Honestly, lunch at The Master's Garden was unusual haha. It wasn't anything like our organic retreat at Costales Nature Farms with the ATI the year before. There was beef, pasta and fish along with an unthinkable mix of veggies and herbs from the drink to soup to main course to dessert. After lunch, we were shown the awesome all organic vegetable terraces (which a family of four can easily handle and earns them quite enough to send all their children to college). I was so impressed with their healthy plants and superb organizing (how they made the terraces and arranged the farm) skills.
Guests are entertained at the Multi-Purpose Hall.
One way to experience organic farming is to taste the lifestyle of the farmers. How would you like to eat fresh and tasty vegetables every day? If you can give your family a healthier life and you have that power by growing your own food, would you do it?
Well, I know not all of us are into farming. To be able to do it, I guess you'd have to love nature and the soil too, and invest some effort and time as well. So coming here and visiting other organic farms near Manila can be a sweet escape without having to worry about getting your hands dirty. You should check out the hanging terrace =)
We were able to taste this herb cooler. I think it's a mix of basil, sage, fruit and other stuff (I couldn't tell) haha.
For this soup, I think there are carrots, sweet potatoes, herbs, basil, thyme, vinegar and parsley in there. It gets better as you sip more.
Then they let us taste 3 types of salad. There's mandarin orange with veggies salad, assorted lettuce & flower salad and potato, pineapple & sugar beets salad - a super mix of creamy, light, sweet, bitter, sour, etc. ... OMG I can't take that much veggie up straight haha. I was full already by this time..
For the main course, I think this may not be organic (I say this because I don't know where they came from, didn't see any cows or fish in the farm) but the herbs are..
Finally, there's tarragon with stevia (as sweetener) and sugar beet cake. Personally, I just like my tarragon tea plain and hot (good for digestion) =)
I loved this the most - moist and sweetness is just enough like carrot cake. There are carrots in there too I think but I would welcome the benefits of sugar beets any time =)
Mr. Acosta explained the concept of root systems and how sugar beets have one of the most nutrients because its roots can go deeper than any other crops.
We went down the veggie terraces next for a closer look of Mr. Acosta's micro farm =)
He's also building his very own version of vertical gardens BTW.
The plants from the nursery are transplanted here to mature. When they first started, the beds were subject to double digging to enrich and loosen the area where the roots of the veggies will surely reach. They walled the area with mud bricks to confine the compost and soil. The plastic roofing you see below are treated and specially made to protect the soil and plants from the extreme sun and rain.
Crop rotation, companion planting and crop programming are practised here. Crops include salad greens, root crops, legumes and fruit-bearing plants like tomatoes.
Mr. Acosta has also arranged the terraces in a way that there is harvest all year round. When one bed is empty, they start the planting process then the bed from the next part follows. I think they circle around the farm so it's not that confusing.
Just look at these veggies!
From my point of view, there's no hole in sight. Mr. Acosta said organic produce is more resistant to pests and diseases. Just think - you're more likely to get sick if you have a weak immune system. Just like these veggies, they have a tough cell wall so pests would likely chew on the softer and weak ones (sprayed with chemicals).
I'm sure these babies will reach the market healthy in a few weeks. Mr. Acosta's produce reaches the Manila market through his distributor.
I ordered some of these lettuce (1/2 kg) and some sugar beets (1/4 kg). It cost me around 67 pesos =)
I spotted some cherry tomatoes (bet they're sweet)!
The Master's Garden has been blessed with a water source. There's a small "waterfall" there.
I found these huge basil leaves.. now becoming a favorite of mine =) My sister tried to plant these in our garden but it's not as full and shiny and green as this one!!!
French beans, anyone? There are mostly high-valued crops and herbs at The Master's Garden.
He made me taste these salad peas too! First time I tried it! Surprisingly super sweet and flavorful (ate it raw).
Then I saw the Japanese cucumber haha. They grow like this?
All I can think about was making a salad haha.
Would you believe there are strawberries up in that vertical garden (below)?! =D Wonder how they got up there haha.
Soon to rise - lodging for visitors!
Come and visit The Master's Garden in La Trinidad! =) If you want some training, it's P1000 per day with snacks, lunch and materials. Mr. Acosta is a Gawad Saka presidential awardee (2010) for his achievements and organic agriculture contributions to the Cordillera Region (CAR). They have a 2-day demo, 7-day and 14-day trainings where they'll teach you the best / easiest and most successful techniques in organic farming. You can also have lunch (~P350 per meal). Takeaway: Mr. Acosta says you need around 40 square meters of land per person to plant stuff to survive for a year =)
Farm / ATI Organic Farming Learning Site Philippines Details:
ME-133 Lamtang-Pico Road, Barangay Puguis, La Trinidad, Benguet
+63917-9258499 (Pat) / +63917-6468134 (Ana)
To visit the different ATI-assisted projects (Organic Farming Learning Sites), you can drop by or ask the ATI Regional Training Center nearest you or inquire through:
982AGRI (982-2474) for Metro Manila calls
1-800-10-982AGRI (1-800-10-9822474) for provincial toll-free calls using PLDT landlines
For Smart and Talk & Text Subscribers, send a message to 391-DA (391-32).
For non-Smart Subscribers, send a message to 0920-946AGRI (0920-9462474).
Check out my other Organic Agriculture (OA) Adventure posts:
My Victory Liner First Class Deluxe Experience to Baguio, Cafe by the Ruins Stopover and the Road to the Benguet State University in La Trinidad, ATI-CAR Dormitory & Canteen
Organic Agriculture Training and Farm Tour at Lily of the Valley Organic Farms in La Trinidad, Benguet
On the Way to Sagada from Benguet to Mt. Province, Awesome Rice Terraces Views, Bontoc Museum Sidetrip, Optional Tours and the Teng-Ab Retreat House