Being able to visit a farm, choose their products and then consume them in the hotel restaurant is usually a very satisfying experience. It just hits you with a feeling of gratitude for food like no one else.
Hidden inside Kampung Pulau Meranti in Puchong is an organic plantation that offers you this table farm experience. Known as Bug’s Paradise Farm, is where you can plant, pick and enjoy your vegetables in a steam-steamed restaurant.
Eat whatever you choose
Most of us recognize organic vegetables from their labels, stacked perfectly on the shelves of a supermarket. We know their names from their packaging, but how often have you wondered how they were grown?
Thus, Bug’s Paradise opened its doors, which allowed tourists and locals to step in and take a tour of their farm.
Throughout the guided tour, its general manager, Zhan Hui, will talk about how vegetables are grown, along with the experiences of the farming team. Visitors can also grow some vegetables on the farm and return periodically to observe their sprouting.
“And the visit to the farm will end with a special snack (since our kitchen manager has a vegetable, organic and original taste). We hope everyone can taste fresh vegetables, as they are much more nutritious and taste better than others, ”its head of sales and marketing, Cheo Yee Jing, told Vulcan Post.
After a month or two, visitors who have planted a seed can revisit the farm to harvest their vegetables. They could also head to the farm’s steam restaurant to enjoy the fruits (or vegetables, in this case) of their work.
Partner with a known player
The reason for Bug’s Paradise concept is that organic products taste the best right after they’ve been ripped from the ground, according to the team. “At the same time, you’ll also shorten the food miles, which will also make it environmentally friendly,” Cheo explained.
Dictionary time: Food miles are the distance food is transported from the time it is manufactured until it reaches the consumer. Food miles are one of the factors used when testing the environmental impact of food, such as the carbon footprint of food.
Eager to bring this idea to life, the Kluang team connected with a partner in a start-up competition that was a BMS Organics who shared the same vision.
“Why don’t we just join in? [BMS Organics] in the Malaysian capital that has more resources to start a business than a small town? Cheo remembered him saying, “So we joined him in Puchong to work on this project.”
Together, the team found a small 2-acre farm hidden in the city, which reminded me of the zoo our team recently visited, Farm in the city. Bug’s Paradise shares several similarities with the zoo, as visitors not only come for leisure, but also to learn about animals and plants from all over the land.
“We don’t just grow vegetables for sale. We grow a wide variety of plants and bring more people closer to nature, with the hope that more people can join us as organic farmers, increasing the volume of organic vegetables in the market, ”shared an enthusiastic Cheo.
“We hope that one day most people will be able to consume more organic vegetables and live healthy, while at the same time being able to treat our land well.”
You start with a seed
Cheo explained that a 60-day seed is needed to ripen into a vegetable. Germination in the Bug’s Paradise nursery takes about 20 days before being transplanted to plant beds with healthy soil, enough sunlight and water. There, the plant will grow and be cared for by its small team of a full-time worker and Zhan Hui, who will harvest the vegetables in 40 days.
Some of the vegetables grown at Bug’s Paradise include leaf-like leaves siow pak choi, col, i choi sum, and some fruits like long beans, ladies fingers (okra) and honey. These, Cheo reported, are vegetables that grow well in lowland atmospheres.
“We plant them directly under the hot sun or heavy rain without protection against the greenhouse. It may be that the vegetables grow stronger and the taste is more complex because the vegetables must be able to compete with the wheat and still stay strong in a harsh environment, ”he explained.
To maintain a healthy and sustainable environment in the soil of your farm, different crops are planted at the same time and crop rotations are carried out.
Unlike a buffet line
Because customers are free to choose which vegetables they want to choose from the farm to enjoy later in the steam restaurant, this poses an inventory management problem. Bug’s Paradise is not like a regular steamboat restaurant where kitchen staff can only fill the buffet line. These vegetables need at least 60 days before being harvested for consumption.
I asked Cheo, “What if customers chose so much of a certain vegetable that it wouldn’t be enough for others? How do you manage the stocks?”
“Actually, we can’t really continue this vegetable collection program. Like your question, we’ve had some customers with this kind of behavior. And our team is really small, we still don’t have enough manpower to do it “, she replied defeated. “In the future, however, we will continue this program once we are ready.”
While this type of defeat is intended to have a customer-centered table-to-table experience, your team may be stricter about selection conditions in the future. For example, limit the volume of each type of vegetable a customer can choose. This could work as a short-term solution while calculating a more sustainable agreement.
Therefore, Bug’s Paradise Farm plans to work with more groups to build more organic farms in the next 3 years. In doing so, they also want to encourage more young people to join them in the organic farming industry.
“We believe that organic farming is the future of agriculture, as many climate change problems are happening and more people care about our living planet,” concluded Cheo, optimistic.
- You can find more information about Bug’s Paradise Farm here.
- You can read our other agritech pieces here.
Featured Image Credit: Jia Hui, CEO of Bug’s Paradise Farm