04 Aug2009

kanlaon2

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you would know that I have a weakness for frais de bois, or little ‘wild’ strawberries, which you can get in some places in North America and Europe, and more reliably in France and Italy at the right time of year. I have done posts on them before, here and here. So imagine to my utter surprise, when on our first night in Bacolod, we were presented with a plastic bag containing about a kilo of these goodies. After the slight heart palpitations, I can say I was truly shocked! Wow. I have no idea how these berries first made it to the lush foothills of Mt. Kanlaon, but I would suspect that they first came as cultivated varieties decades ago and have since localized or adapted to the weather by turning back to their wilder roots… These were small, tart and incredibly flavorful. Fantastic find, if you ask me. But locals were practically nonplussed…

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My host had asked some friends, local residents and organic farmers (will feature them separately), to bring over whatever unusual produce they could gather up, and this was only one of a dozen goodies that they brought our way that evening. These particular berries came from a nearly 200 hectare totally organic cooperative/farm in Barangay Yubo, La Carlotta, in the foothills of Mt. Kanlaon. They arrived with their vines still attached. A few berries were squished from being transported on foot (an hour’s walk!) to the nearest vehicle pick-up point then driven into town, roughly an hour away. My immediate reaction after tasting these gems?

kanlaon1

Wild strawberry preserves. Rich creamy ice cream speckled with wild strawberries. Desserts studded with berries. Wow! And at roughly PHP100 a kilo at the source, this was an absolute STEAL. With proper packing and transport, I am certain I could find eager “homes” for these berries in Manila (shops, restaurants and private buyers). Gosh, if only we had more efficient distribution systems for produce in this country, there are just so many amazing ingredients available in the far corners of the archipelago!

kanlaon3

These berries were tarter than their European relatives, but tart can be good for certain uses. And while our guests thought we were on crack since we were so enthusiastic by this first find, my host immediately plonked a few berries into UHT whipping cream (the only thing at hand), added a little sugar and we all had a few… YUM.

kanlaon5

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Maria Clara says:

    The strawberry growers of Mt. Kanlaon are one of my unsung heroes. Big hail to them! After a backbreaking day tending to their patch comes harvest time they have to go through on foot journey to get their produce at the marketplace. Not only they have an aching back now but also foot problems. I can picture the footpath they go through. It is dirt ravine with full of valleys and slopes and comes rainy season it is a slippery trek. It will be good government intervention if our government builds refrigerated warehouse to extend the life of our produce giving the consumers their much awaited fresh produce instead of wilted and limpy ones that passed their prime time and more monetary incentives to the growers. We are all victims of our government malfeasance through this meager way – poor road and bridges and in some parts of the archipelago no electrical power and running water.

    Aug 4, 2009 | 5:16 am

     
  2. sanojmd says:

    that’s blood cheap! 100php a kilo??! MM, is that only locally grown in Mt. Kanlaon? is it comparable to the ones you have tasted overseas? the seeds were also red just like the produce you have featured way back.. unlike the bigger versions which are speckled white.. btw, an early post, you keep missing the “w” on the strawberries.. maybe you are still half-asleep while typing this post.. hehe

    Aug 4, 2009 | 5:17 am

     
  3. Marketman says:

    sanojmd, thanks for catching that, I have edited the post. :)

    Aug 4, 2009 | 6:10 am

     
  4. betty q. says:

    MM: would they be interested in cultivating the YELLOW ALPINE STRAWBERRIES? I find that the yellow ones are far sweeter the their cousins…the red ones. I have a bed of the Yellow ones and by far, they are really good. Another upside…it seems that the birds don’t particularly care for the yellow ones. They leave them alone unlike the red Totem ones, they have a distinct liking for them!

    Since Alpine strawberries do not produce RUNNERS, they are propagated by seeds!

    Aug 4, 2009 | 6:31 am

     
  5. natie says:

    amazing find, and YUM!! they smell so good too….

    a little funding and training and the growers could probably start berry jam/jelly/preserves business, just like the trappists in guimaras.

    Aug 4, 2009 | 6:46 am

     
  6. thelma says:

    these little strawberries are by far better than the bigger variety. i wouls love to make strawberry jam with the ones
    that you have in those pictures!

    i haven’t found yellow straberries sold in the market! bettyq,
    are they small like the ones on mm’s pictures?

    Aug 4, 2009 | 8:23 am

     
  7. DADD-F says:

    Hmmm…strawberries are good. I just made some strawberry ice cream for my son’s birthday…yum!

    Yellow strawberries??? That’s a new one for me. Do you think it will grow here betty q.? By the way betty q., I’ve been sending you email about 2 weeks ago with one particularly longish. Have you received any of them?

    Nice to visit this website again. :)

    Aug 4, 2009 | 8:44 am

     
  8. joey says:

    Amazing! Wild strawberries right here? Gosh I am sure we are growing so much that could benefit from, as you mentioned, a better distribution system…these would be sold out with back orders like a Birkin! And yes, I can imagine some private buyers who would definitely be interested!

