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Feb 28, 2009

'Miraculous' Plants at the Farm

limau nipis.gif

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. miracle berry.gifOtherwise 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, miracle berry fruit1.gifthe 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.

miracle berry bush.gif

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.


lemba1.gifIf 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. lemba flower2.gif



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

Useful Plants at the Farm - Gliricidia Sepium

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.

As a shade tree and windbreak
It is extremely fast growing and takes root even in poor soil.  It is an excellent fixer of atmospheric nitrogen and before too long, the soil where it is planted can be used to plant more nitrogen demanding plants.
Because of its fast growth, we plant it everywhere in the farm as a carbon seqeuster to reduce our carbon footprint arising from the carbon dioxide and methane emissions from the animals.
living fence.gif
Here it is as a living fence.  It will never rot, all we need do is to trim it, and it performs as a post while sequestering carbon.  Isn't nature wonderful?
The leaves make an excellent insect repellant and it can be used as fodder for goats due to its high protein content.  However, because of its high tannin content it is not suited for other ruminants and chickens.
The leaves can also be used to quicken the ripening of bananas and papayas.
The wood can be used as fuel wood and also to convert to biochar. 
The tree produces pretty pink flowers which can also be used as an insect repellent. flowers1.gif
Maybe because of the pretty flowers you can sometimes find them lining certain streets.by the road.gif                                   
But during the flowering season, pity the poor road sweeper.
flowers on road.gif

Useful Plants at the Farm - Cassia Alata

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.

Originally from South America, it is now endemic to Malaysia.  It has strong fungicide properties, the active ingredient of which is chrysophanic acid.  We use it to spray on vegetables and fruits during the wet season.
It is also used as an anti-fungal for humans and animals - we pound the leaves, add salt and some cooking oil and apply it to the skin.  Ringworm will be cured in two days.
Occasionally, we make a tea out of the leaf.  We dry it and then roast it lightly before storing it.  When needed, we use one or two leaves to make a mild tea.  It is diuretic, mildly laxative and apparently lowers blood sugar.
The 'feel-good' factor after drinking this tea may come from its systemic anti-fungal effects once it is ingested.

Feb 23, 2009

Panas Terik - Heat Wave

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.

Bukit Tinggi, Bentong, has it's own unique micro-climate, generally wet and humid throughout the year.
But for the past few years, we noticed changes to this micro climate.
We have really screwed up!  As an individual we can help by buying local and by supporting sustainable ( not just organic ) agriculture.  Industrialised agriculture,  both traditional and organic, is a major contributor to global warming.


Feb 21, 2009

Organic Tiffin Carrier?

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

Tanduk Rusa - Hi-Qi, High Energy Bio Nutrient

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:

Platycerium Coronarium or Staghorn Fern or Tanduk Rusa
We discovered that tanduk rusa is home to lots of PNSBs - photosynthetic bacteria which gives out high energy when they are activated with 'Qi'. Qi Gong practitioners are invited to experience this phenomena themselves.
Here, the staff is gathering the PNSBs from inside the tanduk rusa - watch out for centipedes, scorpions, etc.
Here's how the material rich in PNSBs look like.  These are used to multiply the PNSBs which will be used in combination with the lactobacillus sp. brew to enhance the energy level and health of the farm, plants and animals.
PNSBs are fermented first in total darkness, then in light, all in anaerobic conditions.  Once they are activated with energy, they never stop emitting these energy.  Many disbelievers have been convinced when they feel the energy emanating from the concentrated bio nutrients.  Some describe the feeling as almost like "static electricity'.  Others as "ants crawling on the skin", and still others, "something crawling around under the skin".
EM technology from Japan is build around the high energy of PNSBs.  Do a google search on Effective Microorganism and you will find lots of links.  At DQ Farm we have been using the energy of PNSBs since 2000.

Feb 17, 2009

Cold Chain - Don't Lose It!

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. 

We invested in two of these RM100,000 trucks with freezers running at -5 degrees to ensure that the chickens arrive to you in perfect condition.
An Infrared Thermometer gun used by our supervisors to measure surface temperature.
Our supervisors will take random readings of the chickens at every stage of the Cold Chain.  What we want is for the temperature at the surface (skin) of the chicken to be at between - 2 to + 3 degrees at every stage. 

Feb 16, 2009

No-Dig Herb and Vegetable Garden - Report No. 1

I have decided to have a no-dig herb and vegetable garden at the farm.  Here's my working sketch:


vegetablegardenatfarm copy.gif

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

Lactobacillus sp. - the Work Horse at DQ Farm

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

Eggs - There IS a difference!

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:


23:52 Posted in Chickens | Permalink | Comments (3) | Tags: organic eggs, eggs, omega 3, dha