Food for Sharing & Gifting

Closer to the Christmas time, we felt that we were so lucky to be running Blueboots Farm. One of the perks of running a farm is that we always have fresh food and produce to share to people. We make sure that our farmers have enough from a dedicated plot of land that we grow for them. Everyone who came to Blueboots Farm always bring a bunch of fresh produce for them to share with people in the city – we suppose that’s what every farmers do, we couldn’t have anyone leaving our farm empty handed! Even in our own home, we always had fresh produces surrounding us and intrigued us to create amazing dishes for the whole family. It was a pure joy for us to share and gift what we produced to all of you too through our Shop and we are looking forward to share more in the future.

Now counting down to Christmas.

From Yesterday

Yesterday, we woke up earlier than we usually do because we were having some guests at Blueboots Farm. It was a part of Farmseries01, where people gather to understand more about organic farming, its process, values and stories. We were honoured to have some of our closest friends to join us last Sunday at the farm. More stories to come, but here’s a shot of our daikon harvest by @rassinarika.

Harvesting … (Can You Guess?)

This week, we are lucky to be able to harvest some of our crops. Would you be able to guess what we are harvesting this week? Their beans are used for Asian dishes, both sweet and savoury. In Indonesia, the beans are used in ice drinks, porridge or as a filling for bakpia. Drum roll please… It’s the mung bean!

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A Day at Blueboots Farm

The day starts at 7am where the farmers start gathering at the farm house bringing along their favourite farm tools. They come together and discuss what needs to be done for the day.

7.30am
Watering & caring for the baby plants at nursery.

8.30 to 10.30am
Good time to spray natural pesticide on plants as this is the time where the pests if most plants are active.

10.30am to 12pm
Going through existing plants on the field to survey their growth. Also weeding, pruning, making bamboo supports for plants who needs it.

12pm to 2pm
The farmers rest to avoid the hottest time of the day. Lunch, sleep, coffee time.

2pm to 3pm
Continue with work.

3pm to 4pm
Usually it will rain in Bogor and we do not need to water the plants. However, if it doesn’t rain we will water the plants. We also fertilize during this time.

4pm to 5pm
Clean and keep tools. Sit around and enjoy coffee, kretek and snacks made from home.

That is pretty much how a day at Blueboots Farm is like. Our schedule varies slightly every day, mostly depending on the issue that needs to be handled and the weather.

Handy Tools for Your Garden

Happy Monday everyone! Today we would love to share with you some basic gardening tools that was inspired by our tools at the farm. These tools are the basic tools that you can get from general shops and they cover the basic needs for domestic gardening.

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1. Trowel
A trowel is basic tool used for digging small holes, breaking up earth, smoothing or moving small amount of material. It has a scoop shape and usually is made from metal.

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2. Gloves
Wearing gloves while gardening is rather important because the soil can contain some materials that you don’t want to stay in your hand. And anyway, it is easier to wash off dirt from gloves rather than from your hand and it keeps your hand protected from scratches or cuts.

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3. Rake
Rake is basically a broom that is used for outdoor. It is used to collect leaves or grass, to loosen soil, weeding and leveling. A rake is especially useful if you have medium-sized land that you need to work on.

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4. Boots
A pair of good quality gardening boots is one of our best investments. We always change our shoes into boots when we are at the farm. They protect our legs from scratches and make us walk easier especially on wet soil. When looking for a gardening boots, look for the one that is lightweight, waterproof and durable.

Growing Herbs in Your Kitchen

For some of us, we might not have plenty of space to grow anything in our own home. We might live in apartment or tiny houses with no garden or backyard and sometimes not even a space for massive plant pots.

If you have a free corner in your kitchen, chances are you will be able to grow some herbs there since herbs don’t need much space. And most importantly, you don’t really need green fingers to grow herbs at home!

There are some herbs that we recommend you to grow in the kitchen. You can use these herbs for your cooking, as a garnish or to bring great scent to your space. Let’s have a look at the herbs that you can grow in your kitchen.

1. Basil
Basil is one of those versatile herbs you can incorporate into many dishes in cooking. Especially favoured in Italian cooking, the fresh anise-like flavor and intense clove-like aroma is suited for those meaty pizzas or tomato based pasta. On top of that, basil contains great vitamins from A, K and C as well as magnesium, iron, potassium and calcium.

2. Rosemary
Rosemary is another favourite of ours for its pungent aroma. Insects and mosquitos hate it, thus it is very useful as a natural repellant! We grow some in our kitchen and put a row of rosemary plant in front of our front door just to keep those insects and mosquitos away. Apart from its benefit as a natural repellant, rosemary is also believed to relieve indigestion, neutralizing bad breath and relieving pain. When used as aromatherapy, it can help to clear the mind, reduce anxiety and relieve stress from the traffic jam!

