First-time in Fresh Start Organic Farm
In some malls in Bacolod City you will find this store or area with neatly packed greens bearing the name Fresh Start filling a portion of the shelves. They even have organic soaps and personal care products, too! So, who would have thought that I’d be stepping on the very land where their fresh produce and raw materials are grown?
There were six of us bloggers and forum administrators — online partners of the 9th Negros Island Organic Farmers Festival — who joined one of the organizers in this farm tour. We drove through the landscape of sugarcane plantations, a common sight in the Negros island of the Philippines. Suddenly, we made a quick turn towards a tiny street that was filled with trainloads of sugar cane. Then the Fresh Start signage greeted us at the gate, followed by the colorful rows of vegetables.
Our guide brought us to their facility where they do their vermicomposting area. Fresh Start boasts that they do not use chemicals in their products but, instead, uses the natural process of growing their produce. They do careful research and testing as to which is good for the environment and the human body.
Then we proceeded to their nursery, where cute baby lettuces are cultivated. A mud house (yes, a house that is literally built with mud) is used as a facility where they wash the lettuces. It was interesting that as soon as we entered its door the temperature inside the mud house felt cooler.
Outside, beds of aloe vera plants, basil, stevia, kale, cilantro, and other vegetables were carefully laid out. Olive trees and cinnamon trees provide shade to other plants. We picked an asparagus shoot and took a bite at the crunchy, delicious, freshly-picked veggie.
Too bad we had to leave and return to the festival grounds, but we were happy to be afforded this opportunity to see the very source — the “fresh start” — of all these healthy, organic products. Fresh Start owner Ramon Uy, Jr.met us at the Capitol Road and treated us to a sumptuous lunch and a rich serving of stories and insights on organic farming.