By Vina Medenilla
The consumer demand for local produce is swiftly growing. This might be because they are more fresh and preservative-free compared to imported produce that has to go through long travel and preservation processes to reach consumers’ plates.
One way to create the best dishes is to use the freshest ingredients to harness their flavor and nutrients. When we look from the consumer’s lens, the freshness of the product is always first on their priority list.
As more and more individuals begin to prefer local ingredients, this can also be a good selling point for players in the food and hospitality sector.
Local farms can leverage their fresh produce by not just offering them as raw ingredients, but also by incorporating them into a wide selection of value-added products to increase profit. Here are a few farms that did just that:
Beehive Farm and Kitchen
In Lipa City, Batangas, Beehive Farm and Kitchen further developed their use of honey, their main product, as it also doubles as a key ingredient in their restaurant menu.
What used to be exclusive meals for a private organization became available for public consumption.
Joel I. Katigbak, the founder and owner of The Beehive Farm and Kitchen, used to prepare honey-infused meals for his co-members of the Lipa Beekeeper Marketing Cooperative. In 2016, he took the suggestion of his co-members to start a restaurant that offered his honey-infused meals and converted his home into a restaurant.
Not only does he earn an income by serving honey-infused dishes at the restaurant, but he also helps preserve bees, whose population is currently declining and are threatened by many factors like pesticides, lack of habitat, and climate change.
A certified organic farm in Davao that makes the most of its fresh produce is Huni Farm.
Seeing the increasing demand for organic produce, Louella Garcia, the founder and manager of Huni Farm, combined her affinity for farming and cooking by opening a restaurant inside the farm.
The restaurant features Huni Farm’s naturally-grown produce that is incorporated into dishes like patatim and roasted tarragon chicken with herbed potatoes. They also create value-added products like guava jelly and kale bread using the farm crops.
Huni Farm’s restaurant is not an ordinary dining place where one can order the same thing because it serves dishes based on the available farm produce.
Garcia says, “…we serve fixed a la carte dishes on weekdays and lunch buffet on weekends and holidays. Our lunch buffet menu changes every week depending on what’s available at the farm.”
Organic food wasn’t saleable when Garcia was just a newbie in organic production. Searching for the right opportunity and network made the farm what it is today.
La Fermette Dairy Farm
This dairy farm in Davao City, Davao del Sur, also optimizes their farm produce through value-adding.
Partners Francis Eric Tam and Jean Michel integrate the farm outputs into the dishes and products that they serve in the farm’s cafe bistro.
Aside from the raw fruits and veggies, they offer homestead dairy products like yogurt, butter, and cheese. The farm also supplies the cafe with different ingredients, which they use to make salads, kinds of pasta, cakes, and so on.
Following a farm-to-table concept, Tam said that the flavor of the dishes they offer is unique and incomparable to the ingredients that are found commercially.
Domestically and naturally grown produce itself is good for the environment and human body, but it does not always have to be consumed as is to harness its benefits. Treating oneself to local produce that’s incorporated into luscious recipes does not make the food less nutritious. On the other hand, it ensures that these fresh ingredients can be enjoyed in different ways.