Thursday, October 20, 2016

Farm tour around Quan Fa Organic Farm (全发有机农场)

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"Organically grown, no pesticide, no chemical" - that is what Quan Fa Organic Farm, the first certified organic farm, has committed to produce fresh food crop that is nutritious and healthy. We are thankful and delighted for an opportunity to bring the children on a farm tour to see how local organic farming is done.

Located at the quaint part of Singapore, Kranji Countryside, we were welcomed by a strong scent of compost... not sure if the scent came from Chew's Agriculture from across the road or within the farm, the scent is definitely unique, yet familiar on farmland.

We met up with Fabian, who warmly greeted us and brought us around the farm. Young and cheery, Fabian has been helping out at the farm. Apart from sharing with us enthusiastically more about organic farming and the vegetation, he also discussed the hard work and challenges farmers faces.

Sprouts Section
Our first stop of the tour where we get to see the Sunflower sprouts and Wheat grass. Under the veil are trays of sprouts. Some are still budding but some are ready for harvest. I still recall our first experience tasting wasabi sprout and now we got to try Sunflower Sprouts which is equally refreshing and tasty. A good addition to salads. :)

Sunflower Sprouts - sample directly from the soil 

Open Area Section
Apart from the green vegetation, you might be wondering why there are yellow patches on the wood pillars or on wooden sticks around the farmland. These are actually very sticky tapes which are used to reduce the amount of pests that will eat the crops. Do not attempt to touch it as they have put very sticky glue on it. Yellow and blue colours are used to attract the pests.

As Quan Fa engages in organic farming, different types of crops are grown at different months. Crop rotation helps to exchange nutrients with the soil, hence a different type of vegetable will be planted after each harvest. Compost are also added to increase the nutrient benefit and ensure the vegetation grows healthily.

The plots are neat and tidy and Fabian shares that weed killer is strictly not allowed in organic farming. Hence, workers have been manually tidying up the weeds on rotation basis daily, which is very labour intensive. Fabian also admits that there are times where the weeds catches up and they were not able to clean up on time. This is truly the hard work of a farmer to ensure the healthy growth of the vegetation.

We also learnt from Fabian that white radish is grown for nutrient benefits and the demand for its leaves are very high! In fact, you can use the white radish, white radish leaves, burdock root, shittake mushroom and carrots, to make '5 elements' soup which is said to have natural healing for its anti-cancer properties. The soup is said to be beneficial for those who are detoxing, recovering from cancer and suffering from high blood pressure.

Compost Section
Not the most popular section for children due to the odd smell, but the compost section is crucial in organic farming as it replaces the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers to nurture the soil and stimulate plant growth. How are the compost 'made'? A mixture of coffee grounds, soil, beer malt and others which takes about 6 months to fully ferment.

Look at the piles of compost which are left to break down/decompose naturally and they are of different colours. Some greener, some browner and eventually darkens.

During fermentation, the temperature within is actually pretty high. Fabian dug some of the compost for us to have a feel of how warm it is within.

Green House Section
Green Houses help to protect plants from damages from insects, rodents and other animals. The netting covers the greenhouses and keep the birds away. Outside the shelter are trays of mint leaves which also helps to deter bugs.

Most of the vegetables are planted from nursery. 

Mint leaves

At the end of the tour, we had some refreshments! Clear vegetable soup and farm made organic refreshing drink!

I really enjoyed the organic drink infused with lemongrass, mint leaves and pandan leaves. It is fragrant, refreshing and mildly sweet. Boil the lemongrass and pandan leaves first and add some brown sugar. Leave it to cool before adding mint leaves. Leave it for a couple of hours before enjoying the drink! I would definitely love to try this at home!

Quan Fa Organic Farm organises farm tours and if you are interested to join in, check out the following link for more details. Alternatively, you can email them at

Organic crops which are harvested are nicely packed and sold at Sheng Siong Supermarkets, organic retailers and restaurants and cafes which uses organic vegetables.

There is also a mini-mart within Quan Fa selling their own products. We bought a packet of organic small tomatoes at S$2.50 and they are so sweet that even our kiddos who use to dislike eating them, finished them within minutes!

Apart from going to the local stores, you can also place your orders online! 

For our readers, simply enter the following code - QuanfaOrganicFarm to enjoy 10% off. *Not valid for promotional items and dried goods. One-time use per customer. 

Happy Shopping and Healthy Eating!

Check out the local farms before its gone!

Quan Fa Organic Farm will cease operations in 2019 as the government is claiming back the land for future developments

Upcoming event! 

