Edwin Sy and his business partner Andrew Chua are fine examples of a new breed of provedores who are bringing unique and delicious produce to the local market. A four year old brand, â€œFresh Fieldâ€ is hitting itsâ€™ stride and their new retail outlet at Market!Market! in Fort Bonifacio is a must see destination for the market addict and foodie alike. On a recent morning the stall was packed with things I wanted to take home: fresh superb romaine lettuce, mizuna (Japanese green for hotpots and also used in salads), edamame, tatsoi, bok choi, tarragon, dill, mixed lettuces, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, etc.
Fresh Field started out with a modest farm in Novaliches that raised several varieties of lettuce. They initially focused on selling directly to restaurants and tried to meet the needs and desires of top chefs. They then became visible to the general public when they started selling pre-washed and pre-packed bags of lettuce in grocery stores. At very reasonable prices of roughly P50 a bag, the stuff was flying off the chiller shelves. A feature article in the papers late last year resulted in a lot of deserved publicity. Today, the company sells roughly 1/3 of its produce directly to restaurants with the remaining 2/3 selling through their retail outlet at the Fort, Landmark, SM, South Supermarket and Robinsons groceries, and other locations.
Edwin is in charge of the production and sales side and from a previous career in steel he has segued into the farming and sales of unusual and higher value crops. He visited and observed the workings of several farms in urban settings abroad and was convinced he could make a go of this in Manila. Most of Fresh Fieldâ€™s vegetables are raised using hydroponic technology. As I understand it, this is essentially raising the plants in potting mediums that are liberally supplied with water infused with the key growth nutrients including nitrogen, potassium, phosphorous, etc. While I personally find some hydroponically raised produce to be watery and sometimes lacking in flavor, the greens that I have tried at Fresh Field are quite delicious and they look terrific. Their cherry tomatoes also have a sweeter and meatier texture than some larger varieties of tomatoes grown hydroponically.
This small supplier of a surprisingly large selection of produce, now has a planting area in Tagaytay, in addition to their Novaliches property. They employ over 30 people total at their farms and retail outlets and this is precisely the type of small business we should all be encouraging by buying more of the great stuff they bring to market. Last Friday, they had Mizuna (totally fresh, nearly alive actually) at P150/kilo, Tatsoi at P150/kilo, Romaine Hearts P170/kilo, Romaine Whole P150/kilo, Bok Choi, P80/kilo, Edamame so fresh it comes with stems and roots (P30/100grams of pods only), bagged pre-washed lettuces (about P50/bag) and stunning Micro Greens (Garnet Red and Arugula, but infants I tell you) price on request.
Located in the market section of Market!Market! towards the main entrance of the mall, they are open at about 9am and have daily deliveries of goods though there seems to be more selection on Friday and Saturday. Edwin can be reached at 09178101667 or visit their website at http://go.to/freshfields.