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Charlie Hong Kong Lunch Shows Appreciation for Farmworkers

September 7, 2021 – Just ahead of Labor Day Weekend, the folks at Charlie Hong Kong restaurant in Santa Cruz showed their appreciation for the hard-working people who grow and pick our food with a lunch served in the kale and chard fields at Lakeside Organic Gardens just outside Watsonville.

“Farmers are my heroes and we want you to know what we make with the food that you harvest,” said Carolyn Rudolph, co-founder of the restaurant with her husband Rudy.

Lakeside is one of the main suppliers for the restaurant, which goes through up to a ton of organic chard each month, preparing its Santa Cruz street food menu of healthy, plant-based dishes. Feeding the farmworkers has become an annual tradition for the restaurant owners, but one they had to forgo last year due to the pandemic, so it was especially sweet this time.

“Eating healthy is everyone’s birthright,” Rudolph told the crew of about 20, which took a break from cutting and boxing kale to enjoy the hot food.

CHK and Lakeside have been business partners for more than 20 years, so Lakeside founder Dick Peixoto and manager Brian Peixoto were on hand to eat lunch in the fields too, sampling some spicy Dan noodles with peanut sauce, gado gado and Charlie’s chow mein on a cool and foggy day.

“Feeding people is my spiritual practice,” said Rudolph. Speaking through an interpreter, she urged the workers to cherish the rich Watsonville farmland which grows healthy vegetables for people around the country and provides their livelihood.

“Like everything that is sacred, it needs to be protected and treated with the utmost respect,” she added.

What could be better than the gift of food to show love and appreciation?

Brian Peixoto, Carolyn and Rudy Rudolph, and Dick Peixoto

About the author

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Deborah Luhrman is publisher and editor of Edible Monterey Bay. A lifelong journalist, she has reported from around the globe, but now prefers covering our flourishing local food scene and growing her own vegetables in the Santa Cruz Mountains.