Koy Saichow grew up in a subsistence farming community in Thailand, where each season relatives, friends and neighbors would come together to harvest in their family’s vegetable and rice fields. When the Saichow family immigrated to the Bay Area in 1989, they brought along their values of self-sufficiency and generosity and continued to grow Southeast Asian vegetables in their backyard for themselves and their neighbors.
This powerful connection between food and community led her parents San and Muang back into farming, and in 2011, with Koy’s help, they opened Stony Point Strawberry Farm: a 10-acre organic farm located in beautiful sun-soaked Petaluma, specializing in, you guessed it, berries. Koy manages the business side of the farm while San and Muang focus their efforts on their passion: growing some of the best strawberries in Sonoma County.
For Koy, San, and Muang, organic practices align with the way they grew up producing food in Thailand: using techniques rooted in tradition and generations of knowledge passed down through their families.
While they were naturally drawn to organic farming here in California, the certification process can often present challenges to small producers like the Saichows and other farmers that Kitchen Table Advisors serves. They operated without organic certification for their first several years, a reality that weighed on them mentally and financially: through the inability to assure their customers they were truly farming with integrity; and because they were unable to price their products to reflect both the organic market and the true amount of love and care that goes into each berry.
“Every year I looked at the organic certification paperwork and got discouraged. There were so many questions that I didn’t understand. Kitchen Table Advisors worked with me until we were able to figure it out,” says Koy.
Stony Point joined Kitchen Table Advisors in January 2018, and the first order of business was to complete the organic certification process together. As newly certified producers, they were not only able to give customers peace of mind that they were, in fact, growing organically, but also reach new market channels and meet the ever-growing demand for organic local products. Kitchen Table Advisors’ business advising program has also helped the Saichows build financial tracking systems and renew their lease so they can continue to grow their berries on 10 acres of beautiful Petaluma farmland.
“I feel like I have someone behind me, helping me just in case I fall. Kitchen Table Advisors is there to lift me up.”