12 Jan2011


The Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho (KMJS) feature story this Saturday is about food bloggers who go in search of their next find/topic/material for a post. It sounded innocuous enough when I received the request to participate. And I have been wanting to go up to Silang, Cavite to check out Gejo Jimenez’s Kitchen Herbs Farm, so this seemed like a good opportunity to “kill two birds with one stone…” Then the whole “pick your own lettuce and herbs idea” evolved into a “could I use them in a dish… like a salad.” Then the next request was that I actually “cook something and blog about it.” Hence the “simple visit to the farm” turns into a day long affair with camera crew recording every move… all for a minute or two of air time this Saturday, January 15, 2010. Instead of just a salad, we did two salads, a couscous dish, a chicken dish, an impromptu grilled lettuce dish, and even fooled around with a possible dessert. All of this prepared in the midst of sometimes gale force winds (I exaggerate only a little) and alternating light drizzle and rain! I knew there were no cooking facilities on the farm, so planning and logistics were a definite issue… but there’s nothing like a food challenge, right? :)


The one hectare, totally organic farm was FABULOUS. The kind of place that makes city dwellers like me wish I had a green thumb. There was a surprisingly large number greens/herbs planted on the property, and the sheer scale for such a small piece of land was a revelation for me. Every time I leaned over to get a closer glimpse of wild arugula, fennel, mint, lettuce, etc., I had visions of dishes flashing through my head! It isn’t easy to start and maintain a fully organic farm these days, but Gejo has done a remarkable job, and huge kudos to him and others like him that persevere despite the hurdles to success…


I had the chance to harvest and eat 2-3 inch long carrots, that I ate with skin and all, after a quick rinse, just seconds out of the ground. They were AMAZING. The carrot beds were so lush and green that I could almost imagine an absurd photo of Marketman in police officer worthy orange rain jacket lying flat on my back in the greens… :)


A couple of the farms’ nearly 20 member crew sorting and packing freshly picked herbs and greens. Imagine, that’s a ratio of one farmer per 500m2 of land! Talk about being labor intensive! So DON’T quibble over price for the good stuff!


Here, Marketman grilling brined chicken breasts with herbs and olive oil on our palayok burner/base, and a flat cast iron skillet/pan on top. The wind was so strong at this point that it was amazing the chicken cooked at all.


Don’t ask me how we managed to get a large platter of “bejeweled couscous” and grilled chicken breasts cooked in the middle of the uncooperative weather, but we did. I hope the KMJS crew have great editing skills, so this all looks halfway decent in the final clip shown on Saturday… :)


Gejo asked if I had tried grilling romaine, which wasn’t in the original plans, but we decided to try it… He picked a fresh head of lettuce and I pressed it down on the hot cast iron pan and drizzled it with olive oil… to really BRILLIANT results. Add a few slices of jamon serrano and we had a snack to munch on while the camera crews kept shooting each completed dish again and again and AGAIN. :)


Here a simple dish of freshly picked arugula, pickled baby (actually stunted growth) beets and goat cheese. Visually arresting, and quite delicious…


Marketman trying hard to look at home in “fields”… hahaha. I have to admit, my mud boots were essential “equipment” in the muddy conditions. I was quite sure I would lose my balance at some point during the day and fall flat on my bum, but I managed to avoid that laughing matter…


On the way back to Manila, we also passed by the Toscana Farms stand at the Caltex Station on the Sta. Rosa road. I have been buying produce from Toscana for many years now, and did a feature on their stall, here. By chance, we happened to be there when the Manager, Nacho dropped by — so he saw us filming some of the produce as well. Many thanks to Nacho and Toscana for allowing us to do that…


And finally, I will say I was asked to do several things/shots that I found a bit OTT… but I am not a producer, so I won’t second guess them. Suffice it to say I have never, ever, done live blogging from a bangko or stool in a market. Never. :) At any rate, you’ll have to watch the episode this Saturday for more on the day at the herb and produce farm. Thanks to the KMJS crew, all of whom, despite the long day, always seemed cheery and pleasant to work with. Also, a huge thanks to Gejo and his crew at Kitchen Herbs Farm for allowing me to visit and cook on their wonderful patch of heaven on earth. Thanks to Nacho of Toscana Farms as well. Thanks to my two crew members who came to help with set-up, cooking, etc. AT took many of these photos as I was cooking/prepping/etc. AB was sous-cook for the day. :) Enjoy the show…



  1. tonceq says:

    Marketman the rising star! it seems that you are “in demand” these days isn’t it? very nice adventure you had! i could only wish i was there with you standing in the lush fields! it looks heavenly (wouldn’t have mind lying on the greens as well… and then eat them afterwards as a bruised salad of sorts hehe! xp)

    looking forward to this saturday’s show! will definitely watch it!

