Feb 28, 2009
The young green unripe limau nipis,(Citrus Aurantifolia), or key lime, is the most aromatic fruit you will ever taste. We kid you not!!
But you need to first eat one of the berries from this bush - the Miracle Berry bush. Otherwise the extreme sourness of the limau will shut down all your other senses and you will not be able to experience the aroma. After you chew on the berry, the sourness of the limau is ‘smothered’ by sweetness. The limau becomes so delicious you want to finish off the whole fruit and you have to remind yourself what’s happening to avoid a major tummy upset later on.
The Miracle Berry Bush
The miracle berry is a bush from West Africa (Synsepalum dulcificum or Richadella dulcifica).
The active ingredient is called Miraculin, which in itself is not sweet, but the tongue, once exposed to miraculin, perceives sour foods such as citrus as sweet for up to a couple of hours afterwards.
If you chew on the fruit of the lemba or curculi latifolia, plain water and any sour drink will taste sweet. The lemba is found in wet areas of the jungle and we can find them in the jungle next to our farm. The leaves can be used to make ropes and for wrapping things.
There's a patent in the USA (Patent 5378489 ) for the use of the active ingredient, curculin, as a form of sweetener by a team of Japanese scientists.
Don't you think we Malaysians should be ashamed of ourselves for not recognising the value of plants that's growing literally right outside our doorsteps?
Feb 27, 2009
This is a plant from Central America, now endemic in Malaysia. It is an inconspicuous and not particularly pretty small tree. You will see it by the road side growing wild. It is known as 'pokok pagar' locally. In our farm, it serves multiple functions.
You have most probably noticed this plant at the roadside, especially near earth-drains and low-lying wet areas. It is called Cassia Alata or Gelenggang.
Feb 23, 2009
It's "unseasonal", the heat at our farm lately. Noon day ambient can reach 38 celcius. Chickens stop eating and some drop dead from heat stroke.
Feb 21, 2009
Not exactly, but Calvinn and Adeline do deliver to your homes, home-cooked meals (cooked by Adeline) from mostly organic ingredients. In 2002 they started on a business model of providing a "screening" service for customers, i.e. they make it their business to check out all those food brands and their claims by interviewing the people behind them and then visiting the factories or farms and seeing for themselves how things are done. They can tell you some horror stories. Those brands that meet their high standards will be endorsed by them and delivered to your homes.
We first met them in 2002 and in the years thereafter they never fail to 'check' on us by visiting the farm and checking the nooks, crannies and corners.
They try to lead a LOHAS lifestyle. Their children are home-schooled, and food is mostly organic, whole food and home-cooked.
Feb 19, 2009
Many visitors to our farm have wondered why we have tanduk rusa ( platycerium coronarium or staghorn fern) all over the farm. They are even found on the fruit trees.
The reason is the bacteria in the plant gives out very high beneficial energy. Trees with tanduk rusa are stronger. We harvest these bacteria and spray them on our vegetables, fruits, everywhere, for their beneficial energy:
Feb 17, 2009
One of the most important food safety precautions is keeping the Cold Chain intact. Since 2001 when we first started we noticed many fresh poultry suppliers giving scant consideration to this very important food safety concern. The delivery truck is extremely important in our hot climate. Our truck runs at - 5 degrees celcius. Yes, it is below freezing point, but what many suppliers do not realise is that each time the truck stops and unloads, the surface temperature of the meat product is affected, allowing for the growth of bacteria.
Feb 16, 2009
I have decided to have a no-dig herb and vegetable garden at the farm. Here's my working sketch:
I will build up the soil by first laying down a layer of dried lalang, then some goat dung, followed by compost. To protect the soil and to reduce the need for watering a thick layer of mulch will top off the planting medium. Seeds will be sown directly on to the medium and protected from birds and being washed away by the mulch.
As the vegetables are harvested, we need only top up with compost and dried lalang. There is no need for turning of the soil, no need for fallowing, etc. Season by season, we will build up the soil and it will never be depleted of nutrients.
Here are the result of the first day's work:
I am pretty satisfied with the first day's work. It looks like it is not only going to be productive, but also aesthetically pleasing. The workers will have a variety of vegetables for their meals with minimal input of labour and time.
Feb 12, 2009
The work horse at our farm is lactobacillus sp. We use farm-caught indigenous lactobacillus and brew an Indigenous Micro Organism brew which is sprayed liberally throughout the farm to enhance the health of plants, animals and humans.
The container on the left is two days old. The curds are seperating out now as the lactobacillus starts to convert the sugars to lactic acid. The one on the right is still new.
The curd (left) is removed after about a week. The curd is then fed to the animals. Some of the staff make a cheese out of the curd.
The yellowish liquid left behind is a concentrate of lactobacillus sp. which will be used to make our IMO spray.
The lactobacillus 'Mother' ready for use. The addition of raw molasses keeps the bacteria alive and prolongs the shelf life to years.
This is one of the ways how we 'disinfect' and how we keep the farm healthy.
Feb 07, 2009
We sent eggs previously, a few years back to test for omega 3. In particular we were interested in the omega 6: omega 3 ratio. We were not surprised to find 'ayam kampung' eggs and 'organic' eggs having ratios of 20 to 1. We were focussing on the omega 6: omega 3 ratio and not on questions like whether the eggs are free-ranging or not, really organic or not, etc.
As a result of the tests, we wanted to produce our own eggs. We have been doing trials on grass fed, free-range eggs for a few months now and we were surprised that physically there seems to be a difference:
The left egg is a normal egg bought from a supermarket. The expiry date is another 14 days away
The egg on the right is a DQ egg which has been in the refridgerator for 10 days. The supermarket egg is a full 30% bigger.
The white of the supermarket egg is all over and watery. The DQ egg has a thicker white around the yolk, and lesser watery white.
The DQ yolk and albumen stands up, whilst the supermarket egg flattens out.
We are surprised that there are physical differences. We do not know what these differences mean. A friend said it just means that the supermarket egg is less fresh and could be stale. Stale? With the expiry 14 days away?
We will be sending our eggs for omega 6: omega 3 ratio tests and keep this blog posted.
PS: This is the Lady that laid the egg: