I think I was more excited than three-year old B about her school excursion to a farm.
The “farm” in question was Kin Yan Agrotech, which I have not heard of, but which turned out to offer a very enjoyable morning! I half-wished it was Oh’s Farm that we were visiting, since I wouldn’t mind reprising the butterfly fun we had, but oh well. (Heh heh).
|Edible cacti, and a dragonfruit cactus plant.|
Right off the block, we learnt about their succulents. They farm edible cacti, and Sam who brought us around, was extremely knowledgeable and friendly. He explained that only very specific cacti is edible, and those shown here can be cooked in soups to boost health too.
I saw my first ever “attached to source” dragonfruit! Suaku I know… or in this case, city-ku. Purple-fleshed and white-fleshed dragonfruit grow from different variants of the same species of cacti. Cool huh. I always thought they grew on trees of something (*doh*).
|More than 20 large pots in a row.|
They also farm a US breed of aloe vera that is huge and high quality. Even then, one large blade retails for about S$1.70, which I felt was very reasonable.
Aloe vera helps to soothe inflamed tissues, which is why people rub it on sun-burns and cuts. It apparently contains 20 minerals and 22 amino acids and vitamins which are essential for good health too.
We learnt that all products sold at their on-location retail outlet are cheaper than what we’d get at NTUC! Haha, good selling point to make sure that all the mums present made some purchases since we had travelled all the way here.
|Lifecycle – clockwise from top left. Gorgeous dew on fully grown blades.|
They are Singapore’s largest suppliers of fresh wheatgrass to supermarkets in Singapore. We walked through the ‘exhibition hut’ of wheatgrass and dou miao plants, which was pretty spacious, and sat down for a talk on the amazing benefits of wheatgrass. It improves digestion, strengthens the immune system and stablises blood pressure. Cool.
I must say I always had a vague inkling that wheatgrass was very healthy, but after the talk I really felt like having my own wheatgrass
Which was why I was thrilled when I learnt that the kids would have their own little wheatgrass kits to prep for home-growing! Yay, my chance to personally harvest 100% fresh organic wheatgrass!
|Bananas, soursop, and raw dou miao that I ate cos B wouldn’t hear of it!|
We walked around the little farm, and stopped at banana trees (abundant fruit!) and a soursop tree! Again, I have never seen a soursop flower (top right in yellow), thus turning into fruit. So very beautiful.
|(From top left, anti-clockwise) Getting to know how mushrooms are grown, ‘watering’ the wheatgrass kit, then spreading little wheatgrass grains on top!|
Kin Yan Agrotech also farms mushrooms – at least three varieties. The children were invited to hold the mushroom growing packs, so it was all very child-friendly and hands-on! When the large oyster mushroom that B held (bottom right corner of top left pix) fell off *ooops!!*, Sam was super nice about it and said to all, “Don’t worry if your mushrooms fall off, this section is for display, our real mushroom farm is in a separate large dark shed.” *Phew*
The kids then went to picnic tables and chairs outside their little retail outlet, and started preparing their little wheatgrass kits to bring home. We were treated to some fresh raw cactus slices, freshly slow-juiced wheatgrass (normal blenders deactivate the enzymes) which had a very interesting sweet aftertaste, and fried mushrooms!
I bought some jelly, mushrooms and dou miao to bring home. When we cooked it for dinner, I felt that the dou miao was the freshest I had in years! Nothing like stuff fresh off the harvest, without a night of sitting in storage.
How did our garden grow?
B was enthusiastic about watering her little wheatgrass plot for all of a day, and then my helper and I took over its maintenance. Was gratified that little shoots started appearing around day 3.
I think it didn’t quite grow the way it was supposed to – when I compared it to my photos of those in the farm, it seemed a lot less 茂盛 because not all the grains germinated. Ah well, we try our best. I harvested the lot once it grew to more than 7 inches (leaving 1.5 inches uncut from the base), and ground it with my improvised mortar and pestle, since I have no slow juicer. Only a tiny bit of juice could be extracted but it tasted good. 😛
I learnt quite a lot from this little trip, and the kids definitely had a fun time. It was a fantastic opportunity for me to chat with the other mums, and to get to know her ‘best friends’. The kids had very definite views of who they wanted to hold hands with (and who they did not O.o)!
No harm dropping by if you’re looking for a couple of farms to visit during the school holidays! I didn’t know that there were quite so many farms in the Kranji reservoir area, that it makes me very keen (not sure about the hubby and kids) to stay in the D’Kranji resort for a few days so I can soak in everything in the vicinity, including Sungei Buloh – it’s been simply too long since I last went.
We live in such an urban environment that it’s so refreshing just to be out in the ‘countryside’, even if it’s at a tiny little agrotech farm.
Kin Yan Agrotech
220 Neo Tiew Crescent,
Tel: (65) 67948368