    PS: blogging “in” the market is taking “Marketman” too literally don’t you think? hehe:)

    Jan 12, 2011 | 6:02 am


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  3. bearhug0127 says:

    Everything’s fresh! Those carrots look really good! And that plate of “bejewelled couscous” and grilled chicken breasts looked really delish plus the freshly picked arugula, pickled baby beets and goat cheese makes me hungry. The photos are amazing, too. I hope the shoot JSKM did would give you a longer airtime. Will be watching the show!

    Jan 12, 2011 | 6:40 am

  4. junb says:

    The farm is a paradise to me…I can live there forever !!!!
    Hey MM, I guess this is the only frontal shot you have !!! The mystery of Marketman reveal although we’ve seen you a no. of times in TV ….hehehehe!!!

    Jan 12, 2011 | 8:34 am

  5. Marketman says:

    junb, I did a “full frontal” in what I thought might be my goodbye post a few months ago. :) tonceq, yes MUCH too LITERAL. :)

    Jan 12, 2011 | 8:39 am

  6. Lester says:

    Hey MM!!! nice coverage of the farm!!! Your like one of the no reservations episode where bourdain really felt the strong gales!!! Looking at the picturs is like I was in veggie nirvana! hahahaha!!! Anyway, do you think it is possible to have this herb farm idea here in Metro Manila or in Metro Cebu??? (or like in UP Diliman)? And can I know the directions going to Gejo Jimenez’s Kitchen Herbs Farm??? Kudos to you MM!

    Jan 12, 2011 | 8:54 am

  7. natie says:

    oh, so green!!! and those gorgeous tomatoes! will def watch that program, MM!! what a trouper!

    Jan 12, 2011 | 8:55 am

  8. betty q. says:

    All that surrounding land…would make a really awesome COMMUNITY GARDEN!

    Jan 12, 2011 | 9:06 am

  9. Gej says:

    betty q – how does a community garden work? Love your cooking tips!

    Jan 12, 2011 | 9:33 am

  10. EbbaBlue says:

    How I wish my 1 acre of calamansi trees is as green as this. Mahirap pag-wala ako dyan sa Quezon Province.. kahit na cousin ko pa ang care-taker, hindi masyadong naalagaan ang farm. We also have santol, chico, liputi, catmon, duhat, bulala, mango kalabaw.. and plus local coconut and guava trees…Its has been 3 years since I had him planted them… pero it does not look like maganda ang mga tubo…My brother in the ministry stays in Cavite where he helps in establishing churches..naku pag-bisita ko next time.. I will ask him to take me to this place and the market too.

    Jan 12, 2011 | 10:19 am

  11. thelma says:

    gosh, i wish that i have a vegetable garden like that!
    just add fruit trees around the surrounding area,
    and an animal farm for chickens, goats, pigs, etc…
    that’s what i call self-sufficient.

    Jan 12, 2011 | 10:31 am

  12. EbbaBlue says:

    Twice I viewed the Jessica Soho’s program which supposedly your first appearance, pero ewan ko if they cut your portion, kasi talagang wala ka duon. All they have is Kris Aquino and Marian Rivera, plus another thing about how Pinoy celebrated Christmas in different provinces. And plus they showed it on a Monday midnight, then sometime again 2 days before New Year. Sana naman ngayon makita ko na itong episode na ito.

    Jan 12, 2011 | 10:36 am

  13. Marketman says:

    EbbaBlue, they may have edited it for U.S. viewers, but I only had a few seconds in that episode anyway. Actually, it was already the second time I came out. About 1.5 years ago, they did a feature on lechon and I came out there as well… :)

    Jan 12, 2011 | 11:22 am

  14. charlie says:

    Mr. MM celebrity and world famous pinoy food blogger. Just asked Anthony Bourdain in the airport the other day, he still remembers’ you!!!!

    Jan 12, 2011 | 11:32 am

  15. yel says:

    I wanna visit this farm. Thanks MM!

    Jan 12, 2011 | 11:43 am

  16. sonny sj says:

    MM is fast becoming a celebrity indeed! When is the Fan’s Day? :D

    Jan 12, 2011 | 11:51 am

  17. May Uy says:

    sarap! i dream of having a farm too :) will surely watch this on Saturday, thanks MM! :)

    Jan 12, 2011 | 2:12 pm

  18. Peach says:

    The carrot tops look so clean and fuzzy :-) Salad looks amazing! Nice color!
    Best shot of all is the blogging-by-the-palengke shot!!! Too funny!!

