It may not be as (i) same calibre as produce market that SOTG used to stroll by every third Saturday of every month when living in North Sydney many years ago; nor (ii) as exotic as the increasingly popular RIPE Market in Dubai during cooler months – though rarely pay visit thanks to the busy morning running schedule except for casual drop by to get some kale and to stock up organic skincare from Shirley Conlon (it’s so good for instant chafing relief tell ya!).
However, all in all a big applaud to Open Farm Community (OFC) here in Singapore as it gives a good platform and bring together some of the best local produce and homegrown initiatives on the island.
Located on the Open Farm Community restaurant’s premise 130E Minden Road, next to the the open garden and green lawn bowl. Enjoyed wondering around the garden analysing various plants and noted several types which reminisced childhood memories. Atmosphere was certainly buzzing as the farmers, foodmakers and vendors gather to showcase their produce.
There were good selection of stalls that kept SOTG busy testing, sampling and chatting, including several juice stalls – some are creative, fresh and healthy (Juice Junkie‘s chia charcoal and Flash Juice‘s signature light bulb); others just simply diluted in water, high sugar content and lacking the goodness from real ingredients.
Listed below stalls and vendors that should be on top of anyone visit:
Anaya Trigona Honey – Trigona bee is a stingless bee. According to the stall brochure, a 2001 research by Japanese scientist lead by Kanazawa University Graduate School of Med Science found that the antibacterial activity Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) of stingless honey bees is powerful even when compared to manuka honey. Many amazing benefits such as boost immune system, boost metabolism, helps inflammations, fight free radical and reduce sign of ageing. “It tasted sweet and sour like tamarind”, I said. The friendly gentlemen confirmed tamarind plant were among of plant in the bushes where the tiny stingless bees roam around freely on the Philippine island where honey produced. Because of limited production, purchased of one of this active UMF 25+ precious anti-microbial which to be consumed a teaspoon every alternate day. Shall share with you the effectiveness of this product.
Pili Nuts by Pili Pushers – Never heard about this nut before, so about to get acquainted with this amazing superfood from Bicol region of the Philippines. Wild grown in forest at low and medium altitude on volcanic soil – free of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Rich with manganese and highest magnesium of any nuts on the market. Tasted like Brazil nut and also macadamia nut – crunchy and creamy. Texture reminded me of candlenut (one use in cooking coconut broth laksa, lodeh or rendang). The luxurious nuts are sourced from individual farms (means low environmental impact) following the process mentioned here: fruit harvested by hand, soaked in warm water to remove skin and pulp, kernels are removed to extract the raw pili nut, nut pre-sprouted in water to activate living enzymes and to remove the skin, finally pre-sprouted nut dehydrated at low temperatures till right crispiness. Come with 3 tasty flavours; unsalted (most favourite), cinnamon with raw honey, and ginger with tumeric.
Oyster from Ubin Island by Sea Farmers – Possibly the freshest in town as available direct from farm to table on the same day. Though baby oysters being imported from Australia, they being cultivated in local water until mature. $6 a kilogram at 2 sizes: standard (70 – 85mm), large (85 -100mm) and jumbo (100 – 120mm). SOTG simply enjoyed the chatty lady at the stall explaining about the Pacific oysters while shucking one by one.
Wild Ocean Farm Barramundi by Kühlbarra – “You’ve got to try this” my other half shouted in excitement. He’s munching flesh of grilled barramundi fresh from barbie. So, I tried the remaining bit and agreed on the prime freshness, dense flakiness and great flavour of the barramundi, or so called Asian seabass. Adored the harvested-to-order concept and securely delivered on ice to comfort of home. It’s also come with “sniff test” policy – if does not pass this test, order can be returned to delivery men and get refunded. The friendly gentleman at the stall mentioned since the fish is vacuum packed, it is safe to keep in fridge and consume within 5 days. Unfortunately, we rode our bike to this charming garden and not sure how to carry box filled with fish, so next time for sure. Asked why it is sustainable fish? He said there are due to the fish species from Australia that require less resources to grow, being farmed in the Straits of Singapore (off the southern coast) not in man-made tank and the catch method is all about respecting the life of fish. Boost high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid for a white fish that can rival the incredible benefits of tuna. No surprise that the barramundi from Kühlbarra is chef choice in well-known restaurants such as at Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen.
