The path to Ladybird Organic Farm
When I received an invitation from Melvita to visit the Ladybird Organic Farm in Broga, Semenyih in conjunction with their Earth Month activities, I didn’t hesitate to confirm my attendance even though I am a city slicker through and through. Still, what harm can there be indulging in a brisk walk through the countryside? It held more advantages than disadvantages and besides, I would come away with a better understanding of what it takes to run an organic farm. Okay, the name Ladybird Organic Farm made me think it was a farm that bred ladybirds but a quick check on their facebook page revealed that this is an organic vegetable farm.
Melvita’s organic products have a high ratio of organic ingredients so it was quite appropriate that the brand organise a trip to an organic farm so that we could have a first-hand look at all that went on there. This was a half-day event which included an organic vegetarian lunch.
Some of the guests on this trip made their way to the farm in their own vehicles while the rest of us took the Melvita coach from the city. No thanks to a latecomer (why is there always a latecomer and what excuse did he have given that it was early Saturday morning?), we commenced our trip at 8.15am and arrived at the farm 45 minutes later by which time some of were making a beeline for the loo which basically is a row of sheds with hole-in-the-ground facilities so try to hold it in if you are averse to spartan commodes.
The tour begins
The tour began with an introduction to the farm by David, the farm manager who began by speaking in Mandarin. I have a rather rudimentary understanding of the language which doesn’t extend to fertiliser processing techniques so I’m not going to try and translate anything from the introduction. Ladybird Organic Farm is 14 acres and we only covered a small portion of the farm. I doubt I could have managed traversing the entire farm anyway as I was already sweating profusely when we were at the vegetable planting section.
There’s lots of flora and fauna and definitely THE place to bring your kids if you want to drag them away from their gadgets. I admit this was going out of my comfort zone as there were also lots of creepy-crawlies including ants in my pants (literally!). I could feel ant bites on my legs. I was thinking “Get me out of here! I’m a city slicker!”.
Adorable or what?
We were brought uphill to look at a passionfruit growing area, rabbit hutch and geese pen. The rabbits were simply adorable and we were given lettuce to feed them. There were dozens of them hopping around and from the looks of it, they were constantly eating. It’s a rabbit’s life and it’s all right!
The geese were a little agitated whenever anyone got to close. I don’t know if they were bred for consumption, they all looked very fat and huge. Roast goose is delicious especially with that sweet sauce but let’s not go there. This is a vegetable farm after all.
Siew pak choy
I’m not much of a vegetable loving person as I admit to being selective with my vegetables. There are certain vegetables I love but I only know them by their names in Cantonese. When I looked at the tedious, cumbersome and back-breaking task of planting organic vegetables, I began to appreciate why organic vegetables are so much more expensive than non-organic. Bayam takes 20 days to harvest and other vegetables take 30 days or 45 days. It’s a long process and so when you look at all the hard work that goes into planting organic vegetables, you begin to realise why the price is justified.
Ladybird Organic Farm supplies their vegetables and other produce such as bananas directly to the consumer. They don’t supply to sundry shops or supermarkets. Their most basic package is RM190 per month and if you take that package, you get 8 types or vegetables, beans and fruits delivered to you once a week, each package is half a kilo. In the 8 types will be at least 4 leafy vegetables while the rest will consist of 2 beans and 2 fruits but you can always request for more leafy vegetables if you don’t want beans and/or fruits.
Planting organic vegetables is very time-consuming
David explained that the workers at the farm are all foreigners as locals do not wish to do such laborious work. It’s not surprising that we have to depend on foreign labour. Other than the passionfruit grove and some durian plants, we didn’t see the other fruit areas but they also grow dragon fruit, jackfruit, langsat, papaya, pineapple, rambutan and roselle (love their roselle juice!).
Beans grown there are long beans, baby french beans, four angled beans, hyacinth beans, lady’s fingers, snake beans, pea sprouts and sweet peas. They have melons too – bitter gourd, chayote, cucumber, eggplants, fuzzy melon, Japanese cucumber, luffa, pumpkin and small bitter gourd.
Choices of leafy vegetables range from broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, Chinese Mustard, HK Choi Sum, Fu Mak Mini Cos Lettuce, Japanese Choi Sum, Sweet Potato Leaves, Red Amaranth, Watercress Leaves to Water Spinach and many more.
An interesting part of the tour was when David explained a concoction using 1kg molasses, 3kg kitchen waste (spoilt vegetables, fruit peels) and 10 litres of water. Add all to a tub and leave to ferment for 3 months. The mixture can be used to mop floors, wash toilets and other cleaning purposes. It will keep away ants and cockroaches.
Add 1kg molasses
Followed by kitchen waste
The farm grows misai kucing and Sabah snake grass which have medicinal benefits/properties:-
The farm has a small organic shop and one of their specialties and bestsellers is the almond milk:-
We were treated to a fab lunch before heading back to the city:-
Their sweet corn soup was thick and creamy but rather bland:-
This month when you shop at Melvita, go green by bringing your own shopping bag and earn 100 eco-points per receipt.
Ladybird Organic Farm is located at Lot 1731, Batu 25, Jalan Broga, 43500 Semenyih, Selangor )Tel : 03-8723 6863).