Consider visiting Orchard Valley if you are making a tour of organic farms in Iloilo. This is a 33-hectare organic farm in the town of Pavia owned by Johnny Que, vice president of the Panay Organic Producers Association (POPA).
Soon upon entering the farm, you will notice a lot malunggay trees, thousands of them, that are pruned to about five feet tall, each with many leafy sprouts. Growing so many malunggay trees makes sense at Orchard Valley for a number of good reasons.
Reason No.1: Malunggay is very easy to culture. It is a perennial tree that can remain productive for many years. Once established, it is simply fertilized with organic fertilizer like animal manure from organic dairy cattle, chickens and other fowls.
Reason No.2: The malunggay trees are not attacked by insects, hence perfect for organic malunggay production for vegetable and other uses..
Reason No. 3: The malunggay leaves are sold as fresh organic vegetable in eight supermarkets in Iloilo City owned by Johnny Que’s family. Hence the market is no problem.
Reason No.4: The leaves are also fed to the milking cows to promote higher milk production. Being organic, the milk produced commands a high price in the market. The milk is also made into organic yoghurt.
Reason No.5: The powdered leaves, on the other hand, are used by a sister in her bakeshop to produce malunggay pandesal.
A big space is used for growing lettuce, upland kangkong and culinary herbs which all find their way to their own supermarkets. Orchard Valley has a resident chef who concocts salads and other food preparations using the products produced in the farm like white cheese and the leafy greens. Aside from salads, they serve fried mushrooms, deep fried rootcrops, camote leaves ala tempura, organic yoghurt, various desserts, organic juices and more.
Orchard Valley is an accredited tourism destination as well as a TESDA learning site where students go to train on organic agriculture. There they learn to produce fermented plant and fruit juices as plant growth promotant and protection from pests and diseases. They also learn to take care of free range chickens for egg and meat, native pigs sans foul smell and rabbits for meat and manure for vermicomposting.