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Saturday, December 3, 2016

My OA Farm Tour 2: La Granja de Reyna Farm, the only certified organic farm in Leyte

After exploring the premises and talking  a bit more with the farmers at the Mike Pedroso Farms, we headed to our next destination—the La Granja de Reyna farm in Leyte. We left Calbayog City right after lunch and rode nearly 4 hours to reach Mrs Martina Reyna's farm.

We were scheduled to tour the farm that day but since it was raining quite a bit hard, Mrs. Martina suggested to postpone it just do it the next morning. So we were brought to their dormitory lodge where we had a chance to freshen up a bit, change our clothes and prepare for dinner.

We were met by Mrs Reyna for dinner time where she told us that Tacloban Mayor Cristina Gonzales Romualdez and some of the public officials will grace their program, the following morning in time for her birthday and Typhoon Yolanda anniversary.  She also said she’s try to arrange an interview for us with the Mayor.  We finished our dinner at around 8pm leaving plenty of time for a videoke session which was set up so we could have a bit of fun with the OMRO farmers. Unfortunately I was too exhausted from the long trip and decided to call it a night and went straight to our designated dormitory.

Engr. Martina Reyna

The next morning we were met by Mrs. Martina Reyna who shared their story. She is married to Atty. Antonio F. Reyna and they have three children, Peter Fermin, Jose Antonio, and Maria Teresa, all of whom are professionals so she alone runs and manages the operations of the entire farm.

Mrs. Reyna graduated with a degree in Agricultural Engineering from University of the Philippines, Los Banos in 1977 and her farm, La Granja,  is the only certified organic farm in Leyte and Samar. Most of the restaurants from Leyte outsourced their organic vegetables from La Granja.

La Granja encompasses  51 hectares of land and they grow organic vegetables, fruit trees, lettuce for salads and root crops. They also raise pigs and free range native chickens. The farm  supplies organic lettuce to Chowking restaurants in the city. She gets by within a week from paid trainings at her farm by ATI.  She told us that she needs to earn php5000 a week for her helper's salary and maintenance in the farm.

She then led us around the farm and showed us some of their crops. We stopped by the Cherry tomato tree, and picked some cute red cherry tomatoes and snacked on it along the way.  It was one of the the sweetest and crunchiest Cherry tomatoes I have tasted. I think I ate six, and wondered if I could grow those trees into our house.

After the farm tour, we were taken to the receiving hall while Mrs Martina prepared herself for the upcoming program. The program and recognition was for the ATI-RTC 8 and  (Organikong Magsasaka ng Rehiyon Otso) OMRO officers. The program was attended by some public officials from the Dept of Agriculture.

One of the highlights of the program was the launch of the “Value for Money: Investment for Health” campaign by the OMRO officers.  They bonded together to market their organic farm produce to possible consumers and investors.

We had a hearty lunch right after the program  which we later learned coincided with Mrs. Martina Reyna's birthday. Present during the whole program was her immediate family,  the public officials, farmers, restaurateurs, and some investors.

OMRO members then showed us their organic delicacies/pasalubong which they also sold to the public. There was a table set outside the hall.

I bought 2 small bottles of langka jam, luya tea, and honey as pasalubong.  I really wanted to buy the red and black rice for me and my partner to try out at home, unfortunately my bag was full and it would be hard to hand carry it home so I decided against it.

We left La Granja at 1230pm  and prepare our luggage for the last stop which is Canaan Hill Farms in Biliran City.

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