A couple of weekends ago I was invited for a farm tour, organized by Balay Verde, at two organic farms in Davao City, Huni Farm in Wangan and Gems Farm in Tacunan.
Together with La Farmette, the owners of the three farms established Balay Verde, an organic restaurant and shop at the second floor of the Abreeza Ayala Mall near Anytime Fitness Gym.
Also invited are other fellow social media influencers in Davao City.
Personally, I was very excited about this trip because I know that I will be learning lots of things during this tour.
The tour kicked off with a visit at Huni Farm, which is owned by Louella “Wela” Garcia.
Before Ate Wela toured us around her farm, we had a quick brunch. Ate Wela prepared us some biko and banana cue, all with organic ingredients. To go along with the brunch was a refreshing passion fruit juice.
After enjoying the nice brunch, Ate Wela toured us around her farm. We first visited the area where she raises her pigs and chickens, all of which are enjoying wide open spaces.
What I find interesting here is she allows the pigs to enjoy the mud. I was actually seeing pigs jumping off a short concrete platform to jump on the mud. It was really amusing to watch them roam freely at their wide pens. Another great thing was the place did not smell bad.
We also checked out the chicken pens. Ate Wela said she allows the chickens to grow naturally. After 30 days, she then lets them roam around her farm freely.
As we walked around the farm, it was nice to note that it was not very hot as there were a lot of trees that provided us some really nice shade.
Ate Wela shared that as a natural farmer, she allows nature to work its magic. For example instead of sweeping the leaves that fall off the trees, she allows these to decay naturally.
Next, we visited some of her vegetable patches. Here we were able to try broccoli that was freshly picked from the plant. Since it was not laced with chemicals, it was pretty safe to eat. This was my first time to taste a freshly picked broccoli and I find it to be nutty and sweet.
Ate Wela also picked a cucumber for us to also try. The freshly picked organic cucumber was sweet and refreshing as well.
She also shared a nice story about the sesame plant that grew near her vegetable patches. She said she was not the one who planted the sesame plant there, rather it was the birds that “planted” it.
She then allowed us to pick some of the vegetables in the farm to bring home. I really wanted to take some home but unfortunately, I do not have a refrigerator to store it.
During the tour at Huni Farm, there was one particular fruit that caught my interest, the gac fruit. It was round, orange, and have a spiky texture. When it was opened, it was blood red on the inside. Ate Wela said the fruit, despite being tasteless, is highly nutritious.
After the tour at Huni Farm, we traveled to Gems Farm, which was around an hour away. Unlike Huni Farm, Gems Farm was mainly a livestock farm.
Owned by Gerardo E. Suelo and his wife, Michelle, the farm has pigs, chickens, turkeys, and a cow. There were also rabbits at their farm.
Before touring the farm, we had a delicious lunch, which included a free range lechon. They also prepared refreshing buko shake to beat the heat.
After lunch, we took a quick tour at the farm. Just like Huni Farm, the livestock and poultry here were also enjoying wide spaces that allow them to roam somehow freely.
I was particularly amused by their hogs here. It was my first time to see an alpha male pig. He was a mean one. There were instances that he would try to bite the other bigs getting into his space.
There were also these two pigs that were lounging on the mud. The piglets were also cute.
The most amusing thing I saw was when the care takers brought food for the pigs. The first were some ipil-ipil and the pigs just went for it. There was a pig that wanted to eat alone; so it took its share but while it was getting away from the group, some pigs followed it and took its share! The two pigs lounging on the mud had also gotten up to eat.
There were also two large pigs on an elevated plantform that were just chilling while the others were enjoying the meal. The little piglets also joined the bigger ones.
The caretakers then brought some feeds and the pigs were just having a feast. One of the two that were chilling later stood up to join the fun. The little ones also squeezed in to get their share. It was a riot but in an amusing way. Eventually, the piglets got tired of squeezing and enjoyed some shade under a tree.
Our day ended with merienda at Balay Verde, where we were able to also try the salads they had to offer. I’ll write more about that on my next post, so stay tuned!