Farm-To-Table Vegetarian Hotpot In Puchong
Being able to visit a farm, pick their produce, and then consume it at their on-site restaurant tends to be a pretty rewarding experience. It just hits you with a sense of appreciation for the meal like no other.
Hidden inside Puchong’s Kampung Pulau Meranti is an organic plantation that offers you this farm-to-table experience. Known as Bug’s Paradise Farm, this is where you can plant, pick, and enjoy your veg at an herbal steamboat restaurant.
You eat what you choose
Most of us recognize organic vegetables by their labels, neatly stacked on shelves in a supermarket. From their packaging we know their names, but how often have you wondered how they were grown?
Thus, Bug’s Paradise opened its doors, allowing tourists and locals to step in and take a tour of its farm.
Throughout the guided tour, its General Manager, Zhan Hui, will discuss how vegetables are grown, as well as the experiences of the cultivation team. Visitors can also grow vegetables on the farm and return periodically to observe their germination.
“And the farm visit will end with a special lunch box (because our main cuisine is of plant, organic and original origin). We hope everyone can taste fresh vegetables because they are much more nutritious and taste better than others, ”sales and marketing manager Cheo Yee Jing told Vulcan Post.
After a month or two, visitors who have planted a seed can visit the farm to harvest their vegetables. They could also go to the farm’s steamboat restaurant to enjoy the fruits (or veg, in this case) from their work.
Partnership with a known player
The reason behind Bug’s Paradise’s concept is that organic produce tastes best right after it’s picked off the ground, according to the team. “At the same time, you will also reduce food miles, which will also make it environmentally friendly,” Cheo explained.
Dictionary time: Food miles are the distance that food travels from the time it is manufactured until it reaches the consumer. Food miles is a factor used to test the environmental impact of food, such as the carbon footprint of food.
Wanting to bring this idea to life, the Kluang team connected with a partner in a startup competition that was a higher level of BMS Organics that shared the same vision.
“Why not just join [BMS Organics] in Malaysia’s capital, who has more resources to start a business than a small town? Cheo reminded him, saying, “So we joined him in Puchong to develop this project.”
Together the team found a small 2 acre farm hidden in the city, reminding me of the petting zoo our team recently visited, Farm In The City. Bug’s Paradise actually shares several similarities with the zoo, as visitors don’t just come for recreation, but also to learn about the animals and plants across the land.
“We don’t just grow vegetables to sell them. We are growing a variety of plants and bringing more people closer to nature, hoping that more people can join us as an organic farmer, thus increasing the volume of organic vegetables in the market, ”said an enthusiastic Cheo .
“We hope that one day most people can eat more organic vegetables and live healthy lives, while treating our land well.”
You start with a seed
Cheo explained that it takes 60 days for a seed to become a vegetable. Germination in the Bug’s Paradise nursery takes around 20 days before being transplanted to flower beds with healthy soil, sufficient sunlight and water. There, the plant will grow up and be taken care of by its small team of one full-time and Zhan Hui, who will harvest the vegetable after 40 days.
Some of the vegetables grown at Bug’s Paradise include leafy vegetables like siow pak choi, Kangkung, and choi sum, and some fruity ones like long beans, ladies’ fingers (okra) and brinjal. These, Cheo informed, are vegetables that thrive in lowland atmospheres.
“We plant them directly under the scorching sun or in the pouring rain without any greenhouse protection. Vegetables can get stronger because of it, and the flavor is more complex because the vegetables have to be able to compete with wheat while remaining strong in a harsh environment, ”she explained.
To maintain a healthy and sustainable environment in their farm soil, different crops are planted at the same time and they rotate crops.
Unlike a buffet line
As customers can freely choose which vegetables they want to pick on the farm and then enjoy them in the steamboat restaurant, this poses a problem with inventory management. Bug’s Paradise is not like an ordinary steamboat restaurant where the kitchen staff can just fill the buffet line. These vegetables need at least 60 days before they are harvested for consumption.
I asked Cheo, “What if customers choose one vegetable so much that there won’t be enough for the others?” How do you manage the stock? “
“In fact, we can’t really continue this vegetable picking program. Just like your question, we have had clients with this type of behavior. And our team is really small, we still don’t have enough manpower to do that, ”she replied defeated. “In the future, however, we will continue this program once we are ready.”
While this sort of situation does not meet the goal of a customer-centric farm-to-table experience, perhaps his team could be more stringent on picking conditions in the future. For example, limiting the volume of each type of vegetable that a customer can choose. It could work as a short-term solution while they work out a more lasting arrangement.
Therefore, Bug’s Paradise Farm plans to work with more parties to build more organic farms over the next 3 years. In doing so, they also want to encourage more young people to join them in the organic farming sector.
“We believe that organic farming is the future of agriculture, as many issues related to climate change are going on and more and more people care about our living planet,” concluded optimist Cheo.
- You can read more about Bug’s Paradise Farm here.
- You can read our other agritech articles here.
Featured Image Credit: Jia Hui, General Manager of Bug’s Paradise Farm
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