29 Apr2010


A few hours ago MM was picking strawberries in the seriously muddy fields of La Trinidad, Benguet, after a spectacular hour long visit to the La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post nearby. I ate a strawberry seconds after picking it and the taste was FANTASTIC. That was about five minutes before I saw them spraying the berry fields with evil pesticides just a few hundred meters away… :(


The backlog of food posts is getting longer and longer but I buy my internet time by the minute here so you will have to hold tight for another day or so until I manage to get back to my desk and start churning out posts. So much to write about, so little time!

Photos taken by AT.



  1. joyce says:

    egads pesticides! *sigh* id rather imperfect pesticide free produce rather than perfect ones any day although organic produce can be a tad bit pricey.

    will be waiting for the new MM posts :) will there be a post on coffee since you’re in benguet?

    Apr 29, 2010 | 12:24 pm


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  3. Mimi says:

    Oh no! Never eat strawberries without washing them! I read an article sometime ago about a child getting major sick due to eating unwashed strawberries. Hope you did not eat a whole bunch.

    Apr 29, 2010 | 12:28 pm

  4. chreylle says:

    elo MM!! at long last, a least i saw a glimpse of u :D

    Apr 29, 2010 | 12:32 pm

  5. Bubut says:

    oh we have the same baller id (1st photo) ! nice shots MM…

    Apr 29, 2010 | 1:11 pm

  6. chrisb says:

    That’s a bummer! But I don’t know what could be worse- seeing them spray insecticide or seeing them spray organic, albeit improperly composted chicken manure, which was the cause of at least 1 salmonella outbreak from strawberries in the US a few years back (and improperly washed as well, apparently).

    Apr 29, 2010 | 1:21 pm

  7. calorie-shmalorie says:

    I’ve been wondering about the Baguio strawberries lately.. i buy them here in Laguna, happy to get them firm and relatively unbruised in the styro and cling wrap packaging they come in. I stick them in the refrigerator, forget about them for a few days.. and when i open the pack, they’re still the same! Then it dawned on me – could they be giving it a formalin bath?? Traders have been known to do this with vegetables, tomatoes especially. If your tomato doesnt ripen and subsequently rot in a few days of sitting on your counter, then it surely has been given a special bath.

    Apr 29, 2010 | 1:54 pm

  8. Lex says:

    What do you expect? We live in a country with one of the most complete bug collections on earth!!!! Pesticides or bug ridden fruits for us….. It is great to go organic until you realize the interesting fertilizer that goes into the soil. Unless our farmers grow crops in completely enclosed greenhouses it will be difficult to get completely bug free fruits and vegetables. There are just some plants that are totally susceptible to insects. Tried growing tomatoes and okra in the garden before. Tomatoes were almost immediately infested with borers. Read about a remedy of using nylon stockings to protect them. Believe it or not they went through the nylon. I was successful with okra. Certainly enjoyed fresh sweet harvested compared to old, stringy supermarket type. Sometimes we may be better off not knowing what happens to our food supply.

    Apr 29, 2010 | 1:57 pm

  9. ntgerald says:

    When I did the eat all you can pick strawberries in Pennsylvania, there were deer grazing nearby and even droppings in the strawberry patch, so I was quite sure they were safe to eat. Or maybe, whatever resides were not enough to kill deer, lol….

    Apr 29, 2010 | 2:49 pm

  10. Lilibeth says:

    Freshly picked strawberries are indeed super sweeeet! I’m planning on growing my own strawberry patch after I ate some from a friend’s strawberry patch and found out they tasted so sweet, there was no need to add sugar. I guess strawberries are at their sweetest when eaten straight from the plant.

    Apr 29, 2010 | 3:03 pm

  11. Jake Speed says:

    Talking about pesticides, I recently stumbled on a blog stating what the most pesticide laden produce are. I tried ‘googling’ again and found this link, http://www.foodnews.org/EWG-shoppers-guide-download-final.pdf , wherein it lists the top 12 fruits and vegetables that you would better off buy organic. Hope this helps on your food buying preference.

