Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cebu's Organic Farms (2)

        If San Giminiano Farms would make you think twice to buy, the other unassuming booth beside it offers a much more value for money. If you are a start up hobbyist, you can buy some at this booth for a reasonable price of P100.00-P150.00. The point here is, its already grown and its up to you on how you will grow it bigger. The plants are worth a try. 

The namei is Quisumbing Farms, owned by Mr. Anton Quisumbing. Their farm is located in Kantipla, somewhere in Busay. You may reach the owner at the following numbers: 09275446349 or 09396244624.

Below are some of their plants for sale:
  

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cebu's Organic Farms (1)


I was able to know two of the participating booths at the weekend organics bazaar in Banilad Town Center. One of this is San Gimignano Wellness Farm's Harvest in Balamban, Cebu being owned by Ms. Eleanor A. Rivera

I was amazed by the extent of its offerings, especially on fully grown culinary herbs, fresh vegetables, ready-to-eat foods and chilled products. It sells anything organic that you can feast on: lettuce, arugula, bokchoy, choisum, tomato, sikwa, likway, cucumber, sayote, camote, eggplant, carrots, basil, parsley, dill, etc. She also sells ice cream in banana, passion fruit and guyabano flavors, probiotics, detox juices, tabouleh, beans, lumpia, salads, gazpacho, pesto, dips, puto, caponata and chutney.

They also operate daily in #7 Calle Plata, BC Homes, Lahug. You can call her at (0032)316-3464 or at her mobile 09177148254. You may also want to reach through her email address libotriv@yahoo.com.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Weekend Organics Bazaar at Banilad Town Center

     Last Sunday right after my morning jog at the Family Park in Talamban, I went straight to Banilad Town Center (BTC) to buy some fruit juices at Robinson's Supermarket. It has been a while that this neighborhood store has a weekend organics bazaar at the lobby so right after buying some stuff at the grocery, I visited again my favorite booth upstairs. I bought most of my starter herb plants here that is why I am very much familiar of this every Sunday organic marketplace.

      Six to eight tables were lining and they are selling a hodgepodge of anything organics, from fresh produces to artisan breads to even rock salts, culinary herbs, medicinal plants, tonic juices to organic ice cream, salsa, pesto, etc. I was even amazed one booth was selling fresh "pako" (edible ferns), and this made me realized it has been a while since the last time I ate pako salad. The more I missed mamsi's lutong bahay. Amazing find like this has added a mark on my Cebu....its rarity is the abundance of other places.




      The action was a bit like of that in a weekend public market, however this was more of serving the high end market. Fresh fruits and vegetables comes in banana wrappers and baskets. Of course, expect  prices of these fresh produce are a bit pricey, it's organic in the first place.

     The notion and importance of organic products are little by little being embraced by Cebuanos. The concept and way of life is slowly taking its position among the well-off Cebuanos. One of the proof is this weekend organics bazaar which has been running for quite sometime.

        Cebu is slowly embracing organics. Thanks for a few farms here (mostly came from the hilly Busay and Balamban) who are adopting the organic way (a sustainable way) of farming. I need see those farms in the coming months!
 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Culinary Herbs...in my garden

I started planting only early this year after I came across a weekly organic bazaar in Banilad Town Center. I found what I have been looking for quite a long time so I didn’t thought twice to buy one. Sweet Italian Basil was my first herb. Though a bit pricey, it didn’t matter to me. The plant was already 2 feet high, lush and healthy and was planted in a clay pot. Right now, I let it flower so I can gather seeds for my next supply of basil.
I’m quite sure you will ask: where will I plant? Living in a metro where you pay for every square meters of open space is not a good idea to crowd it with plants. If you happen to live in nearby municipalities where vacant lots are still abundant and “backyard” is still literally a backyard, this hobby is something that will pay off. If you are an urban dweller like me, you are on the same challenge as mine. But whatever it is, hobbyists will always find a way or two just to engage on gardening. More of the tips on how to make most of your space will be discussed on the future posts.
I don’t have an extensive collection of herbs, as I earlier put it, because of space considerations and the availability of the plants. I just grow them one by one in a pot. The potting medium was bought in the hardware (organic compost). It just started with a sweet basil, but now, I also have tarragon, mints, peppermint, turmeric, holy basil, thai basil, Vietnamese coriander, parsley, lemongrass, oregano, chives, and chinese garlic chives.

