Going natural: Organic farms flourish in Calabarzon

Gintong Bukid Farm. / PHOTOGRAPHS BY MARKY RAMONE GO FOR THE DAILY TRIBUNE

After learning some basic concepts of urban farming at a recent event organized by the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), we spent the next couple of days visiting organic farms in the provinces of Quezon and Laguna.

Organic agriculture is alive in the Calabarzon region (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon.)

The ATI, located in Trece Martirez, Cavite, is tasked to manage and provide “agricultural extension services” to farmers and farm owners all over the country.

Established in 1987, the ATI has been steadfast in creating learning modules, crafting training programs to equip agricultural workers with best practices and up-to-date knowledge on achieving maximum agricultural harvest in a sustainable manner.

Agricultural Training Institute.

Growing interest in farm tourism and domestic travel should give the following five destinations a head start.

Uma Verde Eco Nature Farm Inc.

Uma’s farm.

Located in Candelaria, Quezon, this organic farm is classified by the DA’s ATI as a School for Practical Agriculture or SPA, as well as a Department of Tourism-accredited farm tourism site. This means it is allowed to conduct trainings and hold courses on the basics of organic farming principles and practices for anyone willing to learn.

Farm owner Edelissa Ramos, an engineer, said she found fulfillment when she started farming. After hosting a healthy breakfast, Ramos’

son-in-law Arnel Marasigan toured us around the farm as he explained to us their organic farming practices.

This includes using natural fertilizing processes like vermiculture and creating other

non-synthetic fertilizers such as bokashi, mokusaku (wood vinegar), fermented plant juice and zero-waste practices. Other than growing vegetables and fruits, Uma Verde EcoNature Farm also raises livestock.

Yumi’s Farm

This organic farm at the foothills of Mt. Banahaw in Tayabas is classified by the DA’s ATI as a Learning Site for Agriculture or LSA. Yumi’s Farm was named after owners Melo and Alice’s only daughter Yumi.

The idea to build and manage an organic farm came from the suggestion of the family doctor, who told Alice, “If you want your husband to beat diabetes and live longer, make him eat healthier food.”

Today, Yumi’s farm produces an organic farm producing a variety of vegetables and fruits as well as serving as a location for conducting trainings and seminars about organic farming.

Cortijo de Palsabangon

Aptly named Cortijo de Palsabangon because it has a vibe amid lush herbs, vegetables and fruits, all grown organically, this farm sits on the lowlands facing Pagbilao Bay.

We were welcomed by its owner, the very jovial Ayrin Llorin and the friendly staff. The farm is also accredited by the ATI as an SPA.

According to Llorin, the farm’s restaurant was a crowd favorite during pre-Covid-19 days and a very in-demand wedding venue (having catered to more than 300 wedding receptions since 2015). When the pandemic started, the restaurant was temporarily closed.

Today, the farm is slowly reopening as well as recovering from the two typhoons that hit the province last year. Despite the effects of the pandemic, the farm is doing good.

“We’re going to be busy until the end of the year holding organic farming trainings and that is always a good thing, to be able to share and promote organic farming,” Llorin said.

Lukong Valley Farm

Lukong Valley Farm cottage.

This LSA-certified organic farm is located at the foot of Mount Banahaw in Dolores, Quezon.

Aside from the sprawling various vegetable and fruit fields, a chicken park and other livestock barns, Lukong Valley Farm also has a farm-to-table restaurant and cottages perched atop a hill.

Guests staying here to learn about organic farming during the day should expect mornings with a dreamy view of the lush farmland below.

Gintong Bukid Farm & Leisure

The Gintong Bukid Farm is a secluded agricultural oasis in Nagcarlan, Laguna.

The smallest but not the least among the farms we visited is this secluded agricultural oasis in Nagcarlan, Laguna. Accredited as an LSA, Gintong Bukid Farm and Leisure doubles as a mini-hacienda where visitors can also stay in a bahay kubo while learning basic organic farming principles.

The experience is called a “Buhay-Bukid” package where guests can enjoy the farm for a day (with option to stay overnight) on a guided tour complete with farm to table meals.

Gintong Bukid Farm & Leisure is currently undergoing expansion as its management looks to maximize more farm land to plant and harvest fruits and vegetables.

mje

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Credit belongs to : www.tribune.net.ph

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