The King Of Basil In Ewa Beach
Frank, Alice and Tim Law export their Fat Law Farm
Frank,Alice and Tim Law hope to expand on their 140 acres of vegetable crops in a couple of years. Their company, Fat Law’s Farm (FAT stands for Frank,Alice and Tim), grows basil, malongai, cucumbers, long beans, bitter melon and taro leaves on their Ewa Beach farm.
“We got the nickname King of Basil because our customers visited us and saw our basil was the best, and the quality is good, and it’s big,” says Frank, the vice president of operations and sales. “We try to control our basil market. If we are under control, we are still thinking of raising up production.”
Brother Tim spearheads the company as president, overseeing 13 full-time employees and several seasonal workers. Tim’s wife, Alice, serves as the chief financial officer and takes care of the paperwork to help export the produce. About 35 percent of their goods go to Vancouver, British Columbia, and Toronto; another 40 percent is shipped to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Jose, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Miami, Boston, Cleveland, Washington, D.C., and New York City.
Fat Law’s Farm won the state small business exporter of the year award from the Small Business Association for 2006.
These Laotion farmers also have a patch of taro stems and curry leaves in Kahuku. Frank notes that customers are also asking for asparagus.
Tim started farming more than 20 years ago when he needed a job that he could do with his limited English. At first he farmed for other people, but soon farmed for himself, and he eventually brought on his brother and wife for full-time work. Fat Law’s Farm incorporated in 2002.
Since starting their business, they’ve also made the time to teach other immigrant farmers how to succeed.
“We help a lot of small farmers with information,” Frank explains. “They know us, and they are happy to see our success.”
Fat Law’s Farm hosts an annual Thai New Year’s party where farmers come to wash out all the bad spirits by pouring ice water on the top of their heads.
Tim also helps the community by serving as an officer with the Hawaii Teo Chew Chamber of Commerce, and the Association of Chinese-Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
Their sons help out with the family business, although they all are pursuing other career options. Frank’s son Eric is studying civil engineering at Arizona State University, while Tim and Alice’s son Alvin studies psychology in Indiana, and son William studies mechanical engineering at the University of Hawaii.
“Farming isn’t easy to make money at,” admits Frank. “You have to be more experienced. You have to be lucky, and your land has to be good.”
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