The Toms: Quong, Anne, and Welling
The farm was originally a nut tree orchard. The Toms sold almonds and walnuts to local bakeries (for 25 cents a pound!) Gradually the orchard gave way to a widening variety of produce. The farm eventually became profitable when they started selling at a number of farmers markets. Their son Welling finished college and returned home in the mid-1990s to help with the farm.
Chef Canales says, “Brookside Farm is all heart. There is not one thing they grow that is not in every way perfect. This is a super curated farm. They don’t have a lot of any one thing, but everything is exceptional.”
The Toms want to provide their customers with the kind of food they would want to eat. They do not use any herbicides or pesticides. They live where they farm.
“I try to understand what each crop or organism requires. It is the same for the farmland. It has a life of its own. I try to respect that.”
Brookside Farm is not geared toward mass production. They try to honor quality over quantity. The Toms do almost all of the work on the farm themselves. They do not employ any workers full time. The Toms are Chinese, but they mainly grow European crops and sell to western-style restaurants; they see the farm as a convergence of cultures.
Length of relationship with Oliveto
10 acres in Brentwood, CA
Tomatoes – Early Girl, heirlooms, Momotaro, San Marzano, Japanese cucumbers, Porcelain garlic, Rocambole garlic, Asian pears, Fuyu persimmons.
Secondary crops: basil, sweet peppers, eggplant, okra, Italian parsley, pluots, white and yellow nectarines, Fuji apples, French prunes, Ambrosia melons, white peaches, Romano beans. Seasonal crops: beets, arugula, Asian greens, garlic scapes, green garlic, Bloomdale spinach, sugar snap peas, fava beans, chard, lettuce
Select Bay Area restaurants
Montclair – Sundays