Tuesday, July 16, 2019

From farm to table in the urban jungle

GIVEN the rising number of people who advocate a healthy lifestyle by eating organic fruits and vegetables, urban farms and farm-to-table concept restaurants have increased in number.

One of those who have been actively advocating organic farming and healthy lifestyle is Rodelio Dalisay.

As a chef with experience in the kitchen and managing restaurants and one who has a background in Plant Pathology, Plant Biochemistry, Breeding and Genetic Engineering, Dalisay has been contributing to agriculture technology in Davao City since he came back to the country in 2006.

He developed a garden out of a large piece of land that he inherited from his grandfather and continued his passion in growing plants without the use of any inorganic fertilizers.

What was supposed to be a plan for retirement became a business opportunity.

In 2013, he opened a restaurant located in Regina Compound, Barangay 20-B, Bajada called Wynward Garden and Bistro.

As an advocate of organic farming and healthy lifestyle, the main reason for putting up the business is to provide meals that are both healthy and satisfying to consumers.

“The farm-to-table concept is more on growing your own vegetables. In this restaurant, when customers come in, they are served with vegetables from my own garden,” Dalisay said.

“Living healthy does not mean buying these expensive produce because you can be healthy by just choosing organic and locally grown produce. Marami kasi tayong vegetables dito na mataas naman ang health benefits,” he said.

At present, the restaurant offers dishes for vegetarians such as parmesan encrusted eggplant stackers, veggie burger, vegetarian pizza and others. There are also chicken, beef, fish and seafood dishes for those who still prefer a healthy meal with meat. With the growing demand for more organic produce, Dalisay developed another garden in Datu Salumay, Marilog District. This time, much wider and more plants could survive due to its cold weather.

And while most people now are into ketogenic diet, a very low-carb diet, the restaurant’s newest features are its keto meals such as the baked bean burrito, chicken broccoli frittata, chicken bacon sandwich, Cambodian cashew chicken, ginger shiitake tuna belly, creamy Italian chicken, among others.

There are also Keto diet workshops that Dalisay personally organized last year. They cater people who want to lose weight naturally, those with medical problems or those who are just concerned of their health.

Dalisay said he had plans in mind to expand the business, probably in Marilog where his other garden is also located. However, he wanted to focus on improving his garden to be able to provide quality organic produce.

“Getting into this business is both challenging and awarding. Challenging because you have to know more about organic farming and you have to grow your own vegetables, and of course have the patient to do it. Kasi when we talk about this organic farm-to-table, mas complicated. When it comes to cooking, you also need to have the knowledge in combining all these vegetables to give the best benefits and give a hundred percent satisfaction for your customers,” he said.

“If you want your business to flourish, you have to have your own concept as well,” he added.


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