While spending most of my week at Nurture Wellness Village in Tagaytay, I took a peek at their in-house farm called The Farmacy located on a few acres of land a short walk form the village. Kuya Elmer, one of the farmers and farm resident, came by for Jericho and I after breakfast and we took a 15-minute walk down from the gate of Nurture Wellness Village to that of The Farmacy. I was all giddy like a school girl holding hands with her crush.
Now, let me explain. Growing up, my dad turned a better portion of our garden into his personal farmland. He loved tilling the soil, taking care of the seedlings in the nursery, and watching his pechay, tomatoes, and eggplants grow under his green thumb. We had rows and rows of vegetables, and come harvest time, we’d end up giving away almost all of the fresh produce to friends and family, and he’d start again in the nursery with new seeds from the last harvest. I love the smell of green leafies, vegetables on the vine, and herbs, and with my dream of retiring on a farm myself, I think it would be prudent of me to learn the ropes or at the very least, figure out what kind of farm I’d like to have, as soon as possible.
Here are 10 fun facts about The Farmacy:
1. Don’t panic, it’s organic!
The Farmacy prides itself on being an organic farm, and everything found here is served at Nurture Wellness. You will not find a stitch of chemical fertilizers here, and all their pesticides, fertilizers, and even vermicast and made at the farm.
We were welcomed with cups of lemongrass tea and given straw hats to shield our eyes from the sun. It didn’t make a lot of difference though as it was so windy that day, poor Elmer spend a good deal of our tour helping us chase after our runaway hats!
2. Kale is Queen
The Farmacy’s pride and joy is probably their kale beds, which thrive in the cool Tagaytay weather. The cruciferous vegetable is a big part of Gabriela‘s menu, used in their shakes, cocktails, shots, and salads. Kale usually has that slightly bitter aftertaste, but the ones grown here are sweet. It maybe the organic fertilizer, but I made sure to take home a good bunch of this sweet kale for myself before heading back to Metro Manila.
3. “Wow, that’s big.” – She
I was surprised at just how big the vegetables were. I didn’t think it would be as big given that the soil wasn’t pumped full of fertilizer. Elmer did mention that it still depended on the season, but that they had been having a particularly good one when we visited.
4. Unique farm set-up
The way the farm is arranged may seem odd, but it works for how it ties in with the wellness village. The trees, herbs, and vegetables are arranged according to the needs of each major organ in our body, and this unique design allows farmers, holistic medical practitioners, and visitors to easily understand what they need to zero in and heal a specific organ in the body.
Take the Kidney Care plot, for example. One can pick-and-pay herbs like peppermint, parsely, basil, and yerba buena for a potent drink or toss pansit-pansitan with other fresh leafies and vegetables for a salad with calamansi dressing.
5. This Pharmacy Be OG (Original Grandma)
One of the more interesting parts of The Farmacy is ‘Botika ni Lola’ or Grandma’s Pharmacy which have rows of different herbs that one would use to cure different ailments back in the day when hospitals were few and far between.
Sort out that cold or lower blood sugar with Serepentina or make Lagundi tonic to quell stomachaches. Using pandan leaves to make herbal tea is still quite popular in some provinces, and helps reduce fevers and chest pains.
6. Bahay Kubo, Kahit Munti…
… ang halaman doon ay sari-sari.
Still in the works is their Bahay Kubo with all the vegetables in the children’s song growing around the little bamboo house. This would be a great way to teach children about the local vegetables and what they look like – I was 30 when I found out what sigarilyas was and have yet to see bataw IRL. Even more embarrassing was me mistaking linga (sesame seeds) for tinga (stuff between your teeth) in the song, asking a friend, “Why in the world is there tinga around the bahay kubo? Is that like, fertilizer?”
7. Chicken Little
The Farmacy is concentrated on growing fresh fruit, vegetables, and herbs, but they also have a good supply of organic chickens on the farm. Most of what I saw running about were roosters, and they all look a bit skinny to be used for their meat, so I’m assuming they help with the egg-laying hens as well as…
Them chickens sure have their work cut out for them – they have a pretty big farm to keep healthy with their scratching and pooping! There is a big compost shed next to the chicken coop where organic material like vegetable peelings, old vegetables, egg shells, and the like are left to turn to healthy soil, with the help of earth’s angels – earthworms!
9. The Mushroom House
Another long-time fascination of mine has always been mushrooms. My dad had mentioned how he wanted to grow mushrooms himself when he retired, but sadly, he passed away 7 years ago and his shroom empire never came to fruition (see what I did there?). It’s pretty cool to see how The Farmacy sets up their mushroom house of sorts, left as dark and dank as possible, with fruiting bags full of spores to help the fungus develop.
10. Future Glamping Site
Nurture Wellness Village seems to be getting a little crowded, so they’re moving their glamping site to The Farmacy instead! Equipped with a pool and a playground for kids or team building activities, this space offers a lot more room to run and have fun, while being close enough to Nurture Wellness to for a bit of pampering after a hot day in the sun.
Nurture Wellness Village’s The Farmacy is located at Pulong Sagingan, Barangay Maitim II West Cavite, Tagaytay. For inquiries or to book your stay, please call +63 918 888 8772 or +63 2 710 9786. For packages, rates, and other promos, please check their official website.
Nurture Wellness Village is owned jointly by Dr. Mike Turvill, a British national and his Fllipina wife Cathy Brilliantes-Turvill. Mike is a Doctor in Organic Chemistry from the University of Nottingham, UK while Cathy is an internationally licensed therapist (CIBTAC, UK) and Certified Wellness Specialist from the USA. They own two spa-related companies: Hotel and Spa Essentials, a supplier of spa and hotel products to five star spas and resorts and Spa and Wellness Professionals which offers spa training and consultancy services. Cathy was the Founding President of the Spa Association of the Philippines and is a Board member of the Asia Pacific Spa and Wellness Coalition and TIEZA (Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority). Mike is the immediate Past President of the Cosmetics Chamber of the Philippines.