Global Guide to Local Food: Le Kolo - Modern Farmer

Global Guide to Local Food: Le Kolo

Parisians in the culinary know speak of vegetable farmer Asafumi Yamashita in venerated tones.

The unadulterated flavors of his vegetables, including haricot verts with notes of almond and Japanese kabu turnip with hints of apple, have become as legendary as his refusal to sell them. Only seven lucky chefs, including perennial Michelin favorite Pierre Gagnaire and William Ledeuil of Ze Kitchen Galerie, have made his grade. “When I decide whether I want to sell to them I take into account their personality, their approach to cooking and their creativity,” says the former bonsai culturist.

Yamashita washes his white turnips.

Despite demand, Yamashita refuses to compromise the quality of his crop by expanding his small parcel of land in the suburbs of Paris. From May until October, eaters can visit Le Kolo, the minuscule restaurant Yamashita opens with his wife Naomi on weekends. Yamashita attributes his success to the seeds he brings over from Japan, minimal chemical intervention and the almost parental care he gives the crop. “When I hand over my vegetables to my clients,” he says, “I feel like I’m giving away my children’s hand in marriage.”

Read more from our Global Guide to Local.


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