    Apr 29, 2010 | 3:25 pm

  12. edel says:

    my daughter & i also enjoyed the strawberry farm at La Trinidad recently but i told her not to eat it until we’re safely back in Baguio (and washing the strawberries).. hehe

    heard from a friend that per kilo of strawberries at The Farm now costs P200? when we were there last March its only P150 and lettuce costs P50/3 heads…. there’s also an abundance of blueberries in Baguio Market

    if you’re still in Baguio MM, try the cakes at the Tea House.. there’s a branch inside SM and another one in Lower Session Road.. there’s also a yummy asado bread from Danes Bakery (near McDo Lower Session Road) and it costs only P12/bun.. great pasalubong =)

    Apr 29, 2010 | 4:05 pm

  13. Tonito says:

    I noticed that you’re wearing your watch on your right wrist. Are you by chance, left-handed?

    Apr 29, 2010 | 4:24 pm

  14. Brian Asis says:

    I feel your frustration MM, about wanting to write so many things but so little time to do so. I wonder what your baller band read… hmmm…

    Apr 29, 2010 | 4:42 pm

  15. Jing_Bacolod says:

    go ahead, after the “Balamban Liempo” rant…you deserve a break….:)

    Apr 29, 2010 | 4:50 pm

  16. Sarah says:

    Wish I could go strawberry picking in La Trinidad too… Manila has been terribly hot lately.

    Apr 29, 2010 | 5:11 pm

  17. Deedee says:

    How come fresh strawberries smell and taste like guava? I seldom had that pleasure of eating ripe strawberries that smell and taste like strawberry preserves or jam.


    Apr 29, 2010 | 5:32 pm

  18. sister says:

    Yes, look at Jake’s list. Strawberries, spinach, lettuces, are all very highly sprayed with insecticide so they can come to you looking pretty. Apples, pears, green peppers, tomatoes as well. Washing takes very little of it off, peeling a little bit more. Rather frightening, but what’s on the organic produce? Grow your own I suppose or stop worrying…

    Apr 29, 2010 | 5:39 pm

  19. Marketman says:

    Sarah, it wasn’t too cool in Baguio today, around 70-80F, but it rained buckets for an hour so its still nice and cool compared to Manila! Jing, the rant displaced two rants I was hoping to write before I left Manila… :) Brian, you don’t win a prize for guessing that right. :) Tonito, oddly, I have just preferred to wear my watch on my right wrist, despite being right-handed, and have done that since I was in my teens, so now I can’t imagine wearing it on my left wrist. edel, yes PHP200 now, but the guy let us get 1.2 kilos for that amount… Jake, thanks for that link! ntgerald… did you notice if deer droppings tasted kinda sweet? :) I’m kidding. Lex, I agree that there’s a lot going on at the source we don’t know much about. But now that I have seen some of the sources, I am getting more sensitive to how healthy the produce really is… calorie, yikes! chrisb, I suspect large growers in the U.S. also use insecticides… Bubut, I was partially in Benguet to give the ballers out. I figure we handed out our 4 or 5,000th baller/sticker/etc. as part of our private support for Noy/Mar but more on that in another post (have visited TONS of markets in the past week)… Mimi, I only ate one. And now its many hours later and I seem to be fine. :) Joyce, watch out for those organic worms like the ones I often find in our organic produce…

    Apr 29, 2010 | 5:41 pm

  20. bambini says:

    Dear Market Man,
    I wear my watch on my right wrist too, started doing so when I was Gr. 6. I guess it was due to wanting to know the time while I was taking a test or taking down notes. Multitasking at such an early age…:)

    Apr 29, 2010 | 6:43 pm

  21. denise says:

    ah the strawberry fields with more lettuce growing on it :D

    MM, did you go to the “black market” of Baguio Central Market? I bought a kilo of lollo rossa lettuce there for PHP50! (it was one big plastic bag the size of the garbage plastic bag)

    Apr 29, 2010 | 7:01 pm

  22. millet says:

    MM, you’re not supposed to ever, ever eat benguet strawberries right after picking. aside from the pesticides, you’re not sure about the water they use. one time i saw a woman repeatedly dip a bucket into a nearby ditch, and splashed the water all over the plants.

