Thursday, August 11, 2011

Farmville for Real

Going organic is the "in" thing in the Philippines nowadays with the relatively new interest on wellness. The opportunity came for me to visit a real organic farm and I didn't think twice about going, working in the food industry has made me interested in farming and agriculture and being aware of where the food that we prepare comes from (from farm to table). We drove for about 4 hours (EDSA was really heavy with traffic at 9 in the morning) and arrived tired and hungry at the Costales Nature Farms , located in Majayjay, Laguna. I didn't mind the drive because the view going there was amazing with all the lush green vegetation that dotted the roads especially when it was already near the farm.

We were met by Ronald and Josie Costales who are the owners/farmers. I noticed how the place didn't smell like a farm (sort of animal poop) at all even with the pigs, chickens, ducks, goats and rabbits they had on the property. Ronald explained that this was because of the EM (effective microorganisms) which they use to inoculate their soil, clean the animal enclosures and also mixed in with the food that the animals they are raising are fed. They also use Vermiculture which is defined as management of worms, or raising them for waste reduction and fertilizer production.

A view of the farm from the lettuce beds, on the upper left side are the greenhouses for the young seedlings and some of the more delicate produce. On the lower left side are some of the lettuce beds, and in the middle are the basil plants.

Everywhere I looked it was green and productive, they started out with 1000 square meters and is now about 6 hectares! They also supply salad greens to Italianni's, TGI Fridays and Cibo aside from their stall in Mercato Centrale, a weekend organic market in Makati.

So what else is in the farm? I will let these pictures do the talking (some of it anyway)...but let's just say, it was an eye-opener for me listening and walking through this integrated natural farm.

Free-range, organic chicken that were not intimidated easily, we even caught one without much effort. The owner said one drawback to them is that they were easy to steal because they don't shy away from people.

I usually don't eat Tinolang Manok because I find it too oily which comes from the fat of the chicken which floats to the surface of the soup, but this Tinola was really delicious and not oily at all.

These duckies who were running away from me in formation (I noticed they were getting in line before running) are called Pekin Duck.
Probably the reason why they were running away was because some of their friends were caught and cooked for our lunch.

The "wild" pigs looking defensively from their pen which was amazingly not odor offensive because of their food (organic veggies) and EM (effective micro-organisms) used to clean their pens and also mixed with their food.

One of the yummiest Longganisa Lucban I've tasted, very lean and relatively "guilt-free" because it's made from organic pigs.

This was grilled pork also from organic pigs, it's much leaner than the usual pork because of the thinner layer of fat. It was good, but I'd have to say that it wasn't as good as the non-organic pork I buy from the supermarket/market.
Costales Nature Farms offers tours around their farm where you can have a real "farmville" experience, harvesting vegetables and herbs. You can also fish for Tilapia and then have a refreshing "Salad-All-U-Can" with organic vegetables after all that hard work.

Brgy. Gagalot, Majayjay, Laguna



Suzler said...

What a brilliant day out. I'm getting serious basil-envy, and those dishes look great. I'm also really impressed with the non-smelly pigs - that's some achievement!

Tina (PinayInTexas) said...

Visiting from Kulinarya Cooking Club!
What a wonderful opportunity for you to visit an organic farm! I'm sure you had a great time!

Kitchen Belleicious said...

What a wonderful post and what a great visit you had. The meat looks incredible and I love that it is all organic. Non-smelly pigs- a total surprise hearing that!

Renata said...

Great looking food, and amazing that it is all organic.You must have had a wonderful time there! Lucky you!