When we were going back to Manila from Tagaytay via Cavite last April my parents remembered a restaurant where they ate and were toured around the farm. We were not planning to enter as we saw the restaurant but curiosity got into the family and next thing we know our vehicle was parked inside the compound.
We were the only customers when we came in the restaurant, we took a seat and quickly asked for the menu. We were hungry. After one of the crew took our orders my father asked if he remembers correctly that the restaurant’s food are all organic. The crew man quickly said yes and explained to us that they had a system that all their vegetables and fruits comes from the farm at the back and directly goes to the restaurant.
While waiting for our food, Mr. Rodrigo Baumann, the manager of the store approached us and told us more about the diner and the farm located at the back. He explained that they were not just farming to supply the restaurant, they were also supplying hotels and restaurants around the Philippines. Not only do they sell their products at groceries.Â He also invited us on a tour of their organic farm at the back after we ate our late lunch.
They had a store inside the restaurant. They sell fresh vegetables, salad dressings, coffee, herbs that are still planted on a small pot and many more.
When our order came the manager left, for us to enjoy our food. And enjoy we did! I liked the Sicilian Chicken Salad and the Chicken Wrap (Cold Sandwich). The pizza we ordered was good too (I can’t remember what type of pizza we ordered). And to top it all, the manager gave each one of us half a glass of their refreshing Signature Lemonade, this is a must try. 🙂
After our gastronomic experience, one of the waiters approached us and asked if we were ready for the tour. Hell yeah!
We first introduced ourselves and asked for the name of the waiter. His name was Kuya Fernan. We then asked a few questions regarding the history of the place, he was well informed regarding the history of Gourmet’s. Curious, we asked how long was he working there, he said that he was working there 10 years already!
We passed by the old restaurant. My parents said that that was the restaurant where they dined and according to Kuya Fernan it was being renovated.
The next on the list was their packaging factory. I though it was only a farm at the back. Kuya Fernan explained that in order to ensure freshness and quality with their products as soon as they harvest the fruits and vegetables it is then sent immediately to the packaging factory and then shipped immediately to their customers.
Something then smelled right! The aroma of coffee was really good. We were passing through their gigantic coffee roaster. We saw through the windows the crew that were packing the coffee. I quickly asked Kuya Fernan how long does the coffee packing crew works every single day. He answered 5 days a week and 8 hours a day. Phew! With all the caffeine up in the air you could make someone work up to 16 hours a day. By the way, every worker had a face masks on to ensure that they won’t contaminate the product and the effect of the caffeine would be minimized.
Off we went to the greener part of the tour, the vegetables. It was all green and they were all arranged in a uniformed fashion which made it a good place to take pictures. Just by seeing the lettuces just makes you want to eat them without washing, they were all clean.
I’ve seen a lot of big farms on TV before to notice that there was something missing within the farm. I noticed a kalabaw beside one of the houses. I quickly went to our friendly and trustee guide, Kuya Fernan. “Why is it that there are no tractors inside the farm?” (In Tagalog) In order for them to be a licensed organic farm they have to reduce chemical contact with the plants. This includes the air that is being exhausted by fossil fuel based machines, also when you use tractors the probability of oil dripping to your soil or plants goes up.
Reducing chemical contact on their soil and plants also means that they will not use chemical fertilizers. Instead they have organic composts at one area of the farm. The materials from the composts are actually the vegetables that were not sold on the supermakets and returned to them. This ensures that the raw materials for the composts are organic. They also practice vermiculture.
When the tour was finished we went back to the restaurant and the manager gave each of us a glass of water without us asking. That was what we were all thinking. Maybe he had the gift of foresight.
We said our thanks and goodbyes to Mr. Baumann and Kuya Fernan. They really served us well.
They have WIFI at the restaurant, much faster than Starbucks and Carlos Pizza in Tagaytay. They accept credit cards too.