Homegrown excellence a key feature of the success of Moom Talay and Toscana
Luca Marchetti, along with his Thai wife of 22 years, has just about reached a point which is certainly unique to Pattaya, and may well be unique to Thailand, in their restaurant business.
The Italian-born expatriate and his wife run the only large-scale organic farm in Pattaya. As the project has grown and matured over the last few years, it has resulted in propelling their respective restaurants, Toscana and Moom Talay, into a position where they are considered among the best, not just in Pattaya, but in the country.
Toscana and Moom Talay are located side-by-side on Beach Road, about 100 metres south of Soi 6/1, and alongside the Tropicana Hotel (where, it should be noted, guests for the two eateries can park for free: just obtain a ticket, which will be stamped by the cashier when you pay your bill).
Beach Road is a bustling thoroughfare almost 24 hours a day, seven days a week with Toscana and Moom Talay open from midday to midnight. Yet, the vast bulk of the produce which is carried through the doors of these two places comes from two almost pristine farms in the eastern reaches of Pattaya.
In this issue we will cover the first of these two farms. Sitting in the shadows of the noted Khao Din temple, between the Charknok and Mabrachan reservoirs, this farm is solely devoted to growing the vast quantity of vegetables required by Toscana and Moom Talay.
Covering an area of around 5,000 square metres, Luca and his wife purchased the property some years ago with a view to eventually building a home at the top of the block. With views out to Na-Jomtien, it would be a perfect place to relax from the hustle of central Pattaya.
While there is a house already on the property, it is currently the abode of the two full-time Thai staff employed to plant, water and generally cultivate the vast rows of spinach, onions, celery, mustard, parsley, rocket, beans and other vegetables which make it onto the plates and into the soups in Moom Talay and Toscana.
Luca Marchetti grew up on a farm in the mountains to the north of Tuscany, so the 52-year-old entrepreneur knows what it takes to run a rustic operation.
While the vegetable farm may look easy to handle, it’s not plain sailing, especially in the wet season, which can play havoc with vegetables. At the other end of the weather spectrum, the extreme heat usually experienced in April and May, is blunted somewhat by the water the farm is able to draw on from two wells, sunk 30 metres into the ground.
The vegetable patches are rotated on a regular basis and a brace of free-range chickens helps put added manure into the soil, to help with regeneration of precious minerals.
Luca refuses to use any chemicals on his produce, preferring nature and nurture to provide the necessary abundance to keep the restaurant tables stocked with what really are fresh vegetable produce.