Tuesday, September 4, 2012

CMG Travels | A peek in the charming Bohol Bee Farm


I accomplished one goal in my life this year when I finished my Masters degree, marched down the aisle and have my portrait taken with sablay. This is a significant mark in my life and calls for a big celebration, so I invited my family in Gensan to come over here in Cebu. As a treat to my dear Mamsi and the rest of my siblings, I toured them to the nearby charming and adorable island of Bohol for three days.
I’ve been to this island for a few times already, but each travel is as memorable as my first. This time, the unforgettable one was that of Bohol Bee Farm. Not the beach, not the bees, but the farm in its entirety.

It's very predictable and you would know what pleased me: the food, all fresh, all organic, and of course, their herb garden! We stayed in two of their spacious villas for a night, and spent the rest of our day relaxing and enjoying what it offers: the food, the farm and.....the bees. Travel with me through photos below and learn few insights of organic farming the Bohol Bee Farm way.

THE FARM

Bohol Bee Farm is not your usual provincial farm set in a vast tract of arable agricultural land. It is literally a hidden getaway by the seaside set in a dry, karst landscape. They grow their farm produces in pots and containers arranged in risers. There are villas, restaurants and other amenities dispersed in the vicinity, with pocket gardens of herbs and vegetables sprinkled all throughout. If you want tranquility away from the stresses of the city, and if you want to commune with nature and to yourself, this is the place to be. And this is actually the place Cook My Garden have been longing for.

Salad greens and dill planted in pots with nutrient-rich compost, arranged in plant boxes of varying height.


Coriander, Celery and Garlic Chives are beautifully arranged in the wooden scaffolding. 

Lollo Rossa, rocket, and other salad greens are grown in individual containers with very rich planting medium, arranged in a raised bed (the wooden scaffolding) with garden net roofing to protect the plants from excessive and direct sunlight. 

A typical A-form riser that can hold plenty of potted plants.

Newly transplanted basil in a 5-sided 2-level riser that surrounds the tree. The tree naturally  gives the needed shade for the newly planted herbs.

If you want your plant to have a more "legroom," you can recycle sacks and use this as your planting containers, though heat and moisture shorten the lifespan of the sack fibers. For this type of containers, plant only those herbs that can grow for a certain period or season.

Riser platforms makes a good display area for your potted herbs.

This is a typical riser with a garden net roofing, usually for newly-transplanted week-old plants.

Dill, Basil, and celery commonly grown in pots.

Even plastic containers are recycled and used for this purpose.




I spotted this farm personnel watering the vegetables early in the morning.

They make their own organic composts through the use of african nightcrawlers, a type of earthworm that hasten the decomposition of biodegradable throw-aways from the kitchen and the farm. Vermiculture (from the word "vermi" means worms) is a type of composting method that uses worms, their "poop" or castings are rich with nutrients that are needed by your plants and herbs, so there's no need to use synthetic fertilizers.

Dried leaves, fruits and vegetable trimmings are placed in this pit to decompose, and are "eaten" by the worms.

Animal manure are best fertilizers. It contains huge amount of three major elements needed by plants to grow: nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. It also improves soil aeration, and increases water holding capacity. Just make sure not to use the fresh poop!

These are their germination boxes. Weeks old seedlings will be transferred soon in their individual planting pots.


THE FOOD 

Because you know where your food comes from, expect it will be served to you fresh from the garden. They are also selling farm-derived products such as honeys, vinegars, and freshly-baked goodies to name a few. The restaurant served a bit pricey menu but it is all worth your money. From soups, appetizers to main course and even to their drinks, expect all natural, organic and freshly prepared dishes that is quite an experience for a foodie like me.


We were treated with this freshly-baked bread for free, made of organic squash, served with their homemade spreads of your choice, either the herbed-infused or the mango flavored butter.

Vegetarians will surely enjoy this organic vegetable stir fry, an eclectic mix of vegetables you wont expect it perfectly combines well with each other: the okra (ladyfinger), cucumber, rockets, as well as these tiny oblong thing, the wild cucumbers, which was my first time to actually eat it.

The will serve you organic brown rice along with the dish you chose.

And say it strange, but flowers not just delight our eyes, but as  well our palate! This is one of the unique experience Bohol Bee Farm can offer.

They say you have not been to Bohol Bee Farm if you were not able to taste their artisan ice creams, that come in different "strange" flavors made from herbs, spices, vegetables and fruits in season. The ice cream is scooped in homemade cones, a crispy thin sheet made of cassava, called cabcab. I ordered the Malunggay flavor!

AND THE BEES
 
To make our experience complete, we toured in their bee farm! 

Notice a colony of bees in their honeycomb!

Before, I always thought that pale-colored honeys sold in the market are either the diluted versions enhanced by sugar. That tour in the bee farm proved me wrong. The color as well as the flavor depend on which flowers the bees "feed" on. I bought two different bottles of honey, the wild honey as well as molave honey intended for salad dressing.

I considered Bohol Bee Farm as my haven. I love to stay there and forget the time. I love to stroll in the green patches, and indulge in the fresh organic vegetables and produces. For me, Bohol Bee Farm is a piece of heaven here on earth.

(Bohol Bee Farm is located in Dao, Dauis, Panglao Island in Bohol, Philippines) 

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