Door, Felix, Night market, Majordomo, Broken Spanish, Kismet — need we say more?

The Hardest Part of My Day...

The long hours.

The Most Magical Part of My Day...

Getting home after a long weekend.

Lunch Is Usually...

I’m usually at the farm for lunchtime (Mom and Dad’s house), so Mom’s cooking for lunch most days. Usually something simple, using vegetables and meats from the farm.

A Day Never Goes By Without...

Having a conversation with Mom (usually about the farm).

Foods I Eat That I Don't Grow Are...

I’m a big food person, so there’s a lot I eat that we don’t grow.

Purchasing From A Farmers Market is Important Because...

You’re able to buy from the person who grew your food and get it as fresh as possible.

Shopping Tips...

Don’t come to the market with a shopping list. Buy what’s good and fresh when you get there. Produce changes from week to week, day to day… You want produce at its peak.

You Can Find Us...

Los Angeles farmer’s markets; downtown Santa Monica on Saturdays, Hollywood on Sundays and Torrance on Saturdays and Tuesdays.

I Feel Most Rewarded By...

A great meal at a great restaurant serving our produce.

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  1. Happy harvesting and happy feasting!

    thefolia | 04.01.2018 | Reply

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