Organic Agriculture Farm Tour: Costales Nature Farms

To wrap up my “Exploring Organic Agriculture Practices in Southern Tagalog” series, I’m letting you in on a virtual tour of Costales Nature Farms.

While my quest towards going green goes back to 2004, I never thought I would be this exhilarated by farm hopping. Our family may have staycationed in various accommodations, including 5-star ones, but there is nothing that compares to being surrounded with everything organically green. For those of us who live in the metro, how often do we get a whiff of clean, fresh air? Not as much as we need to. We are, in fact, deprived of fresh air, with all the free radicals and pollutants we  breathe in every day.

We arrived early in the evening at the Costales Nature Farms and this is what we were welcomed with as we came in the humble kubo accommodation – a sweet room with two single canopied beds. A mini version of our San Benito Farm accommodation on our 11th anniversary in 2012. After a long day of farm hopping, amidst the choir of serenading toads, we dozed right off to slumberland.

It was only in the morning did I actually get to see that I slept right smack in the middle of a farm and I loved it!

Costales Nature Farms Beginnings

Costales Nature Farms started out in 2005 with a 1,000 sqm land, which the owner, Ms. Josie fondly recalls as their “practice” area, their leisure farm. The farm started off with the vegetables in pinakbet, which the Costales family loves. It was out of their sheer love for eating that the Costales Nature Farms came about – sustainable living dream come true.

But because the Costales Nature Farms thrived so well, it was inevitable for them to go commercial in 2009, where they initially supplied Italianni’s chain of restaurants. It has since grown into a 6-hectare, sustainable, integrated organic farm. To date, aside from Italianni’s, the Costales also supplies Healthy Options, Shopwise, Rustan’s, Cibo, et.al.

Oh my heart! My dream of sustainable living was once again piqued. Given the chance that we get to work on my father-in-law’s farm in Davao, that will be the day! We hope to be able to get that done someday.

The Costales Nature Farms is a certified organic farm, with a certificate from  Negros Island Organic Certification Services (NICERT). They also make use of the following efficient farm practices:

  • Automatic water sprinkler system
  • Mist-type irrigation (for nursery)
  • Vermisery: vermiculture and seedling nursery-in-one (saves labor, time and resources)
  • Greenhouse Production: controlled environment
  • Zero-waste farming
  • Holistic approach: Multi-cropping, crop rotation, companion cropping, net bagging, beneficial insects, flowers and herbs, botanical spray (EM-5)

costales-zero-waste-farming

The farm is the largest single producer of organic vegetable in the country today, producing 20 tons of high value organic vegetables and herbs every month.

We walked through the different areas within Costales Nature Farms. It was interesting to see how the farm has devised such an effective system. From germinating seeds, to growing them in greenhouses and the different disciplines they have incorporated in their farming routine. No wonder their produce has grown exponentially since they started.

Yep, I got my hands organically dirty in Costales Nature Farms and I loved it! 🙂

Poultry

Organic Pigs

Pigs within the Costales Nature farms are organic: they aren’t fed with antibiotics, no growth hormones, no commercial feeds. They are lovingly fed with in-house formulation of fermented organic feeds and are given probiotic drinking water. I was impressed that despite the number of pigs in the pen, there was no foul odor that pig farms are otherwise known for.

costales nature farm -water-source

Now, it can’t get any better than this – the farm sources its water straight from Mt. Banahaw, spring water at that, through an installed 4km pipe that flows continuously from the mountain. I can only say that this farm is truly blessed. They’ve been good stewards of their resources, devised the most efficient of farming systems and they are reaping the benefits of high-yielding harvest.

Joint Venture with OFWs

Costales Nature Farms has also incorporated the join venture concept with OFWs where the farm partners with OFW investors. This gives OFWs the option to invest in the booming industry of organic farming without having to purchase a land of their own.

Farm Tourism Site

Costales is the first farm accredited by the Tourism Department. With a volume of approximately 4,000 visitors in a month and conducts seminars on organic farming for the public. Costales encourages other farmers to study their farm and even learn from them. They believe that every farmer deserves their own breakthrough in financial freedom.

Costales Nature Farms have gone a long way since it first came to life in 2005. They are now thriving and making a difference by passing on their knowledge in organic farming through the seminars they conduct: 2-Day Organic Hog Production Seminar, Integrated Natural Farming and EM Technology, et. al.

Thank you to the beautiful people of the Department of Agriculture’s ATI. This trip was beyond what I expected it to be. I’ve had a deeper appreciation of what the government is doing as they assist farmers towards the better choice in farming – organic and multi-crop.

Above is my uploaded photos on Facebook on our Costales Nature Farms tour.

My sincerest thanks to the Agricultural Training Institute of the Department of Agriculture for pressing on towards furthering the knowledge reach of organic farming. For more information, check out the ATI website and e-Extension.

Organic Agriculture Farm Tour: Costales Nature Farms

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