21 Nov2010

Kitchen Herbs Farm

by Marketman

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I was at the Mercato Centrale at BGC this morning and spotted a table with the most spectacular looking fresh herbs. The selection was impressive. The condition of the herbs was amazing considering this was the tail-end of the market and our weather is just wiltingly hot. I had dinner plans to eat out but the second I saw this spread of greens and herbs, I knew we were going to eat in instead. First on my radar were the incredibly young beetroot leaves, certainly perfect as part of delicate salad of mesclun or other mixed lettuces. I got two packs of that. There were various sprouts and greens as well that I am certain will be in my basket the next time around. I was also thrilled to find some small bunches of “wild” cultivated arugula, a slightly different version of the more common arugula you see in restaurant salads and dishes and took two bunches of those as well…

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The tiniest of carrots were a pleasure to behold. Usually swallowed up by top-end restaurants and chefs who use them as spectacular garnishes or part of their dishes, I like them both for their diminutive size and taste. Add another two bunches of those to the growing pile. A bunch of the most amazing coriander with hefty root (the latter perfect for tom yum soup) begged to be picked up and it was. A bag of french green beans made it to the pile, though like most growers of this item, they seem to keep them on the vine a week too long. I suppose its more revenue if the beans get a little bigger, but they are really meant to be tiny as well…

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I also found some Thai basil and finally, some incredibly healthy looking bay leaves (ignore the one leaf with a brown spot on it) and believe me when I say the rest of the bay leaves were fresh, green and aromatic. All of these greens and herbs are raised organically by Gejo Jimenez and crew in their Silang, Cavite farm. I am so happy they will now be regularly available at the market every Saturday and Sunday through December. I urge all foodies to head to the market and patronize these wonderful small scale purveyors of produce. Only with our support will they flourish and expand our food choices!

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Kitchen Herbs Farm
Organic/Biodynamic Specialty Produce
Silang, Cavite

Their herbs also available at:
ISIP Organic and Biodynamic Store
6241 Palma corner Manalc Streets, near Rockwell Makati
Tel. 8994675

and at THE MARKET
Salcedo Village Tel. 8872993 (Lanie)

 

COMMENTS:

  1. knifenut says:

    Just curious MM, how were the prices? Comparable to the Salcedo/Legaspi produce tables or cheaper like Farmers/ FTI? thanks!

    Nov 21, 2010 | 7:44 pm

     
  2. Junb says:

    Who needs over price restaurant food if you have those fresh organic vegetables. you’ll definitely have a quality time with your family :)

    Nov 21, 2010 | 8:03 pm

     
  3. Marketman says:

    knifenut, produce prices were similar to Salcedo, but I was really only looking a herbs and specialty greens, for which, price is less of an issue as they are so difficult to find. As for the prepared food, I didn’t notice, but I always find prepared food to be pricey since I do like to cook myself… For many, they go because it is convenient, without realizing just how much the convenience is costing them…

    Nov 21, 2010 | 9:46 pm

     
  4. solraya says:

    Talk about cutting costs and more importantly eating clean…try growing your own food. Even if you just start with vegetables in containers and pots, once you know how they are grown and harvested at their sweetest, you will want to grow more.

    Nov 21, 2010 | 11:24 pm

     
  5. millet says:

    what are those greens with the purple stems and veins, MM?

    Nov 21, 2010 | 11:54 pm

     
  6. betty q. says:

    …baby beet root leaves, Millet

    Nov 22, 2010 | 12:22 am

     
  7. Gerry says:

    I find MM’s statement, especially the last sentence a bit odd. You do sell Zubuchon in Cebu and I would like to think that your clients purchase your product not merely for convenience, but for a chance to taste a wonderful product that they would never be able to do themselves.