    Jan 12, 2011 | 3:07 pm

  19. Dinah says:

    My fave food blogger on my fave show! Will be sure to watch again. although super bitin yung episode re your christmas gingerbread house ;-)

    Jan 12, 2011 | 4:29 pm

  20. solraya says:

    After people experience pesticide free vegetables, that they can eat after just brushing them on their pants, tasting the sweet juices….they will appreciate the natural farming practices :)

    Jan 12, 2011 | 4:50 pm

  21. millet says:

    i want to get my hands on some arugula right now after seeing that picture of the grilled stuff..that looks awesome! MM, alll you need is one radio interview and you’re worthy to be called the “king of all media”!

    Jan 12, 2011 | 5:57 pm

  22. dren says:

    The illusion of the umbrella (on the first picture) standing by itself is amusing.

    Jan 12, 2011 | 7:06 pm

  23. Maria Isabel Rodrigo says:

    Now I would kid my husband George to puhlease set us up some spare farm areas for my gourmet vegetables concoctions!

    Jan 12, 2011 | 7:28 pm

  24. Leah says:

    The salad looks stunning! And am sure is as delicious as it looks. How I wish I could settle down in a farm soon. More power to you, MM!

    Jan 12, 2011 | 8:15 pm

  25. fanny says:

    Those tomatoes are mouth watering! Living in Manila, fantasy lang ang magkaroon ng farm. So I planted a few pots of herbs on our roof top. Before I cook I go on the deck and pick the herbs I need. Gives me a feel of my fantasy. hehehe! I will definitely watch this episode and have told my friends to watch it, too. Sana you get more air time.

    Bettyq, sana mayroon community garden dito sa Manila, maybe on government properties that are vacant. How does community garden work?

    Jan 12, 2011 | 8:17 pm

  26. marilen says:

    Just great to to see and read about people who grow them organically. Thanks, MM, for your continued role in bringing all points of interest together.

    Jan 12, 2011 | 8:39 pm

  27. joey says:

    Ah the Kapuso shoot! Wow, looks like you definitely got a lot done…your segment will be very interesting I’m sure. All that you prepared above sound fantastic…I’m loving the colors on that beet salad and I want to try that grilled lettuce! Mmmm!

    I really have to check out Mercato Centrale soon!

    Jan 12, 2011 | 9:50 pm

  28. kasseopeia says:

    That, to me, was gulay heaven. =)

    Jan 12, 2011 | 10:04 pm

  29. kayenne says:

    never tried grilled romaine – looks like a great idea… is it grilled quickly, until just having char marks, or until wilted? looks good to try chopped with couscous and roasted peppers. consequently, i keep a box of couscous at the office for a quick meal anytime.

    it’s been awhile since i’ve been to tagaytay… we always drop by mr moo’s and toscana – love their tomatoes! can’t wait til the peak of tomato season, buying up lots for oven-roasting! great with anything or just to snack on.

    Jan 12, 2011 | 10:50 pm

  30. rosedmd says:

    MM, You are definitely a CELEBRITY !!!! i need to get your autograph next time i see you…..several years ago, when i started reading this blog, (which i discovered just googling “foodie in the Phil”) i was soooooooooooo curious with how you look like.Back then, you never do a “Frontal”.remember, you had a charity thing.. for feeding program in cebu.you sell ornaments. i got the chance to feed my curiosity , when i pickd up my ornament at mega.well now, i am sooooooooo hooked with your blog and sooooooooooo familiar with your face. that, if given a chance to bump into you one of these days, i hope not to forget to ask for an autograph! hahaha!

    Jan 12, 2011 | 11:12 pm

  31. betty q. says:

    Gej…please end me an e-mail…MM, could you please forward it to Gej? This Jan. 30, we have a AGM. Best resource person on how to start a commnity garden is our Treasurer. She is one of the oldies who started the Garden a long time ago. I will ask her to send you an e-mail. It would be really awesome if here is one there. Howver to make it work, you have to have people who are committed to maintaining the garden. There are no paid people who will do the work. it is manned by volunteers…say for instance you need to put water pipes in, people who have the know-how form teams and help in digging. Also, here, GVRD has a huge piece of land that is zoned as agricultural. Anyway, members pay about $15 per plot for usage of a 10 by 25 ft. plot. The money obtained is used to buy equipment or manure. It ( the plot) is enough to plant soooo many vegetables or flowers if you do not have access to green space at home. With that plot, provided you do successive plantings throughout the season, your produce grocery bill will be $0!!!! My family DO NOT EAT FLOWERS( though I have introduced it to them…the edible ones!) so I have vegetables galore throughout the season.

