Asian vegetables are somewhat hard to come by at local farmer markets.
The demand is there and in recent years, we've seen a handful of farmers who specialize in Asian produce make their rounds down to Southern California. In fact, last year, a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program dedicated to Asian veggies launched in Los Angeles and the Orange County.
There's an abundance of variety at each of these farms. Selections range from chrysanthemum greens, bok choy, sher li hon, kohlrabi, mizuna, sweet yam, raining emperor heading mustard (yes, this is a vegetable), bamboo mustard leaf, ginger, and a ridiculously large selection of mustard greens perfect for pickling. While they're not certified organic, many of them are pesticide and chemical free.
Here, we've rounded up a list of farms and markets to get your weekly fix:
Beyond Bok Choy Farms
Beyond Bok Choy Farm is located in Fresno but owner Cha Her, a Hmong farmer, makes a weekly trip down to the Southland. The farm comes from simple beginnings; the entire operation started in Her's backyard. Demand rose, Her bought a larger piece of land, and it was officially turned into a business in 2000. Beyond Bok Choy Farm is a regular at the Harbor Area Farmers' Market. Long Beach Downtown Market, 475 The Promenade N, Long Beach, CA 90802. Fridays 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Cha Her (no relation to the Cha Her above) is another Hmong farmer based in central California. Born in the Laos, he immigrated to the States in 1979. He owns Her Farms, a 10-acre plot in Fresno free of pesticides and chemicals. You can find him in Marin County of Thursdays, Santa Barbara on Saturdays, and Montrose on Sundays. Santa Barbara Farmers' Market, Santa Barbara St and Cota St, Santa Barbara, CA 93120; Sunday 8:30 a.m. -1 p.m.
Brother Farm is the newest addition to the Downtown Santa Ana Farmers' Market. They specialize in gai lan, a Chinese version of broccoli most commonly paired with oyster sauce, daikon, and green onions. Spinach, herbs, and tomatoes are also readily available. Santa Ana Farmers' Market. Spurgeon Promenade, N Spurgeon St & E 3rd St.Thursday 2:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Greenshower Organic Farm
Located in suburbia in the heart of Rowland Heights, Greenshower Farm is a humble two-acre plot with no more than a dozen people on staff. Marca Guo, a former bonsai nursery owner, had a vision of creating his own farm and started the pesticide-free company in 2008. "We wanted to target families in the area," Lisa Tai, the publicity manager of the farm said. They open their farm to the public during the weekends and in addition to freshly harvested produce, they also sell seedlings. They are in the process of getting certified as organic. Greenshower Organic Farm. 2040 Desire Ave., Rowland Heights, CA 91748. Saturday 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Mai Yang Farm
Based out of Sanger, Mai Yang is known for her sunchoke harvest and a selection of purple yams, bok chou, yu choy, and nappa cabbage. The Hmong family farm can be found at the Silver Lake Market or at the Melrose Place and Hollywood markets. Silver Lake Market, 3700 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90189. Tuesday 2:00 pm - 7:30 pm,
Saturday 8:00 am - 1:00 pm.
If you live in Historic Filipino town, the San Gabriel Valley, or Orange County, consider Roots CSA. They're a non-profit dedicated to bringing organic produce to food deserts with a large Asian population. They provide the community with a curated selection of Asian produce from local farms. The price is $60 per season (three months) and pick-ups occur every other week. They source from Greenshower Organic Farm, Beyond Bok Choy Farms, and Her Farms.