    Nov 22, 2010 | 12:33 am

     
  8. Marketman says:

    Gerry, I don’t think its odd at all. I would actually prefer to see more and more folks eating good, nutritious, freshly made home cooked food, even if it meant we sold less Zubuchon. However, cooking lechons is a fairly major production, and most folks won’t eat whole ones during a normal family meal, so selling it by the kilo is convenient for many that choose not to do it themselves. And believe it or not, the margins on properly made lechons are TEENY TINY compared with other prepared foods if you do it the old fashioned way. If folks try and cook a small lechon at home, using a good, well fed pig, legally slaughtered and hygienically handled, over natural coals, by a lechonero turning the bamboo with his bare hands, with all the herbs we use, various sea salts and olive oil, and pay staff properly and all their benefits, as well as all legal registration and other business fees, you would see its not a big profit generator… Actually, throw in the free use of property and facilities in the center of town and you would be lucky to truly break even. So we feel our lechon prices are actually a VERY good deal. Our lechon sold at BTC Mall in Cebu is PHP450 a kilo. Lechon sold by the kilo in Manila by other purveyors sell for PHP650-790 per kilo at groceries and malls. :)

    To make real money at lechon retailing, some folks (and I reiterate some, not all) resort to all kinds of tricks and shortcuts: first and foremost, start with MUCH bigger pigs for retail lechons. We tend to have a 40 kilo+ pig as our largest size when cooking to sell chopped lechon. Many others use the 60-70 kilo range. The size difference is a huge cost difference and a huge visible fat content difference. When you buy whole lechons, often the pig used is smaller than you would expect, and sometimes their tenderloins have been removed and sold separately to augment income. Recent television exposes have shown the places that lechons are prepared and cooked. Slaughtered out in the open with no screen or running water, in abbatoirs that are not licensed, etc. Pigs are turned on mechanized rottiserries. Some brushed with soy or other sugared concoctions to brown more readily, etc.

    I have absolutely nothing against folks pricing up for convenience, but from a cost and nutritional perspective, I still wish more consumers would cook their own… In fact, I have always encouraged it by describing recipes to do all dishes at home, including our lechon. :)

    millet, beetroot greens. solraya, we had one of your chickens last night, it was EXCELLENT. Thank you.

    Nov 22, 2010 | 6:13 am

     
  9. Kate says:

    Hi MM! Just curious, do you still peel the tiny carrots? I got a batch from the organic market in Baguio and was a bit hesitant on peeling the carrot because it was already so tiny :)

    Nov 22, 2010 | 8:03 am

     
  10. Marketman says:

    Kate you can eat them whole if you blanch them first (to kill any cooties), but you can also carefully peel them if you prefer. But having said that, I washed a few and ate them raw and didn’t seem to harm me immediately after… :)

    Nov 22, 2010 | 8:10 am

     
  11. millet says:

    thanks, MM. i love beets but have never had beet greens.

    i love the kimchi’d baby radish and baby carrots that are sometimes served as ban chan in some korean restaurants.

    Nov 22, 2010 | 9:25 am

     
  12. ness says:

    Thanks for the info MM. I really didn’t know where to find fresh bay leaves. They make really really excellent adobo, compared to dried laurel.

    Nov 22, 2010 | 10:49 am

     
  13. Gej says:

    Thanks MM for featuring the produce! More than anything else, what delights growers are appreciative buyers like you.

    For info though, I will sell only at the Mercato only one more time for the year, this Sunday Nov 28. December is just too precious for the family, for me to spend week-end mornings away (it will be hard to whisk the wife and kids off to the Mercato at 5AM – ha ha! ) – unfortunately I could not fully delegate the whole week-end market thing to a complete crew at this time.

    The attendance during the first day of the Mercato Centrale was so impressive and promising, and I think many were happy with the many choices available. They’ll probably visit often. I’ll probably re-join the fun by January.

    Also, the Kitchen Herbs Farm is technically not in Tagaytay, but in nearby Silang, Cavite. “Just right before Tagaytay”, I would tell people.

    Sorry about the beans. I’m actually strict with the size (diameter) of the beans (and the baby carrots) and constantly remind the crew to harvest and grade properly ( I have two sizes – the smaller size,which you prefer, and a slightly bigger size that some restaurants prefer because the slightly larger beans last longer in the chiller). I even made a contraption for them to use in grading. But sometimes it still happens, that we are not careful to properly harvest.

