Monday, May 16, 2005

Biosearch Fair

I spent yesterday morning at the Biosearch Fair which went on at the World Trade Center. I had also been there on their first day last Friday and had gone back this time to take Sister Rosalie (Vibrant Earth Foundation). I wanted her to see the Virgin Coconut Oil machine extractor and consider it for the foundation's farm in Quezon Province. The farm is 28 hectares and full of coconut trees. Carica, the company that sells this machine, also trains workers on how to produce Virgin Coconut Oil and coconut food products. For all vegetarians and health buffs out there, Carica's coconut burger is really and truly meaty delicious! Sister Rosalie unceremoniously ate her coconut burger in 20 seconds flat. Actually, I don't really know how many seconds it was but it was pretty fast. And to think she was telling me to chew my food 50 times (I'm not kidding) before swallowing.

OPTA members were there in full force and some products were really very interesting and quite tasty. First on my list of wonderful food products is the Arenga vinegar. Made from the Sugar Palm Tree which grows wild along the riverbanks and ravines of Philippine forests, its sap is then fermented in earthenware jars and sold in glass bottles. This vinegar is so good I sometimes drink it with a spoon! I'm not the only one who thinks so as it has won awards in Asia, Germany and Australia. If you like Chicken Adobo, you will love it using Arenga vinegar. Second on my list is the Pili Nut Oil. Cold-pressed and virgin, it is healthy with a distinct nutty taste. I must make a salad dressing. Third on my list is the naturally roasted sea salt sold by the same organic producer, Fernando Simon. Fine and flaky and not too salty, I can see myself sipping Bloody Mary's. This sounds like a menu in the making and I must oblige in honor of a successful shopping day at Biosearch. Before I write out some recipes, I would like to mention a few other products I didn't purchase this time but do plan to when I find recipes I can use them in. I just want to keep my ingredients fresh and who knows how long I'll have these stashed away before I find a suitable recipe. So I will keep in mind the interesting coconut flour, fruit vinegars, lemongrass syrup and bitterless ampalaya for the next time I want to try cooking something new. Another thing I bought was Alamid coffee for my sister who is a coffee afficionado. Alamid is a Civet in English, a nocturnal animal that feeds on coffee cherries among other things. Its producer, Basil Reyes, graciously offered me a cup to taste which led me to buy the small size bottle of roasted beans. It was really very good. Expensive but worth it.


Anonymous said...

I never realized that there was such an interesting selection of ingredients as the ones you mentioned you encountered in the fair. I hope you will be experimenting soon and that your recipes will come out on your blog.

Anonymous said...

Pest control in the perennial garden
If you have any good tips please post trhem on my blog

One of the many advantages of growing perennials is the ability of these beautiful flowers to return to full bloom season after season. While this ability to bloom repeatedly is one of the things that makes perennials so special, it also introduces a number of important factors into your gardening plan. One of the most important of these is a proper pest control regimen.

While a garden full of annuals starts each season as a blank slate, the perennial garden is essentially a work in progress. The fact that the plants stay in the ground through winter makes things like proper pruning, disease management and pest control very important. If the garden bed is not prepared properly after the current growing season, chances are the quality of the blooms will suffer when the next season rolls around.

One of the most important factors to a successful perennial pest control regimen is the attention and vigilance of the gardener. As the gardener, you are in the best position to notice any changes in the garden, such as spots on the leaves, holes in the leaves, or damage to the stems. Any one of these could indicate a problem such as pest infestation or a disease outbreak.

It is important to nip any such problem in the bud, since a disease outbreak or pest infestation can easily spread to take over an entire garden. Fortunately for the gardener, there are a number of effective methods for controlling both common pests and frequently seen plant diseases.

Some of these methods are chemical in nature, such as insecticides and fungicides, while others are more natural, like using beneficial insects to control harmful ones. While both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages, many gardeners prefer to try the natural approach first, both for the health of the garden and the environment.

There is an additional benefit of the natural approach that many gardeners are unaware of. These days, it is very popular to combine a koi pond with a garden, for a soothing, relaxing environment. If you do plan to incorporate some type of fish pond into your garden landscape, it is critical to avoid using any type of insecticide or fungicide near the pond, since it could seep into the water and poison the fish. Fish are extremely sensitive to chemicals in the environment, especially with a closed environment like a pond.

As with any health issue, for people or plants, prevention is the best strategy to disease control and pest control alike. The best defense for the gardener is to grow a garden full of the healthiest, most vigorous plants possible. Whenever possible, varieties of plants bred to be disease or pest resistant should be used. There are a number of perennials that, through selective breeding, are quite resistant to the most common plant diseases, so it is a good idea to seek them out.

Happy gardening,