04 Feb2014


I had a particularly lengthy purchase order with Gejo of Malipayon Farms a couple of Fridays ago and this is just part of the delivery… Mostly for use in a TV shoot in Cebu on Saturday (mum’s the word on the show for now), I couldn’t help but marvel at the variety and freshness of this basket of goodies that showed up at home… With produce like this, it’s hard to mess up any dish you make from them.


This is the ultimate example of “fresh mint leaves” — bright green, hydrated leaves, no dark edges and wilted greens, firm stems. Wow! I used some of these in a batch of Vietnamese shrimp spring rolls. They garnished fruity desserts and we used them in salads.


Several varieties of cherry tomatoes and fragrant stalks of lemongrass. The lemongrass was used in the “shoot” as were some of the tomatoes, but I kept half the tomatoes for home use in salads, salsas, etc.


Flat leaf or Italian Parsley. We try to have this in the fridge all the time. Garnish for pasta and meat dishes, blitzed into spreads, used to flavor stocks.


Multi-colored stalks of Swiss chard, which I later used in a chorizo, bean and chard soup. This is a really healthy veggie, and we need to eat more of it.


Hefty chunks of galanggal root, a fragrant cousin of ginger.


Amazing young spinach. I didn’t want to waste this in such an incredibly fresh state, so I immediately used it in a salad with a dressing of oil, mustard, sherry vinegar, salt and pepper that was made in a skillet and used to just wilt the greens ever so slightly, then topped this all with thin shavings of jamon serrano. I also threw in some cherry tomatoes for color, texture and flavor.


Purple basil, tastes similar to the green sweet basil, but with such a striking color. Great for garnishing dishes.


Nearly half a kilo of fresh dill, used for another big batch of gravlax.


Baby native radishes, which honestly, I haven’t found a use for other than being added to some shrimp sinigang. Thanks Gejo, for such a wonderful bounty of produce. All of this is grown in Tagaytay, just an hour away from Makati. Now imagine if several groceries and delis had vegetable sections that regularly included produce of this quality. I hope that day isn’t too far off in the future. Everything we prepared using this produce really let the veggies and herbs shine through.



  1. Jaja says:

    The radishes can be used for kinilaw :)

    Feb 4, 2014 | 10:02 am


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  3. pixienixie says:

    Where does one use the galanggal root? Can it be a substitute for ginger?

    Feb 4, 2014 | 10:43 am

  4. Marketman says:

    pixienixie, the galanggal is great for curries, terrific and essential in tom yum soup and other thai dishes, some folks put in in their vinegar instead of ginger…

    Feb 4, 2014 | 11:09 am

  5. pixienixie says:

    Thank you! :)

    Feb 4, 2014 | 11:11 am

  6. ami says:

    pickled radish?

    Feb 4, 2014 | 11:26 am

  7. madgwenny says:

    wonderful harvest. sayang, if those radishes had still their leaves attached, here are two interesting young radish recipes to make, found here:


    Feb 4, 2014 | 11:53 am

  8. Botchok says:

    kilawin labanos

    Feb 4, 2014 | 3:32 pm

  9. Ed B. says:

    +1 to Botchok’s suggestion regarding the labanos. Freshly or lightly pickled labanos is great with anything inihaw or fried. :D

    Feb 4, 2014 | 3:49 pm

  10. Angelo says:

    I like to make japanese style pickles with the labanos. Really good.

    Feb 4, 2014 | 5:55 pm

  11. millet says:

    am so jealous, everything looks so gooood!

    Feb 4, 2014 | 6:08 pm

  12. corrine says:

    Does Gejo sell these beautiful produce? I used to buy veg from personal farmer.com two years ago. It’s located in Bukidnon. I order online from a list they provide in the website. They deliver via PAL. Sadly, they have shifted to wholesale.
    My yaya planted a leftover piece of galangal a year ago and now they are about 6 feet tall but no “fruit” yet. I bought galangal paste from Metro Gaisano. It’s one of those Thai brands.

    Feb 4, 2014 | 7:03 pm

  13. Marketman says:

    corrine, he does, but mostly to restaurants and wholesale, I think. You can contact him at malipayon farms’ Facebook page. The galanggal grows and gets leafy, then you have to dig up part of the root and cut it. It doesn’t have any “fruit” per se…

    Feb 4, 2014 | 9:46 pm

  14. bakerwannabe says:

    Make radish cake with the radishes. Got this recipe from Saveur. http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Luo-Go-Bao. It’s pretty good.

    Feb 5, 2014 | 1:14 am

  15. Jean says:

    Radish on some buttered freshly baked bread. Don’t forget the coarse salt. Stunning produce, indeed! There wasn’t this variety when I left the Philippines twenty-some years ago.

    Feb 5, 2014 | 2:01 am

  16. Amy says:

    Labanos makes a great relish paired with fried fish. Cut them up in strips and toss them with freshly diced onions and tomatoes, season with sea salt or patis. But my favorite labanos dish is ginisa (again, cut in thin strips) and sauteed in garlic, onions, tomatoes, giniling and shrimps, and seasoned with salt or patis. Do you know that Swiss chard makes a delicious laing? I swear! Just use the green part, and don’t add any water (it will render its own juice), just add coconut cream/milk. It cooks a lot faster than taro leaves and none of that itchy throat feel, and the dish freezes well too!