Singapore Farm Festival will be held on 29th and 30th Oct. If you are keen, details can be found here:

Quan Fa Organic Farm (全发有机农场)
Address: 35 Murai Farmway, Singapore 709145

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Taman Impian Emas Night Market

During the September holidays, we ventured out again in search for more night markets in Johor Bahru. Considered any achievement unlocked as we conquered yet another pasar malam which opens every Thursday evening.

Stretching from Jalan Impian Emas 3 to Jalan Impian Emas 5, mobile vendor stalls start to set up from 5pm onwards. Even though the scale of the night market is not very big, it was a breeze to walk as the roads are wide.

The season of durian seems a little quieter this year. 

We had some quick bites to start our walk.

The children are always happy to spot their favourite hawkers. :) Uncle selling Muah Chee seems to be stationed at most night markets as we always see him! His Muah Chee is very yummy and popular among local and foreigners. The couple pair fries one of the best carrot cake we had in JB so far.

Before we even reach the end of the line, our tummies were almost full.

Have a craving for smelly toufu? You can try your luck if you can spot any stall selling at the end of the pasar malam. So far we only learnt of the night markets at Ksl and Impian Emas has mobile vendor smelly toufu.

Just as we thought we have finished our food hunt, this stall selling crabs caught our eyes. Its interesting to see how they cooked/bbq the crabs on the streets. I must admit just looking at it makes me drool.

We ordered and packet 4 crabs back to our hotel for late night snack. The crabs does not have lots of meat but it tasted okay.

Happy faces after a satisfying meal sampling various food at the night market.

Taman Impian Emas Night Market
Address: Jalan Impian Emas 4, Taman Impian Emas, 81300, Skudai, Johor
GPS: 1.542464, 103.682161
(Opens every Thursday, from 5pm)

Monday, October 3, 2016

Tribal Tempo @ Gardens by the Bay

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We have been Friends of the Gardens for almost 2 years and every visit to Gardens by the Bay has been refreshing and pleasant. There is always something new and we enjoyed visiting the cooling conservatories.

Being FOG, entitles you to unlimited admission to Flower Dome, Cloud Forest and OCBC Skyway, free parking for the first 2 hours, exclusive merchant discounts, and more! Check out more details on the following link -

Tribal Tempo - the latest display at the Flower Dome features colourful landscape of South Africa, showcasing its native flora, from vibrant Gazanias and Gerberas, to the unusual looking Proteas and Aloe Trees.

Last month, our family stepped into a safari tour to discover the striking blooms of African fynbos to the exquisite King Protea - the national flower of South Africa.

I was intrigued by the Aloe Trees (aloidendron dichotoma) which have smooth branches but sharp and rough edges on its bark. It is said that the branches of the trees are used by the natives to make quivers for their arrows.

Do not miss the King Protea which has the largest flower head in the Proteaceae family, measuring up to 30cm in diameter. Given its magnificent appearance, no wonder it is the national flower of South Africa. Each flower head actually contains a collection of smaller flowers in the centre, surrounded by large bracts in cream, powder-pink or crimson.

Serruria flourida x rosea 'Pretty N Pink' - another flowering plant in the Proteaceae family. Lovely dainty pink flowers with fine feathery foliage. One of my favourite among the collection.

Leucospermum is another genus from the family Proteaceae. Pincushion Protea is a rounded spreading shrub which has a single main stem and horizontally spreading stems, and one to three large inflorescence (clusters of many small flowers).

Colourful Gerbera Daisies blooming in the field.  Love the way the petals are layered.

hmmm.. this one has an odd shape :)

Zantedeschia aethiopica, also known as the Calla Lily or Arum Lily, stands out with its large, white flower that has only one 'petal'. Actually a modified leaf, it curls around a large yellow or pink floral spike containing the true little flowers to form a cone shape. I can imagine it to be part of a nice bouquet as a gift.

Awesome floral arrangement. Am sure it will brighten your day.

Step into South Africa's Widlife at the Flower Field! Known as the 'Big 5', the elephant, lion, rhino, leopard and Cape buffalo are referred to as such by big game hunters. Spot the various animal sculptures spreading across the field.

More than just deserts and savannahs, South Africa actually is home to a lush world of unique plant life.

What's more!? Shake it up this Children's Day! Children who drop by between 1 Oct and 9 Oct get a free maracas each*! Given out on first-come, first-served basis, while stocks last. :)

Tribal Tempo
Date: 9 September 2016 – 30 October 2016
Time: 9am – 9pm
Location: Flower Dome
*Admission charge to the conservatories applies