    Aug 4, 2009 | 9:59 am

     
  9. joanie says:

    Mr. MM, its nice to see you on travel channel tonight–Anthony Bourdain: No Reservation-Philippines rerun.

    Aug 4, 2009 | 10:17 am

     
  10. betty q. says:

    Yes, Thelma, they are PUNY (compared to the ones from California that looks like they were on steroids!) BUT THEY ARE PACKED with flavour!!! The yellow ones are really really really SWEET!!! No one in the Garden makes PANSIN my yellow alpine strawberries…not even the BIRDS!

    Yes, DADD-F: if it grows in MT. Kanlaon, then it wil grow there. BTW, what kind of climate does Mt. Kanlaon have? As I have said, they do not grow runners…so you have to plant the seeds.Get this…it also comes in WHITE!!! I do not know what the White Alpine Strawberries taste like. But if I find the seeds,…I thnk Gurney’s has them!

    Since they do not grow out of control and goes everywhere, it makes a nice border on your landscape.

    Aug 4, 2009 | 10:34 am

     
  11. Fabian M says:

    Kanlaon Strawberries. :) Thanks for posting. Another motivating factor to visit Kanlaon. :D

    Aug 4, 2009 | 10:54 am

     
  12. betty q. says:

    There must be a GAZILLION strawberries blanketing the foothills of Mt. Kanlaon that they even picked the immature green berries! I know it is a PAIN to pick the PUNY RIPE ONES one by one!!!!

    Aug 4, 2009 | 11:02 am

     
  13. Lee says:

    Ako taga Negros and i can see the great Mt. Kanlaon but not have had her strawberries…

    Aug 4, 2009 | 11:59 am

     
  14. bagito says:

    yellow strawberries, betty q? and white ones, too? wow, never seen those in my entire life. unfortunately, i’ve seen and tasted the bland ones that are as big as my fist. thank goodness for whipped cream, hehe.

    Aug 4, 2009 | 12:16 pm

     
  15. botchok says:

    Currently watching the No Reservation- Philippines rerun. Seeing Anthony and MM eat lechon, forget about strawberries. I miss lechon so much!!!

    Aug 4, 2009 | 12:59 pm

     
  16. Rose5 says:

    I’ve seen these strawberries in Sudlon, Toledo during my elem days…They just grow there unattended and me & my cousins used to picked and eat them with gusto…Lots of passion fruit also during that time and we dont even eat those passion fruits before but just played with them, its not even for sale before you can just picked the frutis by the streets…

    Aug 4, 2009 | 1:40 pm

     
  17. katwinamawie says:

    bettq, Mt. Kanlaon seems to have rainy season all throughout the year… hahaha.. mt. kanlaon has a cool climate, that’s why it grows the best vegetables and fruits… i think… :)

    Aug 4, 2009 | 2:09 pm

     
  18. DADD-F says:

    Yep betty q. Mt. Kanlaon has a very cool temperature, bordering on the cold (based on my “personal” thermometer)–pwera na lang how much it has been affected, if it has been already, ng global warming.

    White strawberries??? Now, that’s something. Can you bring seeds when you come home? :)

    Aug 4, 2009 | 3:06 pm

     
  19. betty q. says:

    Hay, naku…Ms. Dadd-F: what am I talking about…DUH to me! That is why these strawberries are called ALPINE! Pasensiya na…I am getting sleepy! OK…don’t bank on these strawberries like the size of Bagito’s fist! They are only the size of raspberries or just a tad smaller.

    Of course I can bring back the seeds…huwag lang ma confiscate sa customs. If I cannot bring them back, I will ask my sister!

    Marisse: you know the seeds for your bacon I sent you? If you still have some, scatter the seeds on loose planting mix. You don’t need a big space in your garden. It can grow in buckets. The fennel is a perennial. But keep the fennel away form certain plants like aspapragus. They don’t like each other! I think the caraway is a perennial as well. This way, you can be assured of ample supply.

    Aug 4, 2009 | 4:02 pm

     
  20. betty q. says:

    What did you do with the green berries. MM? If you still have them, how about turning them into salsa fresca or even a spicy chutney…I have an excellent chutney recipe that uses immature underipe fruits. Anything that doesn’t ripen come fall, i turn them into chutneys!

    Aug 4, 2009 | 4:49 pm

     
  21. Marketman says:

    bettyq, I didn’t bring any berries back to Manila… Rose5, are you referring to Sudlon, Toledo in Western Cebu? They had the wild berries there too? That’s really cool. Lee, you have to try these, they are a treasure from your almost “backyard.”

    Aug 5, 2009 | 8:16 am

     
  22. Jun b says:

    Yes MM if only if we have an efficient transportation for food chain like the japanese we will never have to import at all.

