3 farms to visit in Cavite

A short drive from Manila, Cavite is a perfect day-out, shopping for organic vegetables, local honey, and exotic orchids 

By Monica De Leon. Photos by Daniel Soriano

Gourmet Farms

Gourmet Farms' coffee plantation

Gourmet Farms is a 12-hectare estate in Silang that grows organic produce like lettuce and herbs to supply to hotels and sell in supermarkets. They make their own line of herbal teas, salad dressing, sauces and dips, also sold in retail outlets; and products like lettuce and pesto chips are sold only at the farm’s café. Coffee is a big favorite here. The manufacturing plant right within the farm roasts about 120 tons of coffee beans a month. Enjoy your freshly ground barako coffee or the prized civet coffee, or buy any of their eight blends — they can even customize blends — either packed as raw beans or ground. While there’s a coffee nursery right within the estate, coffee is heavily grown at Gourmet Farms’ satellite farm in Benguet, where the conditions make for better coffee beans. The farm claims it’s a pioneer in the country of the farm-to-table and bean-to-cup concepts, even before these became popular. The farm’s restaurant, The Dining Room, serves Mediterranean dishes cooked using ingredients from the farm’s own backyard. A salad bar offers various greens and dressings.

Gourmet Farms' coffee are made from scratch, right within the farm. It pairs well with the homemade bread
One of the farm’s more attractive offerings is coffee pairings. For P300 (about US $7) per person for a group of 10, you can join an interactive farm tour, a coffee pairing activity, learning which coffee blend goes well with certain local delicacies like rice cakes. Other activities are lettuce picking and herb planting. Or why not splash out on Solitudo (P10,000 per person, minimum five per group), a holistic program that incorporates detox and retreat. Gourmet Farms has 10 crisp garden-set villas, designed for retreat and teambuilding programs, and a charming chapel.

Ilog Maria Honeybee Farm

Ilog Maria's open air shop where honeybee products and by-products are sold

Homemade soap from Ilog Maria
Ilog Maria Honeybee Farm, also in Silang, owned and run by the Magsaysay family, led by the dad Joel, offers informal tours. Drop by for a look-see of the family’s real life farm and eco lifestyle. The 14-hectare property, with its seven rivers, is where the Magsaysays naturally farm honeybees for honey and honey byproducts like propolis, honey cider, toiletries, beeswax candle, among over 100 products they use and sell in small scale. Only surplus bee honey is farmed and one bottle sold per customer. About 80% of the farm is run by solar panel. The farm converts used cooking oil into biodiesel to power their vehicles; use a windmill for their water source, and a biodigester which transforms human waste into gas.

Ilog Maria founder Joel Magsaysay shows off his little army of bees - his trusty aide in conducting bee sting therapy session
Every Wednesday, the dad Joel gives free Bee Sting Therapy sessions to patients suffering from all sorts of diseases. Magsaysay says the therapy helps awaken the body's immune and nervous system. Call the farm in advance to check its schedule.

Yoki's Farm

A homegrown orchid at Yoki's Farm
Yoki’s Farm in Mendez has orchid and anthurium nurseries. Orchid varieties you can buy are vanda, mokara, phalaenopsis and cattleya, selling at P150 per piece. Anthurium costs P250 per patch.

Yoki's Farm's lettuce are grown using a method called hydroponic planting

Interesting brass work - one of the hundreds of brass collections you can marvel at in Yoki's Farm

One of the bird species at Yoki's Farm's mini zoo section
The farm also has greenhouses where they grow semi-organic greens (lettuce, spinach, arugula) and herbs (wansoy) through a method called hydroponic planting, a mini zoo, and a huge warehouse with a vast collection of oriental antiques, gathered from the owner’s many travels abroad. You can see countless brass works, a collection of old lamps, period costumes, and ships carved out of jade stone.