    Right now it is the tail-end of the French Beans “mini-season” at the farm. The combination of rains and sunny weather activates a certain organism in the soil that makes it very difficult to grow the beans. The crew members have to search more and move more among the more sparsely fruiting plants, and still end up with a small harvest. Some beans “escape” their attention, and are harvested a few days after the ideal time. It will take some time again before the beans grow well again.

    Solraya, I couldn’t agree more. One of my favorite lines is ” The best vegetables one can eat are the ones grown at home!”

    Kate, I learned from one of the chefs that another way to “peel” the baby carrots is by holding a knife perpendicularly on the surface and scraping to remove the skin and clear that brownish area between the green stem and the root. That way, not to much flesh is removed. Still another cook said that he uses Scotch Brite to scrape the carrot skin away!

    Nov 22, 2010 | 10:55 am

     
  14. linda says:

    MM,you’re in a different part of the world,but, I was doing the same thing you were doing. I went to the farmer’s market where the farmers themselves are selling their own produce. I bought a bunch of different coloured beetroots red,pink and white beetroot, gorgeous new season cherries,fresh baby spinach and bokchoy,baby zucchinis with their flowers still attached,sweet cherry tomatoes and a pot of italian basil. I bought some saltbush-fed lamb shanks,and a large slab of pork ribs which is marinating in the fridge. I also bought 2 litres of fresh cream and I will make my own butter from it.

    I always get excited when I go to markets as there’s always something to try and buy. They also have a stage/kitchen where some of the stall holders or guest chefs share their ideas and recipes. Yesterdays demo was how to prepare Vietnamese springrolls and smoked salmon patties served with a pear salad and portobello mushrooms. We also have the Hilton chefs every 1st Sunday of the month demonstrating their skills and sharing their secrets (sometimes) then we all have a taste of their freshly prepared or freshly cooked delicious dishes. I love markets and I love food!

    Nov 22, 2010 | 10:56 am

     
  15. Pinoy Organics says:

    Thank you for featuring Kitchen Herbs. We’re proud to have them in Pinoy Organics section and look forward to have Gejo back by Jan 2011. We had their grilled cheese sandwich with fresh arugula and balsamic vinegar for lunch. It was heaven!

    MM, check out CabioKid’s organic rice from Cabiao, Nueva Ecija and fresh farm produce from Costales Farms next time.

    Pinoy Organics will continue to feature more guest sellers this month until Feb 2011 in Mercato Centrale. See you (again) soon!

    Nov 22, 2010 | 11:16 am

     
  16. Joy says:

    Hi MM! When are you going to sell Zubochon in Manila? My sister bought me one from the airport in Cebu and it was perfect! Far far away from the lechons sold here in Manila.

    Nov 22, 2010 | 11:39 am

     
  17. myra_p says:

    Solraya… Just started container gardening in my condo. By Xmas, I plan to have my kids harvest bokchoy and baby carrots. Herbs, pandan, lemongrass, aloe vera are growing extremely well, as are my geraniums and african violets. I think every child should learn about the growing process and experience the thrill of growing vegetables from seeds and having them for dinner! Next up: lettuce and coriander. Would potatoes grow well in a big, big pot?

    Nov 22, 2010 | 12:16 pm

     
  18. EbbaBlue says:

    Oh, finally a real baby carrots. For years, I would buy “babycarrots” (as labeled in the plastic bag), and then a friend told me that it was not real baby carrots, but it was just cut and prepared to look like it. And men, fresh bay leaf.. I woud love to have some. Here in Texas vietnamese farm and sells a lot of herbs and asian vegetables including “sitaw”, and the kangkong actually has 2 varieties. But I am not sure if they were organic. Also, a saturday farmers market is 1 hour drive from me.. how I wish there is one closer.. I will be there weekly.

    In cooking channel, they have a young”newly picked sitaw – and they served it raw in salads,with rose petals and nasturtiums.

