photographs by marky ramone go for the daily tribune THE Mountain Province is dotted with lush vegetable and fruit farms.

The Cordillera Region is a picturesque wonder of nature. Apart from its year-round cool weather, awe-inspiring sights, fascinating culture and mouthwatering local cuisine, there are the fruit and vegetable farms of Benguet and Mountain Province.

Spread across the intertwining mountains of the two provinces are colorful fields of blooming flowers, lush, green vegetables and seasonal fruits thriving from the ingenuity and hard work of Cordillera farmers.

As the growing movement of choosing healthier food options such as farm-to-table expands, visiting these farms is an opportunity to show gratitude to our farmers by focusing their livelihood as part of the tourism industry.

To help you plan your farm-hopping trip to Benguet and the Mountain Province, here are some farming communities you can visit.

Northern Blossom Flower Farm in Atok, Benguet

Three hectares of colorful flowers is a sight that awaits visitors to this farm that spreads over the scenic mountainside of Atok, Benguet.

freshly picked strawberries (above) and potatoes (below) from Bauko.

A variety of flowers such as matthiola, rice flower, larkspur, snapdragon, cabbage rose and more is harvested here and reaches the many flower shops of Metro Manila to as far as Mindanao.

Owned by Melany Ganayan and her husband, Northern Blossom Flower Farm has embraced its “rock star of all flower farms” status by welcoming visitors who wish to snap some photographs as well as to pluck and buy flowers.

A few homestays are now operating near the farm, while a small café located within the property with a sweeping view of the farm and the mountain ranges of Cordillera — you can even see the peaks of Mt. Pulag and Mt. Timbak on a clear day — is opening soon.

Buguias, Benguet

The town of Buguias is said to be among the top vegetable producers in the country.

Some 80 percent of the town’s more than 40,000 residents are farmers.

Farms spanning the mountains and plains are covered with lush vegetation consisting of potatoes, carrots, broccoli, lettuce, cabbage) to beans, eggplants, okra, sayote and strawberries.

One can visit the vegetable farms and easily fill up a truck of fresh produce.

Owned by Melany Ganayan and her husband, Northern Blossom Flower Farm has embraced its ‘rock star of all flower farms’ status by welcoming visitors who wish to snap some photographs as well as to pluck and buy some flowers.

Other interesting places in Buguias are the Veteran Memorial Marker which commemorates the liberation of the town from the Japanese Imperial Army on 27 July 1945; and the World War II 66th Infantry Shrine along Halsema Highway.

The town is also the site of a 12th century burial site that includes the mummified remains of Apo Anno, who was believed to have been originally buried in the 16th century.

Paoay, Benguet

Another easy to access farm — by Benguet standards — are the vegetable farms in the town of Paoay.

Aside from buying fresh produce and various succulent and snake plants from the farmers here, you can walk to nearby Bosleng Lourdes Grotto sheltered under a huge boulder on stony peak surrounded by vegetable plantations.

FLOWERS bloom year-round at Northern Blossom Flower Farm.

Near the grotto, you can find a protruding rock that offers a magnificent view of the surrounding mountains and, on a good day, a sea of clouds.

Bauko, Mountain Province

The Mountain Province is also dotted with lush vegetable and fruit farms.

With an elevation rising above 4,100 feet above sea level, the topography of the mountain range on this part of the Cordilleras is perfect for planting and harvesting vegetables.

In the town of Bauko, one can visit one farm after another and heap their baskets with potatoes, lettuce, kale and pepper, to name a few. This is also an idyllic place to learn more agriculture from the local farmers themselves, as they are very friendly and accommodating in answering all your questions regarding their own farming techniques.

Leave with newfound knowledge and a few kilos of freshly harvested farm goods.

the writer stopped and smelled the flowers on a trip to the Northern Blossom Flower Farm.

Tadian, Mountain Province

Half an hour from Bauko, in the town of Tadian, another lush farm is laden with turmeric and ginger plants which the farmers — comprising mostly of local mothers — harvest to produce ginger and turmeric tea.

With the help of a social enterprise called the Local Goodness PH, the farmers here are planting and harvesting more turmeric and ginger because they are now able to market it directly to consumers in Metro Manila.

“Today, after Local Goodness started taking orders, it motivated us to keep planting turmeric and ginger.

Turmeric farming isn’t easy because it takes almost a year to cultivate it.

With the help of Local Goodness, we cannot stop now,” said one of the mother farmers Theresa Farnican.

Credit belongs to : www.tribune.net.ph

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