Bach Thi Phan Farm
Julie Phan and her family came to America at the end of 1979. They escaped the horror of Vietnam on a small boat bound for the United States – a terrifying trip. But Julie’s family’s trials only made them stronger. When they arrived in California, she didn’t know English and studied hard to be able to work. Julie’s mom came to Heart of the City Farmers’ Market to shop and soon got to know many of the farmers. The family had a mango and logan plantation back in Vietnam so the market felt like home. The farmers trusted her family and eventually hired them to help sell produce. Julie held a regular weekday job as an accountant for the Royal Viking cruise line but on the weekends, would come to be with her family and help the farmers sell. They were always worried because office jobs are not guaranteed and layoffs are always a possibility. So the family combined all their money and in 1989, bought land in Sacramento to start their own farm. They knew this would give them the security they longed for.
Julie’s parents worked at the market until they passed, and now Julie’s sisters Hoang and Hue help continue the family tradition. “It’s a lot of work but we have fun,” Julie says. Her work ethic is so renowned that many of her customers even bring her coffee and snacks to keep her going, and she is often teased and asked “Why don’t you go home already?” Julie laughs and explains that she IS home when she’s at the market. “We are blessed,” she explains. “I love what I do.”