- The Plate
Planting Vegetables in California, a Woman Finds Her Korean Roots
For a Korean girl adopted by an American family at five-months old, the love affair with food started with the perilla leaf.
Better known to some as the sesame or shiso leaf, Kristyn Leach found the prickly green and purple leaf in a Korean seed book and fell hard. And she credits the experience with inspiring her to launch Namu, a California farm specializing in Asian vegetables.
For those who have eaten it, perilla is unmistakable. It tastes like something between mint and spinach, and you either love it or loathe it. Koreans will usually pickle it or wrap meat in it for Korean barbeque. Leach likened perilla, the first plants she grew, to something like an awakening, or a reincarnation. “The plant remembered me