    Feb 5, 2014 | 2:05 am

  17. marixie says:

    I don’t know of any Filipino dish/dishes that uses/use basil, dill or Swiss Chard. I don’t know if ordinary Filipinos who have not been introduced to “foreign” dishes that use these, are even aware what these veggies are and what they are used for. In this case I can’t see how the producers will profit if they marketed these retail. Basil is a common component of a lot of Italian dishes, most notably basil pesto. But I yet have to meet a common Filipino in the street who knows or even likes basil pesto.Same with dill and chard. Of course, everyone knows pechay and Swiss chard is somewhat similar in taste and appearance but maybe more expensive than pechay. And lemongrass is known as tanglad and normally used as a stuffing in lechon (pig or chicken). I never saw lemongrass used in soup in the Phil (like the Thais do). Everyone prefers ginger for sour soup (sinigang) over lemongrass.

    Feb 5, 2014 | 10:54 am

  18. Marketman says:

    marixie, much of this produce ends up at hotels, restaurants, airlines, resorts and even cruise lines that serve millions of people every year… so while many of these items aren’t a “common thing” — they represent a huge market potential. In addition, the Philippines, could, in theory supply fresh herbs and greens and micro greens to Hong Kong and Taiwan, who would fly them in and pay the prices… Also, if you have been to weekend farmer’s markets in Manila, this kind of produce is increasingly becoming available.

    Lemongrass is used in a binakol or even a tinola in quite a few parts of the country, so its use is fairly common and not limited to chicken or lechon as you suggest. In our own restaurants in Cebu, we use a PHENOMENAL amount of lemongrass, not just for our lechons, but for a lime/lemongrass drink we sell by the pitcher. We also have a pineapple mint drink that has us buying lots and lots of fresh mint every week. Of course these are in addition to using kamias/iba and other more common ingredients. I don’t know then you were last in Manila groceries and markets assuming you don’t live here, but availability of these kinds of ingredients are really growing robustly. When even SM groceries have a selection of 10-12 “unusual” foreign herbs such as fresh oregano, basil, italian parsley, sawtooth coriander, etc. you know things are changing…

    If just five airlines decide to offer an appetizer of smoked tanguigue or salmon with a dill mustard sauce, and have say 2,000 meals ex-Manila per day, there is but one customer (the catering company) for fresh dill that will make one farmer pretty happy. I know of chefs at 5-star hotels that even contract growers such as Gejo to raise swiss chard, knowing that say 10-20 kilos every couple of days can easily be used in their kitchens to serve local and foreign guests. It’s a niche market in these vegetables, but a potentially lucrative one.

    The proliferation of Thai, Vietnamese and other Asian restaurants as well as Italian places makes demand for their specific types of herbs quite robust as well. And we are not just talking gentlemen farmers here. Beets, fennel, romaine lettuce, herbs, large non-Asian eggplants, broccoli, etc. are huge crops out of the Mt. Province as well.

    Feb 5, 2014 | 12:00 pm

  19. corrine says:

    Exactly, MM, a lot of things have changed in recent years. I don’t think these are uncommon (fresh oregano, basil, italian parsley, sawtooth coriander). I have all these in my greenhouse. Sawtooth coriander is super easy to grow. My existing ones came from seeds of my other flowering coriander. With ASEAN integration 2015, we see more products from other ASEAN countries in supermarket shelves. So will more Filipino products be made available in other ASEAN countries. Nice!

    Feb 5, 2014 | 2:28 pm

  20. Marixie says:

    MM thank you for the comprehensive info!!! I would love for the Phil to engage in the production and sale of these products for the international market to boost Filipino economy.Indeed Phil climate is best suited to grow all of these products year round. I have indeed not been to Manila itself for a long time, since each time I visit I only stay in Davao where my family is. I will definitely visit your store in Cebu next time I’m home and indulge in your culinary delights!!!!

    Feb 5, 2014 | 8:07 pm

  21. Marixie says:

    P.S. MM the lemongrass/lime/mint drink you serve at your store sounds like a MOJITO (sans the liquor)!!! Now that truly is something so refreshing to have in a humid and hot climate. I wish more restaurateurs in Davao are as savvy as you!!!!

    Feb 5, 2014 | 8:15 pm

  22. Marketman says:

    Marixie, Mindanao (Davao, Bukidnon, CDO, Gen San) are now the source of things as varied as fantastic Malagos Farm artisanal cheeses, smoked salmon (salmon from NZ, processed in Gen San), superb tuna, wagyu beef, organically raised pork and beef, and spectacular vegetables including the most amazing leeks, frissee, heirloom tomatoes, etc… so while nascent and still erratic, things are changing for the better… :)

    Feb 5, 2014 | 9:09 pm

  23. Betchay says:

    The colors are so vibrant! Photographer ka na MM! Did you take the picture outside or inside the house?

    Feb 6, 2014 | 8:43 am

  24. Marketman says:

    Betchay, photos taken outdoors in overcast conditions. I find fresh produce to be incredibly photogenic on its own, without any help from the photographer… :)

    Feb 6, 2014 | 10:12 am

  25. Kasseopeia says:

    Oh, that rainbow chard! Those lovely young spinach leaves. The juicy tomatoes.

    As for those radishes – I’d make mul kimchi out of them. Or kilawing labanos. Produce is love!

    Feb 11, 2014 | 9:35 pm

  26. EJ says:

    Re dill, one of my uncles used to supply a major airline with boneless bangus stuffed with dill. Simply delicious.

    Mar 8, 2014 | 3:13 am

  27. marilou says:

    I have a lemongrass plantation in Northern Samar,Republic of the Philippines. I can provide to Metro Manila. My email: lycean_125@yahoo.com.au

    Dec 6, 2015 | 8:38 pm


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