The Department of Tourism’s Calabarzon office initiated a Farm-To-Table experience from June 1 to 3 and Village Pipol Magazine was honored to be invited along with other media, bloggers, local tour operators, and travel organizations. The initiative also includes visiting farms and culinary tourist destinations in the region. DOT Calabarzon Officer-in-Charge Regional Director Marites T. Castro pioneered the Calabarzon Kulinarya Caravan: A Farm-To-Table Experience to display the unique ways of cooking and serving food from organic crops of farm tourist sites.
What is Farm-To-Table?
For a little bit of background, the term ‘farm-to-table’ means the food on the table came directly from the farm. This also would mean that the food didn’t go through a store, market, or distributor along the way. Similar phrases would also include ‘locally-sourced’ and ‘farm fresh.’
We experienced the phrase in its purest form where the table is located at the farm. We also went on a tour around the farm. Owners and farmers showed and described the methods used to raise the meat, poultry, fruits, plants, and vegetables. This educational experience revolved around featuring local food.
The use of farm-to-table emphasizes a direct relationship between a farm and a restaurant. Some restaurants establish relationships with farms and directly buy from them. They would do this without buying through a distributor or a food service.
Farmers benefits as they are able to reap more of the profit their goods can earn at the market. As a writer for Village Pipol Magazine, I’ve always written about sustainability and locally-sourced products. And, personally, I enjoyed knowing how my food was treated and cooked before I consumed it.
Calabarzon Kulinarya Caravan: A Farm-To-Table Experience with the Department of Tourism
Graco Farms and Leisure in Pila, Laguna
Graco Farms and Leisure, Inc. raises and grows livestock and other agricultural products organically. They also provide farm-to-table products at an affordable cost. They have five different packages with guided tours, interactive feeding of goats, fowls, and fishes. Aside from that, they also have seven different rooms for accommodations.
As our first stop, we had turon, tortang talong, salad, tilapia, eggs, and pandesal for breakfast that they grew on their farm. We also got to taste their fresh goat milk. Aside from that, we also had a tour around the hectares of land. They allowed us to interact with their farm animals. We fed their goats and fowls, and one of us even tried to catch a fish in their pond.
Silent Integrated Farm in Liliw, Laguna
Silent Integrated Farm is passionate when it comes to recognizing the strength of PWDs. A Deaf farmer Michael inspired the name of the farm. He is hard of hearing. However, it doesn’t hinder his efforts to earn and provide for his family. He also works silently to remain a productive individual in the community. Just like Michael, the farm also silently works to become part of the solution.
The farm aims to become a sustainable and innovative farm tourism destination. They also set to serve as a learning center that produces good and healthy food, value-adding crops, and cruelty-free animals where everyone can enjoy the happy farming community. During our trip, they taught us how they create their signature salad with lettuce, cucumber, tomato, onion, and blue ternate flowers.
Farmshare Agri Park in Cavinti, Laguna
Farmshare Agri Park lets us experience interactive activities with farm animals. The moment we came, they fed us with the food that they grow on their farm. The farm-to-table experience included itlog na pula, kinulob na itik, tinapang tilapia, antigong adobo, and last but not the least — rabbitchon. Yes, rabbit lechon.
This, of course, became a good alternative to chicken or other kinds of meat. Aside from that, we met their cows — milked and fed them. Aside from that, we also met their rabbits… and, yes, we also had the chance to pet them. The farm also offers glamping accommodation with tiny houses made out of black container vans.
Of course, they also sell fresh dairy products. They sell different flavors of milk: matcha, chocolate, strawberry, french vanilla, Greek frappe, and milk tea among others. They also have kesong puti.
Bukid Amara in Lucban, Quezon
Bukid Amara redefines farming as they give us a peek at farmsthetic with the blooming palettes at the foot slope of Mt. Banahaw. Every flower in their bukid remains edible with sunflowers, marigold, and so much more. Aside from flowers, they also have vegetables that you can pick and pay for. They aim to redefine farm recreation and promote a sustainable way of farming.
Bukid Amara also introduced floral spring rolls. Similar to Vietnamese fresh spring rolls, they are wrapped in rice paper which has an egg roll, lettuce, vegetable, and meat fillings before they are tucked and rolled it to serve. However, they also added edible flowers for a beautiful decoration. Aside from that, they also utilize their farm-grown flowers for family-friendly activities.
