With its total land area of 2,444 square kilometers, Davao City has rich fertile land for agricultural uses. From this land come its signature fruits of durian, pomelo, and mangosteen, plus rambutan, lanzones, marang, banana, and other agricultural products.
In the past years, the cold mountainous area of Calinan and Marilog has produced organic vegetables and fruits for the Davaoeños. Urban gardeners have also supplied local restaurants with organic produce.
Balay Verde’s farm-to-table concept is by the United Organic Farmers. We got to meet Louella Garcia and her daughter Mavic Agbisit of Huni Farm in Wangan, Calinan, and Gerardo Suela and wife, Michelle of Gems Farm in Tacunan.
A group of bloggers from Davao Digital Influencers and Davao Bloggers Society were invited to a whole day of farm visits to Huni and Gems Farm to see how vegetables, fruits, cows, pigs, chickens, quails are grown and raised naturally. We also harvested greens and ate organic lechon then visit the Balay Verde Restaurant in Abreeza to sample their buffet, juices, and salads.
Everything that is prepared and served at the Balay Verde is a product of the natural way of farming. It is being mindful of how nature works, the life cycles of animals and even the natural insects, and how we can properly harness nature without harming the soil, the air, and ourselves.
So this is how our farm tour went. Ms. Louella of Huni Farm welcomed us with a breakfast of pancit, biko, saging, and freshly-squeezed passion fruit juice.
Then we went off to check on the pigs and the chickens. One thing that was very noticeable was the absence of unpleasant smell associated with pig and chicken farms. Second, grasses were allowed to grow but not to the point that it overpowered the vegetables and other plants.
Third was the presence of plants that were “new” to my eyes: the Gac, a passion fruit look-alike but with tiny soft spikes, purple atis, and red kulitis (Filipino spinach).
Feeds and fertilizers were developed from the farm using surplus vegetables, animal wastes and left-over food from the restaurant. Everything is recycled and reused.
We harvested vegetables and fruits to bring home.
Then the next stop is the Gems Farm for lunch of organic lechon that had a very thin layer of fat, freshly picked buko for our juice, law-uy (vegetable dish made from assorted vegetables, biko, and marang.
Last stop is the restaurant in the city for yet another round of eating but this time, of different freshly-made vegetable salads using the products from the farms. My new favorite is the Balay Verde which had smoked fish, salted egg, kesong puti, cherry tomatoes, and romaine lettuce. It was a typical Filipino breakfast but in salad form.
Aside from the Balay Verde salad, there is a whole variety of salad bowls to choose from: Kerabu, Lily’s, Midori, Hola Miss Michelle, French Farmer, and The King Kale. Price starts at PhP240 to 270. Each salad has its own unique all-natural dressing.
If you do not want your salad in a bowl, order the salad wraps.
If you are not into the salads, the lunch buffet is PhP299 with free-flowing fresh tea and meat and vegetable viands. The merienda buffet is PhP199 with your choice of brewed coffee, hot chocolate or fresh juice.
Balay Verde is guaranteed to satisfy our food cravings for wholesome and delicious food at the same time making us conscious of how the natural way of producing our food can make us not only environmentally friendly but healthy as well.
Balay Verde is at the 2nd level of the Abreeza Mall in JP Laurel Avenue, Bajada, Davao City.
How to get there:
Major airlines fly daily to Davao City from Manila and Cebu. Travel time from Manila is an hour and 50 minutes while Cebu takes only 50 minutes.
Balay Verde at Abreeza is only 20-30 minutes depending on traffic flow from the Francisco Bangoy International Airport.