Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Visiting a HK Organic Farm

Started out the day with a papaya-coconut "salad". So good.

Whenever I am here in HK, we always have our greens delivered for our salads and smoothies.
You call the day before, and then they actually go out and pick the order for you.

Its really marvelous. Every Tuesday and Saturday they come by with two big bags of greens and some other veggies...usually tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli, cabbage, and onions.

So last night, Iris was talking to the lady over the phone, adjusting the order because we were getting way too many cabbages that we just werent eating, and she asked if
it was possible that I could stop by and visit the farm.
Luckily, the lady said it would be no problem.

So I headed out there after lunch (coconut water blended with spinach)
and stayed for about 3 hours.

No one there spoke English, and my Cantonese is pretty poor (I just know basic market-talk and some phrases)...so with some easy to understand body language, I got the hint that I could just walk around and explore for myself. The place was HUGE.

I started around the vegetable areas...
they grow lots of carrots and chinese kale and spinach...all well and good.

I then took the back pathways and walked into the
papaya, banana, and tangerine orchards.
There were birds everywhere.

One of the biggest bonus of growing your own food and having your own "garden of eden" is that the animals know a good thing when they see it and really start to congregate.
All of a sudden, you have portable lawn ornaments flying and buzzing around everywhere.
I havent heard birds like that in such a long time...truly a gift.

I was walking by an old woman picking ginger...

and noticed that tomatoes were growing everywhere without rhyme or reason.
Like...wild tomatoes everywhere.

Underneath the papaya trees, along the pathways...everywhere.
Little sweet red ones. Havent had one like that since september.

And then I saw that there was a little pile of wild sorrel that someone picked out of the ground and left on the pathway...as if it was some kind of unwanted weed.

I looked around, and it was EVERYWHERE. My back was getting sore trying to pick it all...
and they dont even want this stuff. You cant even buy it!

I found some lambsquarters, mint, and purslane too. I could have picked all those other greens, but it was the WEEDS that got me excited. This is where the magic is.
I think in the spring Im going to ask some organic farmers at the NYC greenmarket if I can go and eat unwanted weeds for them.
Grazer for hire...?

I wondered into the banana orchard and it was THICK. Very thick undergrowth.

It felt so great to be surrounded by so much green life.

I found a banana still on the tree that was ready to eat.
Check it out...SEEDS. Just like nature intended...

Im not big on bananas, but I had to try one right off the tree.
And on the banana trees, these lovely flowers were growing everywhere.

I simply can't get over the beauty found in nature...

Check out the white pollen inside of these. Amazing.

I picked all the pollenated ones that were shriveled up...

...put half in my bag and ate the other half.
I ate a VERY large amount. They were really tasty.
Not sure what they were, but I know that most flowers are not poisonous...
Dont take my word for it though.
Its been 4 hours and Im still alive, so I think it was a worthy gamble.
Not like Im picking mushrooms or anything.

I was totally in the zone though. You know that feeling where you are doing something
that you totally love? Time just withers away and you are completely in the NOW.
That's how you KNOW that you are doing what your soul wants you to do.

Here are a few more pics:

Organic Papayas:

And look at this papaya flower...reminds me of a humpback whale.

Speak of the devil...STYROFOAM!!!

An unidentified tree...possibly immature rambutans? Not quite sure.

Cucumbers climbing the strings...

I think these are tangerines...really small and sweet.

Corn...its January here and the corn looks like this.
You dont see this site in Minnesota until August.

Collecting seed...a must if you plan to be truly self-sufficient:

And strawberries getting started...

And when I arrived home...
The best salad I could hope for. Totally wild and rare.

What a wonderful day.

The trip to Sabah (Malaysia-Borneo) is confirmed.
I dont know when Im going to be over here again,
so I figured its best to do as much as I can while Im on this side of the Pacific.
Next year I want to get back to the western US and hopefully down to Latin America.
I love SE Asia though, and Ive only seen a teeny-little bit.

Check out my youtube video from the day here.

Have a great day everyone! Make it the best!



Bella said...

Be careful of the leeches in Borneo! Just sayin'.

And thanks for this post... I love how detailed it is, and how beautiful your photos are.

And SE Asia is one of favorite places in the whole world! I feel a really strong connection with it. I plan to go back again and again.

Have fun on the next leg of the trip!


raw by default said...

Are you still alive, or did the flowers get you? LOL... Just kidding. That's a very pretty salad.

Kristen's Raw said...

Simply GORGEOUS. Heavenly post, I loved reading it and I'm going back to read it again...feel like I'm right there with you.


Anonymous said...

You know how you were talking about how gross the coconuts in America are in comparison to the coconuts there. Well guess what I found out? The Young Tai Coconuts here are soaked in formaldehyde to make the outside of the coconut stay white, and the formaldehyde leeks into the coconut water. Gross. Yeah I'm not eatting anymore coconuts here. I would rather have the benefits of coconut in oil form.

When I found that, out I was totally shocked. I can't believe how low the FDA will go to keep people sick. It's horrible.
Anyway, I just wanted to pass that onto you.
Have a great day!

joe said...

Your blog is simply amazing. I've always been scared to adventure to the third world countries, afraid of all the crime/fraud they have. This has really opened my mind. A lot of these places seem so wild & free. America doesn't even come close to comparing...

joss said...

how did that banana taste? I've always wanted to have one right off the tree.

Anonymous said...

You have...bravery. I'm always so intimidated to travel abroad - the different languages, cultural things..you seem VERY comfortable in a way that I'll never be. BEAUTIFUL pictures, I read your blog all the time - I just don't comment :) Keep showing us your journeys!

Bella said...

Oh man. That coconut news is very depressing. I'd prefer to refrain from the formaldehyde cocktails if possible. Does anyone, Anthony, or any of you other guys know what that means as far as what we should be looking for here? Or even if we CAN find healthy non-treated coconuts? I'd love to hear anything you guys know about it.


nancycola said...

Hey Anthony,
LOVED your pics and post about the organic farm. I'm drooling. Thanks for all the detail. I felt transported.

It's shameful about the coconuts. I'll have to double check my food coop organic coconuts. Make sure there's no formaldehyde business there. Could that be avoided at all?

Anyway, will see you soon!

junglegirl said...

The "unindentified tree" is a castor bean tree. What castor oil is made of, and they are very poisonous, but I can't remember details.

Great post, I loved it! I love hearing of your travels and your raw discoveries!

Cristian Rivero said...

the "rambutans shrub" is called tártago in spanish.. don't even think about eating it! it could be mortal