Sweet Italian Basil, basic ingredient for pastas and salads. According to wikipedia, it was originally came from India, it is best known as culinary herb prominently featured in Italian cuisine. There are other varieties of basil which are known to most Asian countries including the Philippines.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Mananom na 'ta!

One thing that stresses me out is finding an herbs and vegetables (or any ingredient for that matter) whenever the recipe calls for it. It is good to know that supermarkets here in Cebu have fresh supply of those herbs, though the mix is not that extensive. There are times that all you need is just a few of those leaves to add flavor to your dish, and most of the time you left those greens napping on your fridge until the next cooking time, or worse, it will be thrown away when wilted. Not a good idea.
You can find those needed herbs and spices at the vegetable section of any mall here in Cebu. Most of the time there are sweet basil, mint, parsley, or coriander in the shelves packed in handy small containers. I don’t know where they came from; the most important is it’s available and ready for taking. But how about those other herbs like rosemary, tarragon and the like? Sad to say, for almost a number years of my stay here in Cebu, I found none in those supermarkets and I am satisfied just using the dried version—McCormick (hahaha ang kinakusgang McCormick). Though always available, it is still a huge different if you will use the fresh ones.
The solution? Grow those plants! But where can we found those hard-to-find plants here in Cebu?
Cebu is a metropolis where you restaurants are mushrooming in any streets possible. People here just love to eat. Sad to say, I still had difficulty finding an appropriate ingredient in the supermarkets, or at the public markets. My presumption is, all are coming from outside of Cebu Province since Cebu has only a few agricultural lands. However I was fascinated by an idea that there must be somebody who grows those plants here in Cebu. The next blog posts are listings of my few finds here in Cebu.
So why plant if you can buy it? For me, it’s both practicality and ensuring where they came from. I only cook a dish for two so I don’t need something more that will be later on dumped on the bin. Its availability all the time whenever I need it is enjoying it at the convenience of my home. And I want to make sure those are being grown my way, organic and fresh. Plus the joy of growing those is simply beyond measure.
So the next time you will cook pasta or a fresh salad, make it more close to real one by garnishing some fresh herbs.
Enjoy planting!

Welcome to our blog, Bisdak!



Never in my imagination would I be spending a number of years here in Cebu. In all its facets big or small, Cebu has not failed to lure me into its charm since day one – the warmth of its people, its one-of-a kind culture, and the provincial feel of its urban life made me feel I am just around home. I love Cebu and I’m staying here for good.

My attempt in ‘staying here for good’ gave me a few shots of headaches as to how I should tug along with me my antics for cooking and gardening. I love to grow something green since a kid, thanks for my Papsi, a dedicated farmer, who influenced me a lot. And my love for cooking must have started from my fondness of eating anything edible and delicious. I also admit it is innate in me: my Papsi, a Kapampangan, must have endowed me his cooking genes.  Nevertheless, a passionate person knows no hindrances, and the rest of the story is the reason why I’m having this blog – to chronicle how, what and where I have been just to pursue these two passions, in a lovely place called Cebu.

And to add a twist to my story, I began to practice a couple of months ago a self-proclaimed way of living: unrestricted vegetarianism (which I will define it later), in my struggle to go back to basics for health reasons. A newbie here in Cebu with this newfound lifestyle is definitely a struggle and the more reason I should cook. And to make all things easy along the way, it is the more reason I should grow my food.

Whew…

The purpose of this blog is plain and simple: share the information to my (with emphasis) fellow Cebuano’s (that is including me, hehehe). I have noticed there is a scarce resource of information about the topics, be it online or even by asking any Cebuano’s, hence the inconvenience in my attempt to be my own cook and a gardener. I’m not a professional culinary expert, nor a licensed agriculturist, so it is a good note to take precautions in using any information posted, shared and discussed here. To make things more engaging, I will make an effort to get advices from those in authority.

Join me in my excursions to Cebu that I have never been. Let’s check out all the known and not so-known supermarkets, as well as public markets, farms, grocery stores, in search of those hard-to-find ingredients and plants. Join me as I explore the tastes and flavors of Cebu, and the joys of exploring and experimenting in your kitchens and garden spaces.

Welcome to “our” blog, feel free to make use of and share any information here. Let’s make this our discussion venue for anything about cooking, gardening and what have you under the Cebuano sun!

So, pull in your pots and trowels and frying pans and ladles and let’s start having the best life here in Cebu!
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