Gardeners For Hire: Los Angeles
Hayground Organic Gardening
When Jimmy Williams of L.A.’s Hayground Organic Gardening started his business 12 years ago, he lugged his tools on the bus, alone. Now, the 55-year-old has a pickup truck and a staff of eight—including his son, Logan, 22—and runs plant stalls at the Hollywood and Santa Monica farmers’ markets. This spring, for the first time, he is also creating gardens for restaurants, such as Lou’s Wine Bar. Williams is known for growing rare and exotic plants: He offers more than 1,000 varieties, including 15-foot-high collard-green trees and thorn chayote, which tastes like an artichoke heart. His superjuicy Goose Creek tomato is a family heirloom: “The seeds were passed down from my great-great-grandmother, who smuggled them when she was brought as a slave from West Africa to Goose Creek, South Carolina,” Williams says. 323-216-0379.
Chayote: Spicy Chayote Slaw With Lime and Cilantro
Peel, halve and pit a chayote and cut it into 2-inch matchsticks. In a bowl, cover thinly sliced red onion with fresh lime juice and let stand 10 minutes. Whisk in olive oil. Add the chayote matchsticks and a minced seeded jalapeño, season with salt and pepper and toss. Just before serving, add finely chopped cilantro and toss. Serve with grilled fish. —Kristin Donnelly