Ever wonder why the greens in your salad are always so fresh and crisp? That’s because the lettuce, herbs, and some of the fruits and vegetables served in the El Nido Resorts buffet come from our organic farm and greenhouses in El Nido town! Our commitment to sustainability includes serving organically grown food and buying locally whenever possible. By operating our organic farm and greenhouses in El Nido, we are able to serve the freshest organically grown salad greens, fruits, and vegetables to our guests, hire more staff from the local community, and cut down on our carbon emissions by not having to transport our produce from Manila. Everybody wins!
Have I mentioned that field trips are oh so wonderful because you learn something new and have fun with your friends at the same time? I asked Macy and Kring to take me on a mini road trip so that I could see how our fruits and vegetables look like before they end up in my tummy. We headed to town bright and early and met up with Kuya Mesach, the Environment Department’s all-around awesome support guy. Our first stop was El Nido Airport for the greenhouses. The airport’s official name is “El Nido Airport” but locals call it “Lio Airport” after the nickname of the barangay where the airport is located (Brgy. Villa Libertad). The greenhouses were interesting because they were very different from the ones I usually see in photos and movies. Instead of having glass walls and roof, our greenhouses are enclosed by very fine mesh nets, with the roofs covered by plastic sheeting. A crafty and inexpensive alternative! The nets keep the bugs out so we don’t need to use pesticides, while the plastic sheeting has the same heat-trapping properties as glass. I entered the oldest greenhouse, where we grow tarragon, basil, oregano, mint, and peppermint. They smelled so good, I wanted to sniff them all! This is also where we get the herbs for our organic tea. Just imagining all the wonderful dishes our chefs would prepare using all those fresh herbs made my mouth water.
We also visited the greenhouses for the different varieties of lettuce. The ground was really muddy because the gardeners were watering the lettuce but I didn’t mind. Getting dirty is part of the job and our job is definitely fun. The lettuce was fabulous! The bright green leaves were a refreshing sight and not just because green is one of my favorite colors. The lettuce leaves looked crisp and ready to harvest. They gave me a hankering for some fresh salad. We filmed the next “Enchanting El Nido” episode in the greenhouses, so watch out for it!
From the greenhouses, we trooped to our organic farm in Dalimatan. This is where we grow some of the fruits and vegetables we serve on the buffet, such as eggplant, string beans, tomatoes, okra, mangoes, melon, and watermelon. We also got to see our humongous mommy pigs and their piglets, cows, and tilapia. Yes, we rear our own animals too. It was a real-life Farmville, with all the fresh food but no mouse clicking!
The greenhouses and farm are great learning destinations, especially for folks who want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes of a luxury property. Couple a cool field trip with excellent company and you have the makings of a great day. Here’s to the freshest and healthiest fruits and vegetables El Nido has to offer!
Nice to see others in organic farming. We are into sugar cane and rice in the Bacolod Area. We also have goats and cattle. We have been interested in hydroponics or aquaponics, raising fish and vegetables together.
That’s great! What organic farming methods do you use for growing sugarcane and rice?
My brother in law manages the rice and sugar cane. The use of organic fertilizer and pesticides are best. There is commercial organic fertilizer but a person can also make their own with chicken manure and compost. Sugar cane sometimes requires more pesticides to save the crop, however, so it is more difficult to raise totally organic. The less chemicals used, the better off we are. We try and that is our goal.