Linang ni LK in Lucban, Quezon
We ended the day with dinner from Linang ni LK by the famous chef himself, Francis Christian Ocoma aka Lakwatserong Kusinero. He gave us a filling dinner of sinantomas na manok, sinugno, deconstructed lumpiang sariwa, and my favorite — hardinera. This Lucban delicacy is made with a mixture of braised pork, vegetables, pineapple, and eggs steamed to perfection for a hearty and tasty dish. The steamed pork loaf is just a delicious myriad of flavors and the perfect balance of savory and sweet.
Lakwatserong Kusinero himself partnered with Farmshare Agri Park for an event last April 28, 2022. The event also revolved around a delightful and tasteful farm-to-table experience for CULIFARM Filipino Cuisine. The chef collaborated with Chef Zhe Jacinto and Chef JV Victoriano, the powerful chefs in Farmshare Agri Park.
Francesca de Banahaw in Sariaya, Quezon
Francesca de Banahaw has both modern and antiquated looks for accommodations. When you enter the resort, you’ll see a modern resort with pools and accommodation. But, once you go deeper inside, you will see the antiquated take. A nipa hut stands strong and can accommodate ten people or more. They served us food that they grew on their farm.
Joni and Susan Agroshop and Integrated Farms
Joni and Susan Agroshop and Integrated Farms is an agri-tourism site. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Joni explained that it halted many of their plans in developing the place. So, they looked for other things that could allow them to provide for their farmers and employees. They sold sunflower skin care products that revolved around rejuvenating and achieving glass skin.
As people go ahead with this piece of normalcy, tourism starts picking up its pace. Their largest operations include the production of different varieties of corn (yellow, Japanese, purple, and white), the production of oyster mushrooms, and sunflower products. By the way, we tried out the farm-to-table experience with ice cream made out of mushrooms that tasted absolutely amazing.
Casa San Pablo in San Pablo, Laguna
Casa San Pablo is a friendly and comfortable bed and breakfast. They also have a cafe and a teaching gallery where you can visit and interpret a collection of the transformative potential contemporary art. They also specialize in Laguna home-cooking where they taught us all about every edible part of the coconut. Of course, these include inflorescence, spathe, mala-uhog, mura, buko, alangan, niyog, and tubo.
Don Leon Nature Farm in San Juan, Batangas
Don Leon Nature Farm had a beautiful pavilion where they can accommodate visitors. We had a very interactive experience where we got to ride in a wooden cart pulled around by a carabao and bikes to go around the 23 hectares of land. We also got to eat food that they grew directly from their farm. Aside from the pavilion, they also had a dormitory perfect for bigger groups.
Pinkie’s Farm in Lipa, Batangas
Pinkie’s Farm promised all-natural milk from their grass-fed cows. Most local dairies augment their supply with milk from smaller farms. However, this farm remains a single-origin farm that only sells what our own little farm produces. That way, they control what goes in our products from start to finish. They also have retail outlets in the Metro where they keep products as natural as possible.
We were able to taste their fresh milk, choco milk, coffee milk, and my favorite – espresso milk. Aside from that, we also tasted their wonderfully-crafted strawberry yogurt. They taught us how to make and wrap pastillas. Then, we met their grass-fed cows that looked straight out of a textbook. They also let us milk them and feed them which felt absolutely great.
Milea Orchard and Bee Farm in San Jose, Batangas
Milea Orchard and Bee Farm specialize in taking care of stingless bees and various types of plants. In an effort to save the bees, they go around the Philippines to teach farmers in remote areas about beekeeping. The women-led farm also taught us the importance of bees. They also sell products they get from said bees.
They pollinate plants which means they carry pollen between plants of different sexes to fertilize them or even between different parts of the same plant. It also helps plants to reproduce. Bees even help plants survive by preventing inbreeding.
As humans, bees are also important to us. They have cultural and environmental importance as pollinators and producers of honey and medicinal products. Both farmed and wild bees control the growth and quality of vegetation when they drive, and so do crops.
As we’ve mentioned before, I felt honored to be invited to such an amazing experience.
It gave me an insightful look at farmers who need help in validating and shining a light on their awesome work. I also recommend going to these farms and learning more about the work that they do. Aside from that, you can also have the farm-to-table experience and enjoy it like we did. Thank you to the Department of Tourism – Calabarzon office for inviting us along with amazing people that we can now call as friends. Meanwhile, I felt absolutely grateful for everything we encountered.
We, at Village Pipol Magazine, had a blast. Thank you again!
Angela Grace P. Baltan is a Communication graduate from Colegio de San Juan de Letran. She doesn’t hesitate to be opinionated in analyzing movies and television series. As a writer, she uses her articles to advocate for feminism, gender equality, and mental health among others.