Across the globe, forward-thinking hotels serve meals made with produce grown on-site. Their staff can just step outside and grab herbs, fruits, and vegetables for the kitchen. Good news is, this innovative approach is also happening in Marinduque right now!
“We try to make all available spaces at Balar productive and organic,” said Lorie Uy, owner of Balar Hotel and Spa, housewife, and mother to three wonderful boys.
The hotel offers Filipino and other Asian dishes, as well as cuisines with western influences. Every day, the hotel kitchen operates on a fixed supply chain of vegetables and fruits.
In the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the local community quarantine, food supplies became scarce and movement of fresh food from farmers to the market and eventually to the hotel proved to be a formidable challenge.
“Our sinigang is not the same sinigang if it lacks radishes, or okra, or kangkong, or all of that. It is frustrating,” shared Lorie Uy.
“Then it hit us! Our hotel manager, Jonelyn Madrigal, really encouraged all of us to do this project. And soon, we are already planting our own produce.”
“Now, we have tomatoes, eggplants, string beans, bottle gourds, lemon grass, okra, passion fruit, mint, basil, etc. in our garden,” chimes Lorie Uy, owner of Balar Hotel and Spa.
In no time, the hotel’s perimeter and path walks are filled with string beans, chili, and passion fruit.
“Now, we have tomatoes, eggplants, string beans, bottle gourds, lemon grass, okra, passion fruit, mint, basil, etc. in our garden,”chimes the excited hotel owner. “The produce is served at 10 y.o. Cafe and as lunch for us and for our staff.”
Lorie Uy and her family business are front runners in the implementation of the First Boac Community Food Garden Contest, together with AGREA International, Tulong Marinduque, TESDA Marinduque, and the Diocese of Boac.
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Gardening is a daunting activity for most people, and Lorie and her team were not spared.
“The quality and salinity of the soil is a challenge because we are near the beach. But the plants are thriving! Thank God,” she shares.
“AGREA is a constant inspiration. Their farm is also in front of a beach property and they are growing lettuce and vegetables.”
“Farming is for all. Let’s start today, no excuses.”