At the end of the harvest season, I was invited to a very special community potluck hosted by my friend, Scott Chang-Fleeman, the brains and hands behind Shao Shan Farm in Bolinas, California. Shao Shan Farm is a 5.5-acre Asian heritage farm that grows organic Asian vegetables for the local Bay Area farmer’s markets, grocery stores in West Marin, and restaurants like Brandon Jew’s Mister Jiu in San Francisco. Scott grows amazing varieties from Yuxi Jiang Bing Gua pumpkins to Korean radishes and Sichuan peppers and has put together an incredibly intentional collection of vegetables that honors Asian food cultures.
As a Chinese American, I assumed all Asian produce had to be imported and accepted that the fruits and vegetables from overseas were simply not offered at my local farmer’s markets. Thanks to SSFarm, I now have access to local organic produce that is often exotified.
Before heading to the potluck, Scott and I picked cucumbers from his greenhouse and cut them into a recipe that was passed down from my grandfather - a simple, yet flavorful cucumber salad. Gathering over a communal meal is a great way to create and grow relationships, and learn from one another. It was amazing to experience food as a medium for so much connection. Talking to community members who work towards protecting our environment reinforced my ambition of being a part of a greater mission focused on the stewardship of our planet.
Scott started this farm-to-table monthly gathering for the Asians of West Marin to come together as a community, celebrate culture, and enjoy locally grown Asian food. After hosting the first dinner at SSFarm, others have joined the community potluck. Now new beautiful sites are offering to host these gatherings, like the one I attended this October at Slide Ranch.
Thank you to Scott at Shao Shan Farm for taking the lead in bringing people together around the table. Thank you to Theresa and Gabe at Slide Ranch for hosting the potluck at their beautiful homestead. It was truly a pleasure to be part of and we hope to gather around food again soon.