Herbana Farms / Salcedo Saturday Market

Gil Carandang has some of the most interesting and earnest organically raised herbs, fruits and vegetables in the Saturday Salcedo Market. agil1Lately, his stall has been marked by a pail of stunning wild flowers out front that have the purest and most vibrant color nature has to offer. Gil and the weekend markets go way back to the mid-90’s and the organic market that used to be near the old United Supermarket in Greenbelt. At that time, he was one of the few provedores that took risks on unusual plants such as Makrut (Kaffir) lime plants, Vietnamese herbs, along with more common (though not at the time) Italian basil, rosemary, etc. He was one of those tables I would almost always buy something from simply because I was thrilled that someone had attempted to grow it at all. While I have not visited his farm, I would guess from several conversations with him regarding farming methods and the fact that he now displays a banner that he is a member of the Organic Producers Trade Association, that he does in fact raise most of what he sells in a truly organic manner.

In 2000, I purchased a small Makrut (Kaffir) lime plant from him that I planted in our garden and it grew to impressive proportions despite my black thumb. agil2I have since marcotted it several times and have shared my bounty with friends. This plant is simply essential to authentic Thai cooking. For several years Gil was absent from the markets and he re-surfaced at the Salcedo Saturday Market. When I touched base with him, he explained that he had moved to a new farm and it took a while to establish new crops, etc. We were talking about my successful Makrut plant and he mentioned that he was unable to transfer any Makrut to his new farm. So recently, as a farm warming present of sorts, I dropped off a small potted Makrut and I hope it will thrive at his new place…just a simple tale from the markets…

The last few weeks Gil has had a lot on offer. First, the widest selection of herbs (half of which I could not identify without help), and for which I had no recent culinary need. agil3He had all the basics such as curly and flat leaf parsley, basic, oregano, chives, dill, sage, etc. But he also has highly unusual Asian (Ngo gai, dongalang, curry leaf, laksa) and western herbs (french sorrel, etc.). If you get there early enough, he carries a few containers of edible flowers that I love to use for garnishing. I personally don’t eat all the flowers because they include edible marigolds and that is a flower I used to plant around tomatoes to ward off insects… He has also been harvesting the most spectacular carrots that are displayed complete with all the tops that ensure they were harvested just hours before. I thought this was a great way to buy carrots so that I could give the tops to our pet bunny but it turns out the bunny prefers the carrots themselves…

Gil also has terrific greens on offer including mizuna, spinach, lettuces (including about as authentic a mix of mesclun as you can get here in Makati), etc. agil4Volume and consistency are a bit hard to predict but that is part of the charm of shopping at this stall…you never know what you will end up with. He also brings organically grown tomatoes, kalabasa, eggplants, bananas and other fruit, etc. If you look carefully, you may even find some new things like the three jalapeno peppers I spied amongst some miniature green bell peppers he had at the back of the stall. This provedore is a real gem and someone all market goers should try to support by purchasing an unusual thing or two…and in the process, you might learn something new as well. Visit his website at herbanafarms.


14 Responses

  1. I’m glad to see this here, we should show case people like this who are one with nature and offer it to all. Self sufficiency with God is a beautiful thing!

  2. I heartily agree with you about the hardiness of the
    kaffir lime plant, despite our yard being called the
    “death row” of plants, I have been enjoying authentic tom
    yums and curries courtesy of my kaffir lime for several
    years now. Sadly, the galangal I planted the same time
    did not survive.

  3. i met gil carandang accidentally as i was on my way out from the salcedo market. i smelled something different, herbal to be exact and that scent drove me to his booth. i was quite amazed on the variety of culinary herbs he had to offer, in fact, it made me realized i could now cook the recipes with hard to find herbs.

    my interest in herbs got the best of me, in fact, i am working with gil on some paperworks for his technology and other farm products.

    please visit our website: http://www.herbanafarms.com

    i am also invisitng you to come visit out booth, every saturdays, 7am to 3pm, at Salcedo Weekend Market, Salcedo Village, makati

  4. I need to make micronutriants used in hyponic gardenig to feed the plants.
    Can you refer me to someone that knows how to make the organic plant food for hyponic gardening.
    Here in the USA this is something the farmers have to buy be for they can grow hyponicly grown food.

  5. hi! aside from gil carandang, do you know where else i can get organic and edible flowers?

  6. am just interested. i also have 1 hectare sili farm in my parish. It’s totally ORGANIC from the very start. My parish is in Managpi, Calapan City

  7. Iplan to retire in PI .I am so happy to learn that these kind of vegetables, herbs, flowers that are usually grown here in US are found back home. To make it easier for me I bought a condo in the heart of Legaspi ( Greenbelt area). I can not wait to go home.Thank you for a very inspiring site.

  8. I was impress about how microorganism works in our plants even in humans. I read article form the internet about the seminars conducted by Mr. Carandang.

    Lately I’m trying composting and I’ve learned that microorganism hasten decomposition. Sir Carandang may I know whre can i buy your book?Specifically here in Southern Mindanao, is it available at National bookstore? Kindly acknowledge.

    Thank you and more power.

  9. You can contact me at 09292698602 for the booklet on beneficial indigenous microorganisms. I am regularly at the salcedo wkend mkt saturdays between 7am-2pm.

  10. hi, can u send me the contact numbers of the organizers of salcedo saturday market please? I’m interested in renting a place there and i wanna know the details how…thanx..



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