    Nov 22, 2010 | 1:12 pm

     
  19. Marketman says:

    Joy, sorry, no plans for Manila at this point. Pinoy Organic’s – I did buy 2 kilos of Cabiokid black rice, see previous post… linda, I “lived” in Melbourne for a period of almost a year, and every Saturday I was there (kept commuting back to Manila every other week) I was at the Victoria market, one of my favorite markets anywhere on the planet. :) Gej, thanks for having such a wonderful table set up. Oh no, you won’t be there during the next month but now I know how to contact you, rest assured I may pester you for produce. And thanks for the corrections, will update post. As for the beans, no big deal. I actually sorted them when I got to the kitchen, with about a third into a nice thin pile, and the rest to be used like normal green beans. They were still delicious. Regards, MM

    Nov 22, 2010 | 2:23 pm

     
  20. tonceq says:

    Wow! I’ve never seen veggies look that nice… even compared to those that i’ve purchased in manila markets! really nice to know that we have more options when it comes to stockpiling ingredients for the kitchen!

    wait… say it isn’t so! no plans to have zubuchon in manila? nooooooooo!!!!! @_@

    Nov 22, 2010 | 10:44 pm

     
  21. betty q. says:

    myra_p…potatoes will grow anywhere even in those topsyturvy containers that you hang…a big pot or a pile of used tires all stacked up..the thing to remember about potaotes…NO LIME added to the soil also as they grow…hilling the soil around the stem is a must.

    I once had potatoes growing in my compost bin…must have been from the potatoe skins I dumped in there.

    Nov 22, 2010 | 10:47 pm

     
  22. myra_p says:

    Thanks betty_q, just needed some reassurance! I once grew potatoes from old sprouted kitchen rejects in a flower bed… I buried them in spaces between flowers and was able to harvest over a kilo of new potatoes when the potato plants started to dry up. What is more impt, the depth or width of my pot? Assuming one plant per pot… Alkaline or acid soil?

    Nov 23, 2010 | 12:47 am

     
  23. betty q. says:

    myra_p:…ktichen rejects….acid. Lime=alkaline…if you put alkaline stuff like lime, you will have scabby potatoes! I once inherited a plot in the community garden that was soooo neglected. Not wanting to dig the overgrown weeds, I just stomped on them, covered with cardboard boxes and made a row just with peat moss (acid) and dried leaves and stuck potatoes in them…was rewarded with the most beautiful, plump Norlands(reds). Oh, make sure your potatoes have nice fluffy soil so they will grow big. But at any rate, as along as your soil is not limed, you will have no problems at all growing them. Maybe a wide pot, deep enough. You can start rather shallow and as they grow , add more soil so you don’t have to hill them. If you have dried leaves, just add them to cover.

    Nov 23, 2010 | 10:46 am

     
  24. monina mailan says:

    does the kitchen herbs farm got a website?or any contact details?

    Nov 24, 2010 | 10:36 am

     
  25. franz says:

    how were the carrots? last time i grew carrots in a pot, they were so wonderfully sweet. almost like candy. nothing like carrots fresh from the ground.

    Nov 24, 2010 | 12:05 pm

     
  26. mary says:

    MM my husband and I might be in Cebu for the Christmas holidays and we can’t wait to try the famous Zubuchon. We want to surprise my brother in Bohol and bring him a lechon from Cebu. What is the ordering procedure again?

    Nov 24, 2010 | 1:03 pm

     
  27. Gej says:

    Hi Monina. Kitchen Herbs farm does not have a web-site as of this time. But I have a Facebook Page. The link is
    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/KITCHEN-HERBS/282551504890

    My e-mail address is kitchenherbs@gmail.com.

    Nov 25, 2010 | 4:15 pm

     
  28. Pinoy Organics says:

    MM, as an added service to our Pinoy Organics community, we are accepting pre-order/pick up arrangements in Mercato every Saturday. Let me know if you want us to include you in the list.

    Thanks.

    Nov 29, 2010 | 2:10 pm

     
  29. Pinoy Ches says:

    in “The Market” – Salcedo Village.. is it the sunday bazzar at salcedo park? visit http://www.gourdos.com they have the best cooking pans and knives for professional chefs. what i like about them is they have knives for all types of fruits and vegetables! imagine that.

    Dec 3, 2010 | 10:15 am

     
  30. mayla says:

    where can i find beetroots here in quezon city or nearby cities like manila or pasig?

    May 11, 2011 | 10:02 pm

     
 

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