    Apr 29, 2010 | 7:13 pm

  23. hunter cruz says:

    i was frequently in la trinidad when i was growing up and i am friends with a lot of actual farmers/gardeners. they tell me that those poisonous pesticides/fungicides/herbicides definitely increase their income that is why they have no second thought spraying those things on most of their produce. however, they themselves are aware of the dangers of this chemicals and they don’t eat the vegetables/fruits they spray. they always have some small plots planted with the vegetables/fruits that are not sprayed but are reserved for their private consumption. the trick is to ask the vendors/farmers/gardeners about these products that they themselves eat (may look uglier but definitely healthier). that has been my strategy whey I but vegetables and found them all to willing to share these to anyone who ask.

    Apr 29, 2010 | 7:17 pm

  24. millet says:

    if you’re still in baguio, i wish you could visit the garden that supplies organic veggies to Baguio’s top hotels and restaurants. their set meal is delicious. i can’t remember the name now, but the place is in la trinidad, near the tam-awan artists’ village.

    Apr 29, 2010 | 7:26 pm

  25. Rona Y says:

    When I was in Baguio about a year ago, I thought the strawberries were horrible! It was March/April, so they weren’t in season (I guess), but after eating perfectly ripened strawberries from Japan, it was hard to eat a strawberry that tasted like cardboard.

    I feel the same way about strawberries in the US and Canada now. I think I might have to grow my own!

    BTW, there’s a restaurant in La Trinidad called Eve’s Garden. They grow all their own vegetables organically, and the owner even took us on a tour of it. It’s a beautiful location, though a bit difficult to get to without a car of your own (the taxi charged us an arm and a leg to get out there!). Other than the salads which are amazingly beautiful, the rest of the food is just OK, but I think it’s still a worthwhile visit. Reservation only, and sometimes they close just because they feel like it!

    Apr 29, 2010 | 7:32 pm

  26. Lee says:

    “Let me take you down ’cause I’m going to Strawberry Fields, nothing is real and nothing to get hung about. Strawberry Fields forever.” What the Beatles might have meant by “nothing is real” is that nothing is “real” or organic. “Nothing to get hung about” would mean you won’t get stoned by eating, sniffing, injecting strawberries. “Strawberry Fields forever” would then mean that the fields will still be there with pesticide mutated strawberries when the pesticide affected human race goes extinct. It does not end there, the Beatles, due to the effect of whatever hallucinogen they were on, had foreseen Marketman’s experience hence the song continues with… “Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see.” Had Marketman’s eyes been not open he would not have seen the fields sprayed with pesticides..

    Apr 29, 2010 | 8:36 pm

  27. Marketman says:

    Didn’t get to the organic vegetable garden or Eve’s. But I forgot to mention it has been raining heavily in Baguio so I ate a strawberry just after a night of heavy rain, and I am hoping that cleaned off the berries a bit… :(

    Apr 29, 2010 | 8:36 pm

  28. Gardenerd says:

    hello. i’m using an ozonizer on the water which i soaked my fruits and vegetables in to get rid of pesticides and dirt.

    Apr 29, 2010 | 8:37 pm

  29. Marketman says:

    Lee, haha, you must have been typing that as I was typing my last comment. A bit of a “stretch” if I may say so myself. But yes, funny how a song and its name can be so memorable.

