Of Shrooms and Weeds…

me @Bangkong Kahoy Valley

I have been into a good number of agriculture and fisheries enterprises in the country and with every farm I visited is a new trade idea I wanted to venture in.  Be it vegetables or fruit production… poultry or livestock raising… even mariculture! I have taken all that into consideration.  And now, I’m all on organic farming (thanks to my exposure in various organic farms!).
 
Just recently, I was able to explore the Bangkong Kahoy Valley (BKV) Nature Retreat and Field Study Center because of the 4th Bloggers’ Event for Organic Agriculture we conducted there last March 1-2, 2014.  It is a community-based organic farming site in Barangay Kinabuhayan, Dolores, Quezon that yields quality products – organically grown – while conserving the richness of the soil and minimizing environmental degradation.  Hence, I consider BKV as a living testimony that you can still have a generous income in the countryside and without harming the environment.
 
Bangkong Kahoy Valley takes pride in its main products: oyster mushroom and Philippine wild raspberries locally known as “sapinit”. (just to emphasize a little bit more, these are all organically grown)
 
the Shrooms:
BKV produces oyster mushrooms and sells them fresh or dried (they also serve a LOT of it to their visitors, not that I’m complaining because their recipes are really good).  The mushroom industry at BKV just started a year ago and now, it is able to support 20 families in the area.
 
Bangkong Kahoy Valley manufactures their own substrates in the mushroom lab within the farm (some they even sell to interested buyers).  Then they carefully stack the bags inside the mushroom greenhouse to let them grow for about 7 to 10 days.  
 
Mushrooms are desired mostly by the health-conscious individuals (errr, like me maybe?) as they are an ideal alternative for meat and mushrooms are known to have loads of nutritional and medicinal benefits.  To name a few, they are rich in antioxidants, protein, vitamins and minerals.  It is also deemed helpful in treating heart ailments, viral infection, as well as cancer.
 
the Weeds:
Philippine wild raspberries a.k.a sapinit are considered as weeds by locals since it easily thrives with minimal cultivation.  Although seasonal, (grows between January to April) sapinit may be harvested twice a week.

BKV has an approximately 4-hectare wild raspberry plantation which yields as much as 4 tons per season.  Since sapinit has very short shelf-life (1 ½ days), BKV processes their harvest into wine, jam, jelly, and vinaigrette (some, they serve as shake to visitors which is a really refreshing treat).
 
Sapinit is known for its characteristic sweet-sour taste (not to mention, grainy) also for its antioxidant properties.
 
 

After all I’ve learned about these goods, it only ascertains to me that shrooms and weeds are not at all bad.  In fact, it is a promising enterprise to take on. (Hmmm) Another item to include in my business idea checklist!