Farm - To - Table Culinary Adventures In The Philippines
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Farm  -  to  -  table Culinary Adventures In the Philippines

by Anj Santos - Ellry Writer

You’ve probably noticed the growth of “farm-to-table” restaurants on the food scene lately. If you’re wondering what it means, it is quite literal – these restaurants get their produce directly from the farm where it was grown. Not from the market, the grocery, or from any third-party supplier. Sometimes, the restaurants grow their own produce too, to ensure the best quality!

While the concept has been around since the 80’s (as a dissent to the then-rising fast food industry), interest in farm-to-table dining has grown in the recent years as people become more health and eco-conscious. Fans go to these restaurants for the assurance that there are no canned or processed ingredients in their foods. The meats, vegetables, and fruits are also healthier since they were harvested at the peak of their ripeness, and go straight from the farm to the restaurant, giving less time for nutrients to dissipate.

But, if you want to get close to the source, there are farm-to-table tours around the Philippines as well. You’ll see for yourself how the produce was grown, harvested and produced and get to enjoy the end-products right at the farm!

Try these tours for a trip that’s both sensory and educational:

1. Organic Vegetables and Meat

Costales Nature Farms, Laguna

Ever wondered where some of your most beloved restaurants get their luscious fruits and veggies? There’s a big chance that those came from Costales Nature Farms. They are the sole producer of organic vegetables and herbs for restaurants under the Bistro Group, Moment Group, and Shangri-La hotels, among others. They also supply organic meats and eggs to Rustan’s and Healthy Options.

Get a chance to learn the basics of organic farming or simply relax and experience farm life for a day or two. Their packages range from half-day tours inclusive of lunch to 3-day retreats inclusive of trips to nearby nature destinations.

Address: Costales Nature Farms Training Center, Brgy. Gagalot, Majayjay, Laguna

Price per person: Starts at P400 for a half-day tour to P4,000 for a 3D2N tour. Check out the full list on their website.

2. Chocolates

Malagos Chocolate Cacao Farm, Davao City

You’ve probably encountered Malagos Farms’ chocolate bars and cacao nibs in food markets around the metro. While available only in selected retailers, their products have made quite a buzz in the local and international food scene for their excellent quality. This is owed to the fact that all their products are made from tree to bar — single-origin cacao beans are grown, harvested and processed on their farm in Davao. Available in 100% pure unsweetened and 65% dark variants, they are perfect for chocolate lovers and bakers who want the distinct and pronounced taste of unadulterated chocolate.

A half-day tour of their cacao plantation in Malagos, Davao City will give you a peek into how their chocolates are grown and produced. For those who are seriously interested in chocolate or want to start a business, a 3-day Cacao Farming seminar is available too. Enjoy both with a cup or two of the country’s best hot cocoa!

Address: Puestespina Cacao Farm, Malagos, Baguio District, Davao City

Price per person: P300 for the half-day tour, P7,500 for the 3-day workshop

3. Honey and Honey-Based Products

Ilog Maria Honeybee Farm, Cavite

Did you know that honey is more than just a sweetener? It’s also a great way to detoxify your body and bring back its balance. At Ilog Maria Honeybee Farm, you’ll be surprised at just how many benefits beehive by-products can give us humans. Loyalists trek to Tagaytay to get their stash of honey-based products from the farm’s extensive range, including food and health products like vinegar and organic supplements, home products like candles, and personal care products like soaps, toothpaste, and even lip balm.

A tour of their farm starts with a fascinating presentation, sometimes done by the owner himself, of how beehives are farmed and how their business came about. It is followed by a walking self-tour of the farm, where it is possible to see farmers in action, the “Ilog” itself, or simply enjoy the fresh air in their garden. Be sure to bring home some of their products!

Address: Ilog Maria Honeybee Farm, Km. 47 Aguinaldo Highway, Lalaan 1, Silang,

4118 Cavite

Price per person: Starts at P25 for a self-walking tour to P75 per person for groups of 30 pax and above.

4. Coffee

The Coffee Farmhouse, Cavite

The Coffee Farmhouse is a family farm that prides itself for its quality coffee harvest. They have opened the farm up to connoisseurs and coffee lovers who want to see for themselves what it takes to make coffee from bean to cup.

Focusing on the production of the Philippine Barako, the farm tour will take up the orchard’s coffee varieties, how coffee is farmed, traditional tools and equipment used by family farms to process coffee, and tips how to make the perfect brew. Finish up with a cup of freshly brewed coffee, and a bag of beans for your home.

Address: The Coffee Farmhouse, 23 Palumlum-Matagbak Road, Barangay Palumlum, Alfonso, 4123, Cavite

Price per person: Starts at P990 for day trips and P2,550 for overnight stays.