    Apr 29, 2010 | 8:41 pm

  30. Cynthia says:

    Jake – – I came across that handy list a while ago and have been using it to determine whether to buy organic or not. It’s unfortunate that cherries, peaches, strawberries and bell peppers come under the “high pesticide” category.

    Apr 29, 2010 | 10:28 pm

  31. tiger says:

    i like your xxxxxx watch (sorry tiger, I deleted the brand name… didn’t think that was discernable… thanks, MM).

    Apr 30, 2010 | 12:42 am

  32. Claro says:

    Before there was a Silicon Valley, there were orchards and fields. The Santa Clara Valley was know as the Valley of the Heart’s Delights. Back in the day, there was one farmer who didn’t sell his land. Next door to them is a company that specializes in designs and production. At any rate, the farmer would grow everything from strawberries to flowers. The farmer even opened a roadside stand. Reading in the paper, the company wanted to buy some land. The farmer refused. The kicker was that the strawberries he was growing were well known for size and quality. It turned out that they thrived on the heated air from the company’s buildings. The best part was reading that his return customers were employees from that company.

    Apr 30, 2010 | 5:25 am

  33. stethacp says:

    I am in Baguio too MM. But I haven’t gone to Strawberry farm just yet. Enjoying the weather here! Enjoy your vacation MM!

    Apr 30, 2010 | 7:28 am

  34. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    Here’s another list – “The New Dirty Dozen” of pesticide laden fruits and vegetables


    Apr 30, 2010 | 7:55 am

  35. Cris Jose says:

    I think there has been an advisory from PAG-ASA not to bathe in the rain… due to pollution (acid rain)… so I wouldn’t trust to eat the newly rained upon stawberries, MM. Good thing you only ate one. :)

    Apr 30, 2010 | 9:38 am

  36. Jake Speed says:

    It’s always good to know what are the most pesticide laden fruits and vegetables. There are people whose bodies have trouble detoxifying their bodies naturally so it’s best for them to take caution and buy organic with regards to these foods. Infants and young children, who have bodies and brains that are still developing should, in fact, not be given these foods and be given the organic ones instead. Ditto with people who have asthma and those that are susceptible to allergies. Hope this helps.

    Apr 30, 2010 | 10:55 am

  37. junb says:

    I’m taking a long weekend to plant my own vegetable :) ……

    Apr 30, 2010 | 11:32 am

  38. thelma says:

    this is the type of strawberry plant that i have in my garden.
    they’re really sweet and delicious. everyday, i can get
    enough for our cereal and for shake….

    Apr 30, 2010 | 12:43 pm

  39. Jing_Bacolod says:

    at Market Manila im learning everyday….salamat guid. :)

    Apr 30, 2010 | 1:16 pm

  40. sgboy says:

    hi MM!

    i know this is a total detour & offtopic, but care to share some of your insights about
    your candidate of choice(pres. & senate) & how you will associate them with food or any local produce… i think itl be a VERRRRRYYY funny post.


    Apr 30, 2010 | 1:51 pm

  41. vicki2 says:

    Wait, did you tell us where you were in that post that asked where we thought you were? Or did I miss it?

    Apr 30, 2010 | 3:00 pm

  42. ingrid says:

    wow strawberry farm at La Trinidad! we were there last Sunday! if you pick your own strawberries they will charge you 180-250 pesos per kilo but if you buy the pre-picked ones 90 pesos per kilo which you can pick from a big basket. :) did you try picking the broccoli by yourself too? Broccoli picking is free and they will charge you 100 pesos per kilo.

    Weather in Baguio was not that cold when we were there.

    I can’t wait for your post about the Baguio market or any market along the way that you stopped by (Villasis) (if you’re going to have one) :)

    Apr 30, 2010 | 5:08 pm

  43. Dennis says:

    Nice legs :)

    Apr 30, 2010 | 10:24 pm

  44. Lannie says:

    Hello MM. I’m a ‘lurker’ of your blog; been visiting on and off for 2 years now :)
    I could not resist showing this post to my husband. You see, hubby has taken to growing our own strawberries in our back garden. We don’t have a dedicated area for it or anything but for the past 3 years now, the same plant has been thriving each summer and my husband covers it pa with netting and all that to prevent the birds from devouring them.

