Gourmet Farms Tour and St. Joseph's Sanctuary in Silang, Cavite near Tagaytay!

Tucked away somewhere near Tagaytay City is a spiritual sanctuary and a farm with products I buy at the supermarket all the time. Thanks to the invitation by Gourmet Farms in Cavite, I was able to tour the property, learn something new about growing stuff again, eat good food fresh from the farm restaurant The Dining Room (hmm I just found out about this! yummy food!) and enjoy the sneak peek of a very serene getaway (ideal for less than 10 people who want peace and quiet near Manila). I'll probably go here again when I'm in the area and also from January to February to check out their abundant harvest hehe.

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I've heard that Gourmet Farms was open to the public in the form of a store with coffee shop from mom just last year when she visited it. I only know the brand from the organic produce section in supermarkets. So when this opportunity came along to have a guided tour with this place, I said yes immediately primarily because as Mr. Costales said from our very first ATI experience, knowing the farm or farmer who grows the produce you eat is the best way to ensure of its quality or at least have that peace of mind. From our experience, the farm is around an hour and a half away from Manila (Makati) or around 20-25 minutes from the main street of Tagaytay.

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Our first taste was their fresh basil cooler - a soothing welcome to the terribly hot weather and a preview of what they serve at their Country Store area.

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Breakfast is served here as well as their freshly roasted coffee blends.

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I've always been hesitant to buy a whole bottle of dressings and dips without trying it first and here, I'm able to sample each one of them with their unique product - the lettuce chips :)

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After much deliberation, these 4 dressing flavors I put in front are my personal picks! I put them back I swear hehe.

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Their marketing team went around with us and shared some insights about this 11.5-hectare property (that we probably wouldn't get if we were to go around by ourselves).

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The Santorini-like structure is the restaurant. More on this on my next post. So from the country store, we walked down to the left side of the restaurant.

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I love farm tours because I get to see my plant knowledge grow and identify each one by sight, smell, feel or taste.

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I've made a note already to wear long sleeves and a bucket hat (it's a bit windy here so short hats are better) for these situations hehe.

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The beautiful yellow dancing ladies are a bright sight, right?

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They look lovelier in person and up close :) Flowers such as these also serve as attractants in the farm.

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Here's a jade vine in jade color hehe

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and other plants I have yet to recognise.

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I was introduced to this castanas tree from a distance. I tend to notice those that I love eating since I was a child haha.  I've never seen it before it's roasted so I treasure these moments hehe.

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They told us that some of the flora and fauna here are labeled so that they can be educational for students doing tours here. They've brought some other plants in the property such as this Baguio pine tree. I was wondering why it's not green as I walked past it.

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The pathway was well-paved as compared to other farms I've been to so it's not difficult to go around here even for older people. I saw this Chinese bamboo that formed like a fence. It will be such a cool idea to use this as a life-sized maze a la Harry Potter haha.

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Our first tour stop was St. Joseph's Sanctuary (there's a gate inside Gourmet Farms and you can also book wellness packages through them).

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This used to be open for clergymen only and it was recently (and secretly haha) opened to the public. The area is not that large but I felt like I found a place for inspiration and quiet time.

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There's ample space for the 10 people maximum allowed here. There's a conference room for around 10-15 people,

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then there are rooms (occupies 2 each) for silent retreat goers.

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The accommodations have a minimal design and very (as in) spacious interiors.

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They have one of the biggest bathrooms I've seen for a normal room. You can meditate in there just fine haha.

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The beds are single-type (2 per room)

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then there's this antique furniture that is a convertible chair where you can kneel and pray.

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Just outside (but still your private room) is a small courtyard with your own fountain.

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Beyond your temporary private enclave is a pond with the quietest breed of ducks ("quackless")...

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They say this place is an ideal prenup shoot location near Manila too but only if they approve your reservation ;) There are those who found their getaway place and come back here again and again.

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If you're here, no one will probably answer where you are because it's a no talking place hahaha. You'll be able to totally disconnect (super weak signal) and have fresh produce available in one location. They promise you a poor signal but a good connection with yourself, nature and everything in between :)

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There's also a gazebo in this place and other shaded places to sit down. It's totally acceptable to turn out your chair and face the other way here during retreats.

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Non-sectarian weddings can also be held here.

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They have a chapel adorned with materials from India (the door)

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and the materials inside were sourced from old houses.

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Around it are stations of the cross where you can walk barefoot because of the stones they used.

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I walked out of the sanctuary feeling rejuvenated.

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Imagine what a weekend or more days can do to me here.. Near the other gate was a perfect place for sunrise (as recommended by Doc J).

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I liked this spot though just a few steps away :)

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We went to visit the herb clusters next.

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They have a big part for arugula beds (left below).

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These ones are probably oversupply and go back as compost material.

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A recent dream of mine involves having fresh (and healthy) potted herbs in my kitchen and sprinkling them in just about any of my "masterpieces" (or attempts to impress J haha). Because I only want to get what I need also and not buy in bulk (so as not to waste the extra).

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They said the farm manager rotates the crops around so you won't be able to see the same plants in the same patches all year round. Crop rotation is actually for the benefit of the soil - perhaps to let it rest and add more nutrients. I hope he gets to join our tour next time for more info on the plants and their system but given the size of this farm, I'm sure he's very very busy hehe. One place you can probably find herbs of all flavours is in the nursery ;)

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I finally found the Gourmet Farms parsley (suki haha)!

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Can you identify the others below?

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Sage is pretty easy to tell with the grey-green color.

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They have this colorful windmill to power the irrigation pump by the way.

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We were just in time for the lettuce shower hehe. They have at least 4 types of lettuce in this farm and they come out triple washed when packaged.

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Their overproduction of lettuce eventually urged them to be more creative. And so they opened up a new market for lettuce chips (goes very well with their salsa! ;) )!

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And they use vermiculture compost - I heard they put banana trunks, shavings and probably ipa in there.

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You can see them in various stages of composting here. I heard they don't need a mate to reproduce and they love organic waste.

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I asked if they used manure and they said they don't. I learned that manure has to be treated for at least 6 months to kill the bacteria or else you risk E. coli (yikes).

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As we headed back to The Dining Room to sample their food, I saw this bay leaf / dahon ng laurel tree (boy, if you sell it per piece, just look at that tree!) hehe.

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Finally, there's a facility for roasting coffee which is the primary product of this farm. They grow lowland coffee in these parts then they have another farm in Benguet for highlands coffee.

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They have 2 big and top-of-the-line roasting machines and master roasters who can imitate whatever blend of coffee in the world they said!

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More on this and their gourmet food (oh, the yummy food!!!) on my next Gourmet Farms post :)

1 comment:

  1. mukhang pangyayamanin ang presyo siguro to get a glimpse here or sleep here if ever hehe

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