When we visited the AANI Weekend Market at FTI last week, we observed that young tamarind leaves were selling at P600 per kilo. These are the new shoots that are used to add special flavor to lechon, grilled chicken, the soupy Sinampalokang Manok dish, and other Filipino food preparations.
Well, this led us to think of a simple project that will not probably make one a multi-millionaire but which can add to the income of enterprising persons who have at least a place to plant sampalok trees. The idea is to plant at least 100 tamarind trees that may be just two or three meters apart. It could be along the periphery of a property.
You grow these 100 trees to a height of two meters, constantly pruning them so that they develop a lot of branches. Fertilize them with a lot of organic fertilizer and some inorganic nitrogen so they will produce a lot of new leaves. Don’t forget to provide them with a steady supply of water so the soil does not become too dry. You can harvest the new leaves regularly for sale.
You have to look for steady buyers of your tamarind shoots. These could be restaurants, lechon makers and public market stallholders. If you can establish yourself as someone who can supply young sampalok leaves at any one time, people who need the same will come to you. Make sure that you plant the sour variety of tamarind.
Of course, if you have developed a big clientele, you can always expand your plantation. If the same can be packed attractively, you could offer the same to supermarkets. Maybe some science-minded guys can experiment on making new products out of the young leaves. Who knows young leaves made into powder could find new culinary applications. Who really knows?