Saturday, June 12, 2010
San Tong Farms Asparagus and Builds a Dream
Auntie Soo-Yin writes of San Tong : "Father worked on the Van Nuys Ranch until the sun rolled down, then he drove at 3 am to the Produce Exchange-on L.A.s San Pedro Street -in order to market fresh asparagus, each bunch packed in crates stamped with our logo of "Universal No. 1"
San Tong was an inventive guy and he was always looking for ways to improve farming efficiency. One of his early inventions was what Soo -Yin called the iron grasshopper . It was a special John Deere tractor to help with harvesting asparagus crafted from parts rusting on the ranch after he had read issues of Field Mechanic.
From the newspaper article dated 3/31/1944 that accompanies the picture above , here is the copy detailing the asparagus farm holdings in the valley at the time . San Tong has the largest farm at 300 acres. His neighbor Sam Chung ( also known as Sam Chang) has 85 acres. Sam Chang's family story is well chronicled in Professor Haiming Liu's book , The Transnational History of a Chinese Family .
Here is some information about the use of Mexican nationals during the war years.