    Aug 5, 2009 | 10:06 am

     
  23. tesa says:

    I’ve been a regular reader and i love reading your articles. Uhm correction lang po I think it’s Brgy. Yubo, La Carlota City I’ve spent my childhood in that city but I’ve never heard of Brgy. Yuko po. God Bless!

    Aug 5, 2009 | 2:36 pm

     
  24. Marketman says:

    tesa, thank you, will edit the post, I am sure my notes are nearly illegible due to the euphoria of seeing so much fantastic produce… :)

    Aug 5, 2009 | 2:53 pm

     
  25. Gener says:

    I have seen this strawberries in the mountains near baguio city too, they are found mostly on the cliff which is barely accessible except kids who are willing enough to get them. they are actually sweet compare to its cultured cousins, when this is red ripe enough, its hollow inside and you can actually press it to flat..its my moms favourite flavor for her strawberry pie,,wild strawberries….

    Aug 5, 2009 | 9:46 pm

     
  26. atbnorge says:

    Just a couple of days more and I’ll be berry picking!!! Tapos na ang strawberry season; blueberries naman at saka loganberries. It’s so nice to find such berries there in the Philippines….Kailan kaya tutubo ang mangga at bayabas dito sa northern hemisphere?

    Aug 6, 2009 | 6:57 pm

     
  27. Rose5 says:

    Yes MM, Sudlon, Toledo,Cebu … Used to go there during summer with my cousins and during that time it was sooo cold up there. I think that’s the reason why there’s wild strawberries in there.

    Aug 7, 2009 | 10:06 am

     
  28. Marketman says:

    Rose5, that’s really cool. I realize they grew strawberries in the Mantalongan area, but I had no idea these grew near Toledo. My wife’s family had farms in the Toledo area…

    Aug 7, 2009 | 10:12 am

     
  29. Jing_Bacolod says:

    Like Lee, I am from Bacolod too, but i was shocked to learn that we have strawberries here!

    Aug 7, 2009 | 4:14 pm

     
  30. corrine says:

    All I can say is…WOW! Right under our noses! My household staff who hail from Davao told me of fruits that they usually just played with. If only they knew of their culinary value! My staff are amazed about their uses in food and to think they just played with them or step on them! My other staff, having seen the Viet cassia, was reminded of the same thing she said she has seen in their province. Oh wow! Can you imagine? Hope to have more farmers sell directly to end customers with just a text or email so they can be compensated well.

    Aug 8, 2009 | 12:10 am

     
  31. Marketman says:

    corrine, they have cinnamon growing in forests in Northern Mindanao apparently…

    Aug 8, 2009 | 9:13 pm

     
  32. Vennis Jean says:

    Mr.MM,
    Hey you can find this in cebu if you go to the hills of Busay…there was this hill that a lot of campers converge they call it Ciale.I’ve made this into preserves before I just didn’t know trhey were wild strawberries…we also eat it raw it was my boyfriend who introduced me to this, yup they are tarter and their stems have small thorns….if you go to Ciale (you drop at JY complex,ride a habal-habal and ask them to take you to Ciale)you can find it by the lowest hill.

    Sep 3, 2009 | 7:38 am

     
  33. jp says:

    La Carlota City!!!!

    Oct 27, 2009 | 8:48 pm

     
  34. yolandas box says:

    hi mr.mm,
    i love strawberries too, i love this sweet morsels that in my travels i always buy seeds to grow.
    im from marikina and i grow strawberries here in our garden. birds would feast on the fruits before we can pick them up. and its true, plants bearing fruits gives a lot of joy !!!!
    i have alpine and the benguet variety. there are times that we have so much strawberry plants that we sell them at tiangges.

    oh we also have suha , chico and mangoes. we have all of these on our rooftop, so all of these trees are just rooting in big jars but they swell with fruits.

    i was thrilled that its not only me that gets excited seeing and wanting to plant strawberries…

    Apr 15, 2010 | 3:40 pm

     
  35. nenen says:

    I believe these are not stawberries but rather wild raspberries. In the mountains of Southern Iloilo they are called Daguinot. These are shrubs.

    Aug 14, 2010 | 8:51 am

     
  36. nenen says:

    They’re called Sapinit in Tagalog.

    Aug 14, 2010 | 9:14 am

     
  37. Marketman says:

    nenen, interesting, I should check that out. But I have to say, they tasted far more like strawberries than raspberries. And the texture and meat was definitely more strawberry like in mouthfeel…

    Aug 14, 2010 | 10:53 am

     
  38. jEnny almonte says:

    jenny philippines: hi may i request the scientific name and the real name of wild berries i really want to know hope u will help me cause i want to conduct some thesis problem about this innovation of food we have here somewhere in laguna lots of this stuff… tnx more power

    Dec 15, 2010 | 7:57 pm

     
 

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