    They’re not plenty but they are the sweetest, pesticide-free! strawberries you’ll ever eat!

    Apr 30, 2010 | 10:35 pm

  45. Jessy says:

    AND…sexy calves!

    May 1, 2010 | 1:21 am

  46. edee says:

    my strawberries are flowering now, hoping for a better yield than last year, keeping my fingers cross, i grow them in pots as i don’t have a big garden, i’m getting excited now cos it’s sowing and planting time, really nothing beats eating your own produce and eating them minutes after they’re harvested, we’ve been feasting on purple broccolli this couple of weeks now, yum :)

    May 1, 2010 | 5:05 am

  47. irma celdran says:

    hello, marketman. thank you for your blogs about coron, palawan. does coron village lodge has a landline number or cellphone or emaill address ?. my family and i are planning to visit the place .

    please reply.

    thanks and regards.


    May 1, 2010 | 8:22 am

  48. Marketman says:

    edee, how cool to be growing your own berries… many decades ago, we tried to grow strawberries in Quezon City, in our front yard, but I don’t think they bore many fruit… Ingrid, didn’t stop at Villasis, but we did get to the vegetable trading post in Benguet. vicki2, no net yet… BACKLOG of posts! :) sgboy, hahaha, not likely, imagine if I associated one candidate with a vegetable that they didn’t think appropriate? I got enough flack for describing pork as fatty, what more if I say a candidate strikes me as a genetically modified carrot? Hahaha.

    May 1, 2010 | 9:14 am

  49. Gej says:

    How was the Trading Post, MM? Or will it be a future blog post?

    May 1, 2010 | 9:45 am

  50. Marketman says:

    Gej, it was great, and yes, subject for a future post…. IRMA, try 09081089772 for Coron Village Lodge or I believe they have a website now. Jessie and Dennis, when you have a large stomach, take a picture of less fatty legs… hahaha. Trust me, I have FAT. :)

    May 1, 2010 | 9:54 am

  51. solraya says:

    I thought there was a stretch for organic strawberries. But it will be hard to do so if the neighbors spray on their patches. BTW, most pesticides are systemic. Meaning they get into the system of the plant so washing isn’t the answer :(

    As much as you can, grow your own food, even in containers :)

    May 1, 2010 | 10:25 am

  52. Sabrina says:

    Strawberries are my absolute favorite! A very versatile fruit indeed, you can have it for dessert or toss it in a savory salad.

    Anyway, I noticed that Baguio Strawberries have been pretty big, plump and sweet lately plus it’s a fraction of the cost of the imported ones so you can’t go wrong with that. What did i do? I bought a load of it and made a pie! http://sinfullysabrina.wordpress.com/category/recipes/desserts/

    Thanks Market man for letting me know about La Trinidad! It’s a definite must-go for me!

    May 1, 2010 | 8:19 pm

  53. Bel says:

    One of my favorite food-related experiences was sleeping in a ground floor bedroom with sliding doors that opened out within a meter or two from the family’s strawberry patch. This was in Japan and when I found out what were outside the door, I couldn’t wait for morning to come. We picked some the next day with a bowl of water on the ready for swirling the strawberries about before popping them into our mouths. Interestingly, a friend of the family I stayed with was growing tilapia. They were more interested in the fish than in the berries.

    No strawberry pies for me, though they’re probably delish. It’s more than enough to cool them in the fridge, then dip them in hot, dark chocolate. Add whipped cream or ice cream and almond slivers, and I do believe this could qualify for my last supper, if ever I’m lucky enough to have the luxury of enjoying one before I go.

    May 2, 2010 | 9:41 am


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