5. Salt

Pacific Farms Agri-Eco Tour, Bolinao, Pangasinan

This tour not only boasts of its tasty delicacies and breathtaking spots but also a massive 500 hectare salt farm situated at Bolinao, Pangasinan. So huge is the farm that it is home to the country’s salt mountain and a tour includes a train ride along their harvesting area. Tourists are also allowed to grab a rake, so they can experience for themselves how hard the farmers work to produce the everyday staple.

They have a standard one-day package inclusive of salt harvesting, visit to the salt mountain and company history museum, a chance to meet the salt farmers and a visit to the Chapel Ruins, Salt Lake, Weather Station. There is also a two-day package which includes the above, and optional tours to their Large Evaporator Areas for Migratory Bird Watching or nearby Hundred Islands.

Finally, try different kinds of salt with their salt-pairing gourmet dinner, to discover the wonders that salt can do when teamed up with the right food!

Address: Pacific Farms Inc, Brgy. Zaragoza, Bolinao, Pangasinan

Price per person: Available upon inquiry

6. Organic Produce and Rural Art

La Huerta de Rosario, Baao, Camarines Sur

La Huerta de Rosario was originally just a demo farm for off-season tomatoes. Its owner, visual artist Bernadette de Los Santos, merged her passion for arts, culture, and the environment and turned it into the agri-tourism destination cum artist hangout that it is now.

The four-hectare farm is a rustic getaway where guests can enjoy a farm-to-table feast amid lush and artistic surroundings. A tour of the farm includes harvesting fresh fruits and vegetables, engaging in arts & crafts activities and just enjoying the rural artworks displayed. Breakfast, lunch, and all-day buffet meals can also be served using in-season ingredients harvested from the farm, and prepared in local recipes. Ask for their famous vegetarian Kare-kare, and try recreating it at home using the fresh veggies you harvested at the farm.

Address: La Huerta de Rosario Farm, Sta. Teresita, 4432 Baao, Camarines Sur

Price per person: Breakfast at P175, Lunch at P250 and all-day buffet meals (am snacks, pm snacks, and lunch) for P390, at a minimum of 20 pax

7. Probiotic Meats and Organic Vegetables and Rice

Penalosa Farms, Victorias City, Negros Occidental

Peñalosa Farms is a complete resource for agri-tourism and agri-preneurship. It produces and markets a variety of produce and also educates aspiring agriculture entrepreneurs on farming systems. Its wide range of organic products includes not just fruits and vegetables, but also rice, eggs, and herbs. It also raises its probiotic based pork, chicken, and other livestock that are hormone, vaccine, antibiotic & GMO-free. Aside from the farm to market and farm to plate products, the farm also produces and sells its own fertilizers.

Penalosa Farms offers two types of tours. First is a one-day visit inclusive of an introductory lecture on Integrated Organic Farming, a tour of the farm, and a meal including welcome tea, organic buffet lunch, and snacks. For those who are interested in the agriculture business, they have a Passion Training, or a four-day live-in Seminar at Penalosa Farms where participants are given hands-on training in the business, management and farming side of Organic Agriculture.

Address: Penalosa Farms, Bangga Daan, Victorias City, Negros Occidental, Philippines, 6119

Price per person: P500 per person for one-day tour; P2,500 per person per day for Passion Training, inclusive of 3 buffet meals, accommodations, snacks, seminar kit and airport transfer

8. Organic Vegetables and Farming Technologies

May’s Organic Garden, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental

May’s Organic Garden is one of the must-visit organic farms in the “Organic Bowl” of Negros. Apart from being an accessible 10-minute drive from Bacolod’s downtown area, it also has leisure amenities like horseback riding, swan paddle boating, fishing, and swimming. Of course, a tour of the farm and a meal made from 100% organic meat and vegetables at their restaurant must not be missed as well.

What’s unique about May’s is that it also showcases heavy farm equipment that is proudly made in Negros. These include their plant and compost shredder, hydraulic ram pump, lemongrass oil distiller and even plastic, glass and stone shredders! Do check out their cute, coddled, odorless pigs as well, who are said to eat only organic Madre de Agua leaves and drink tuba to sleep.

Address: May’s Organic Garden and Restaurant, Sitio Aning, Pahanocoy, 6100 Bacolod City

Price per person: P140 for walking tour with snacks, add P10 for use of pool; P350 for buffet lunch at May’s Restaurant inclusive of entrance to resort

For all the farms to be able to give you the best experience, do set an appointment and book in advance. Prices were taken from official websites or Trip Advisor reviews and are subject to change.

Image by Paula Leduc

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