One of the women behind K & J Orchards — the growers known for having their persimmons, Asian pears, and stone fruit featured in top Bay Area restaurants — is opening a restaurant of her own. From the moment it opens its doors, Pomet in Oakland will have instant farm-to-table cred. “It’s an added-value product I guess,” says budding restaurateur Aomboon “Boonie” Deasy, who runs K&J Orchards with her family.
Deasy helps run the farm along with her mother; her sister, Onanong; and her husband Tim Deasy, plus a crew of full-time and seasonal workers. They also operate a popular stand at the CUESA Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and other farmers markets across the region. The new restaurant is her solo project. She told Eater SF on Wednesday that it’s too early to share menu or chef details, but that fresh seasonal produce from the family’s 104-acre farms in Winters and Yuba City will be stars of the menu. “We’re really known for our Asian pears,” says Deasy.
Pomet will take over the Piedmont Avenue space once occupied by Homestead. Cooks and other staff were spotted in the restaurant this week, dusting and getting organized. Deasy says they hope to open in late February, but the debut depends on completing the city and county permitting and inspection process.
The restaurant name finds its origins in the Latin word pometum, which means a fruit tree grove. Pomet (pronounced POM-et) is the Romanian word for orchard; it’s a tribute to her mother Kalayada Ammatya and father James Beutel who started K & J Orchards in 1982. Beutel, who died in 2016, was a noted fruit researcher, lecturer, and Cooperative Extension agent with University of California, Davis for 35 years. He was also the pioneering pomologist who introduced fragrant Asian pears and kiwifruit to California and worked on making the pear and peach tree varieties in California more hardy, according to the UC Davis website.
The farm’s Instagram feed is a cornucopia of creative dishes a who’s who of top local chefs have created with K&J Orchards produce. The French Laundry and the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group outlets have featured their fruit for 25 years. This past year, Saison hung hachiya persimmons hoshigaki style, Fiorella paired their pears in a salad with Pecorino and kohlrabi, Chef Fico roasted their chestnuts with maple, while chef Eric Szeto of Shades of Sugar bake shop tucked jujubes into French macarons.
Deasy’s personal favorite is citrus, so she says diners can look forward to enjoying dishes showcasing their produce which runs from early spring cherries, summer peaches, to fall figs, and winter Satsuma mandarins. “I’m excited,” Deasy says.