Name: Donna Tamai
Farm: Tamai Farms
Location: 1701 Holly Avenue, Oxnard CA 93036
What they grow: Kale, swiss chard, green beans, carrots, bell peppers, squash, strawberries, beans, heirloom spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, arugula, cilantro, jalapeños, Anaheim chilis, dill, potatoes, beets, squash, and more (nearly 100 different varieties of fruits and vegetables).
Where to buy: Farmers’ Markets including Tuesday in downtown Santa Barbara, Thursday in Carpinteria, Saturday in downtown Santa Barbara, and Sunday in Goleta. Featured in the L.A. Times, Tamai Farms has also found great success at the Hollywood and Santa Monica markets, as well as numerous restaurants/catering companies throughout Southern California.
In season now: Their famous sweet white corn, heirloom tomatoes (popular beefsteak varietals), onions, hot peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, beets (red, candy, golden, white), cucumbers, squash, and fresh vine-ripened strawberries.
Their story: A fourth generation farming family, Tamai Farms was one of the original farmers’ market vendors, harvesting on 35 acres of land in Oxnard. more than 30 years ago, they began selling their produce in Santa Barbara County and have become a household name. Known for their novelty produce items, they have established deep connections with various regional restaurants.
“We know what the client wants and needs from their farmer — it’s all about quality and consistency,” said Tamai. “Therefore, it’s important to us that a family member always attends the markets.”
Selling directly to market goers, restaurants, and caterers, Tamai Farms has stayed committed to local rather than commercial production. Offering farm visits for chefs, Tamai Farms encourages chefs to reach out, incorporating seasonal produce into farm-to-table cuisine.
Working markets all over Southern California, Tamai has sincerely enjoyed the perks of the family business. “I love the farmers’ market, especially traveling to a different city each week,” said Tamai. “It’s really fun to interact with customers. I love not taking work home … our office is the market!”