Papa’s Grove – “We early harvest our olive oil from my father’s grove”. I asked what season and he replied “2nd week October to mid November, mid Autumn”. This is the primary distinguished factor among other olive oil because this liquid gold or green blood of Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) claimed highest in antioxidants, rich in polyphenols and very low in acidity of only 0.21% from pressing mostly unripe green olives. The taste is bitter and less fruity compared to usual olive oil – something SOTG need to get used to. Available in can of 5 litres for you to stock in abundant, it also features in a sleek white bottle designed specifically to protect the oil from direct light exposure. In my pantry, I still have plenty of Terra Creta’s EVOO from previous Greek trip, though having another one (really good one like Papa’s Grove) won’t do any harm. Beside, it’s just being produced in last November guaranteed of new production.
Organic Honey from Nutrinest – What SOTG love is the organic honey product derived from environmental effort to save bees from deforestation in Malaysia and Indonesia. Attended the informative talk by Xavier Tan, which explained why and how he started this amazing initiative. He explained passionately on how to create a beehive frame from set of wood planks (yes did tempt to have one at home), type of bees and size of hives, as well as how honey being produced. Honey comes from the bees that collect nectar from variety of flowers. Proud owner of a Wild Bitter Gourd raw honey that tasted faboulous which claimed to help in detoxification and best for people with exposure to hot sun – this should benefits for an ultra runner like yours truly. Other honey flavours and products are Tree Tree Wild Honey (surprisingly very close taste to manuka honey from New Zealand), Wild Cinnamon, Wild Rainforest, Trigona Gold Honey, and Api Cerana Honey Comb.
Other worth visiting stalls and vendors below. Click on pictorial guide for more details.
Selva Foods – Very impressed with the freshness of Amazon’s acai berry. Had a refreshing yogurt acai berry topped with tropical fruits, chia seeds and toasted granolas. Watch this space – the lovely Japanese Brazilian owner is planning to bring more superfood from the Amazon.
Matchaya – So I know where to stock my match powder (sourced from Kyoto) whenever my current one bought from Isetan run out. The Sencha tea cold drink was not bad – just a bit sweet to liking (was told that’s how the market prefers).
EAT Singapore 2016 Book – Buy one main meal and get one free plus a signature from kitchen chef. This 12 Complimentary Dinners in 1 Book where you and a company can indulge are compiled based on exceptional restaurants handpicked by expats based on tried and tested dining experiences. A print-run of the book concept that has been around in Sweden for some time.
GSH Conserves – If you fancy homemade tropical fruit jams (yes, ditch the good old kaya spread) that capitalised on fruits from neighbourhood countries as well as local produces, look no further. Amazing variety of jams: Passionfruit, Mango and Lime, Dragonfruit and Lychee, Pineappe and Vanilla, Banana Cocoa Sea Salt. Some of these reminded of SOTG’s trip to Seychelles. Not only you get the best out of jam using fresher and regional ingredients, but get to support environment by reducing carbon foot-print.
Amazin’ Graze – probably the best granola tasted on the day. The banana granola simply awesome without added sugar.
The Fish Shnack – Love the crispy fish skin snack (currently dory fish is used) that can serve as crackers while watching television. To be enjoyed with homemade dips. When asked about the oil used, olive oil was mentioned but their website said vegetable oil – which often not olive oil. Also, not sure what is the ‘unique way of frying’ as the website claimed – suspect could be air fried. Adored the creamy salted egg butter dip, genius creation of East mix West.The chilli crab dip is is not really taste highly up there as expected to be – not bad though.
Haloumi – No Farmers Market is complete without cheese tasting. SOTG glad to have found this amazing haloumi made using milk from Australia and rennet that is suitable for vegetarian – as the lady mentioned.
Didn’t manage to check out the greens and plants stall, promise will do in next visit.
And, why not end your day with a bouquet of fresh flowers? SOTG love dearly collection of David Austin from Cotton and Sage.
Support this Open Farm Community Social Market as it needs you in order to thrive forward. Be social and get to know your local farmers and food-makers. And yes, this is where you will find me first weekend of the month after my long run or cycling.
More on the OFC’s Market click here.
Have you been? Any stall that is your favourite? Any other Farmers Market on the island worth going?
Live to thrive.