    The community garden is also a great way to bring people together …we all have skills to share and contribute…like the BAYANIHAN concept! If there is land there which is in under the say for instance township of Tanuan, Batanggas, I would suggest to get hold of your local councillor and make a proposal.

    Jan 13, 2011 | 1:24 am

  32. EbbaBlue says:

    BettyQ, that is a very neat idea.. and it is someting like what they do in some elementary schools in Quezon Province; the students plant veggies in the school yard, and the harvest time is just in time of closing of classes, so the children get to pick the produce and bring them to their homes. I wanted to do the same thing to my bible class students – send them the okra seeds that I have gathered from my own litle plot, plus giant sunflower seeds (which they were clamoring from me). The Barangay kagawad is going to distribute them for planting (green beautification program) – and we are calling them: Gulay at iba pa Along the Riles. By the way, how do you eat fresh beets? I always use the canned ones for the Pinoy Chicken Macaroni Salad.

    Jan 13, 2011 | 6:20 am

  33. Mimi says:

    Marketmanila blog tv? Some producer out there should produce your blog in tv format, I can imagine it being a gazillion times better than Life on a Plate. I am definitely ‘hungry’ to see the Philippines through your point of view.

    Jan 13, 2011 | 9:40 am

  34. Ejit says:

    I just saw the commercial for Saturday’s show and you are included on it with full face. I wont miss this show.

    Jan 13, 2011 | 1:20 pm

  35. Anna says:

    Ebbablue – I saw the episode and Marketman was not edited out…kaso nga lang it was very quick. I don’t think it was longer than a minute.

    I love grilled romaine. Saw Bobby Flay do it on his show a couple of times so I wanted to try it out. So simple yet so good!

    Jan 13, 2011 | 3:18 pm

  36. Tess Mercado says:

    Mr. MM para kang si Jamie Oliver!

    Jan 13, 2011 | 4:11 pm

  37. ted says:

    @Ebbablue, I saw that KMJS episode here in Northern Californa and MM had his 5-10 seconds of fame showing his remarkable gingerbread house. BettyQ how was your excelente ham?

    Jan 14, 2011 | 3:32 am

  38. betty q. says:

    Hey, Bud!…long time no hear! The ham turned out excellent! I reduced the prague powder to maximum dosage allowed for 12 pounds of boneless pigue….followed the sugar/salt cure proportions you sent me. I followed Michael Ruhlman’s dosage of the prague powder..to 3 to 4 tsp. and ham has that pinkish tinge. Howver, I simmered it in COKE Classic and added the 5 spice mix I bought at the Asian store…it comes in a 2 pack catcha. Next time, I will look for the brand and let you know. I also use that spice mix for Pho and BBQ”D duck noodle broth. Needless to say, it was the highlight of my sister’s get together at her place. I even had pan de sal to go with it and cheese!

    Jan 14, 2011 | 5:49 am

  39. Sands says:

    Your blogging from the bangko comment really cracked me up. The things you do for TV. =) I’ll definitely watch the show on Sat.

    Jan 14, 2011 | 11:04 am

  40. Val says:

    hope market man could food blog sweet potato recipes someday…thanks!

    Jan 15, 2011 | 9:28 pm

  41. Nacho says:

    Hi MM, It was a stroke of luck seeing you at our store with the GMA7 crew. I can finally put a face to the blogger who has been writing nothing but good things about our produce. However I am surprised that it seems you have not visited our farm yet, one of these days please do so. This way I can introduce you to our staff and you can get a sampling of some of the experiments we do, you would be a perfect critic for the new varieties we are constantly experimenting with.

    Jan 18, 2011 | 11:04 am

  42. Marketman says:

    Nacho, I would love to see your farm. I don’t go out of my way to request visits, I generally blog about things I happen to see, taste, experience in the natural course of my day… But considering how many hundreds of kilos of tomatoes and bell peppers I have purchased from your stall and happily consumed, I would like to see them growing at the source. Serendipity is a hallmark of the blog… Will contact you to arrange a mutually convenient time… many thanks for your offer. :)

    Jan 18, 2011 | 3:11 pm

  43. dante esperanza says:

    sir, magkano po ang per kilo ng seedling ng siling labuyo at saan area po kayo

    May 22, 2012 | 7:27 pm


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