William Fong Growths Results

"In this business, having your prized melon
stolen is a badge of honor"

Chinese Lady Makes Off with the Goods

(FPI) Sacramento, CA. "Farming is my life," proclaimed William Fong as he flipped the switch on his new irrigation system. "I'm sure I got it from my Cantonese ancestors." Show him a patch of dirt and he can tell you exactly what to grow on it and when. This month, he finished installing new redwood bins and a raised planter made of a new type of concrete brick all along his East property line.

For decades, Fong's farming techniques have made him king of the bumper crop. On the side, he enjoys raising orchids and tea plants, but his specialty lies in the edible cash crops. He grows enough Chinese string beans, bell peppers, fugua, dung gua, egg plant, cherries, plums, tomatoes, and garlic to feed fifteen hungry grandchildren. Recently Fong made this observation, "Not many people realize that the food they eat comes straight out of the ground. I asked my grandson where fish came from. He said īthe supermarket.' Sure, it's convenient to shop at Raley's, but there's something basic and satisfying about pulling your food supply out of the dirt."

Fong's sideline occupation is not without controversy. About fifteen years ago, he asked his son Ted to take a chain saw to the neighbor's fig tree which was blocking the sun. One branch lead to another. Before long Ted was on the other side of the fence dismembering the tree limb by limb. "We didn't totally kill off the tree," said the older Fong, "But we definitely set it back a decade." A few days later, Fong found himself in litigation with his upset neighbor. He settled for an undisclosed amount. Today, the fig tree is still there getting the last laugh.

Without question, Fong's garden has been the envy of his neighborhood. On one occasion he looked out his front window to see an old and frail Chinese lady admiring his crops. "That was a proud moment for me. I could tell that she admiring my ancient Chinese farming methods," says Fong. "But suddenly it all changed. She pulled out a pruning shear and snipped off my largest dung gua. Somehow this diminutive woman rolled the 30-pound melon into a plastic bag and flopped it onto her hand truck. Away she went with her prize." Fong was stunned but made no attempt to stop her. Later he rationalized, "In this business, having your prized melon stolen is a badge of honor."