3. Coriander
This next herb has a distinct aroma that some people love, yet some totally hate. Which one are you? If you ask us, we are definitely the lover. Everything from its seeds to its leaves can be used for cooking and it does bring a memorable flavour when eaten. Coriander is especially high in antioxidant and vitamin C as well as other vitamins. Most of the time we love to put it in our cooking to freshen up dishes like tacos and salsas. Yum!

Creative Ways of Using Blueboots Farm Harvest: Plant Stamp

If you are the creative kind, then this little project might be your cup of tea to utilise farm’s produce. From simple things like sweet potato, corn or celery, you can create fun stamps, which can be turned into patterns for artwork, cards and other things beyond your imagination. It is a great project that you can do yourself and it would be especially fun to do with the little one at home.

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You will only need these few basic things:
A sweet potato (or potato)
Acrylic paint
Roller
Paper

Method
Cut the sweet potato into your desired shape. We are cutting ours in half to get the organic half circle shape.

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Dilute the acrylic paint with some water.

If you have a roller, roll it into the paint then onto your sweet potato stamp. Otherwise, just dip your sweet potato into the paint, wipe the excess off.

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Do a test print on another paper before creating your artwork.

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Do any patterns that you like on your piece of paper. You can combine any colors and turn the sweet potato into any shape that you desire. The creativity is yours!

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Potential of Pandan Powder

Pandan is an aromatic plant that we, Southeast Asian people love to use in all many of our dishes. You can easily find the taste of Pandan in Indonesian, Indian, Singaporean, Malaysian, Thailand savoury and sweet dishes. The aroma from pandan adds depth that opens up the appetite for those who smell it. Pandan leaves are often times crushed lightly and added to cook together with other ingredients. Drawing the aroma of Pandan as the dish cooks and removing the leaves after that.

Many times, the color and flavor of Pandan leaves are also extracted by industries to give cheaper alternative to people to add Pandan color and flavor to cakes. However, no matter how much the synthetic pandan extract imitates the original color and smell of Pandan, it is still not comparable and more enjoyable to extract the Pandan smell and color from the plant itself!

At Blueboots Farm, we harvest fresh Pandan leaves to order and dry it at low temperatures so as to retain the fresh green color and aroma. We then milled it into powder and packaged it in air-tight bags for safe storage. Pandan powder is slowly gaining its popularity in the baking sector. It adds natural green coloring and unique fresh pandan aroma, which sometimes is compared to vanilla, that cannot compare to industry pandan extract.

Pandan powder can be used numerously in baking muffins, chiffon cakes, cookies, bread, pancakes, macarons and many other recipe to your heart’s desire. It also has a long shelf-life due to the very low moisture content safe for storage. Another Blueboots favourite thing to do with the Pandan Powder is to steep the powder in hot water to make Pandan Tea. It never fails to sooth and calm our tired body from a long day at the farm. You can also add ice to make your very own Pandan Ice Tea!

Many ideas and creativity are still to be explored for Pandan Powder. We will share one recipe soon and feel free to share yours too!

The Truth About Organic Farm

Ideally, planting food organically is strongly believed and recommended for safe and nutritious food. However, in this age and time, idealism in farming becomes further away and getting harder to reach. In this post, I will share why is it so hard to plant organically or sustainably in Indonesia? Why is the young generation leaving the agriculture sector?

1.  Indonesia’s lack of technology options and skilled farmers
Organic farming requires more attention and details to each plant, as we do not use pesticides and depend on the synergy of every living creatures in nature. Therefore, farmers need vast experience and passion to tend to the plants. However, you can count with your 2 hands the number of farmers that have experiences and passion for plants in this time.

Also, ideally we need to integrate the use of machines and technology to farming so as to eliminate labor intensity and help us save time. Something that is not too easy to do in Indonesia especially when everything needs to be imported and custom-made, which demands a large amount of capital and time.

2. There is a 35 – 50% rate of failure of harvest
When planting in an open-field, pests are often we, farmers are most concerned about. At Blueboots Farm, we make natural pesticide from smelly plants that help us deter unwanted insects that eat and destroy our plants. However, natural pesticide has to be applied to the plants 3 times more that conventional pesticide as it is easily wear off by rain. Therefore, this increases labor cost. And seeing by experience, the pests are getting stronger and more immune to natural pesticide and continue destroying a substantial amount of the crops. Therefore, the harvest they get is much lesser than the effort, energy, money and time to the field. 

3. Under valuing of honest food ingredients
Food ingredients in traditional market and supermarket mainly come from big scale and conventional farming. For example, planting 100 Ha of one kind of crop such as pineapple with the use of ready-made fertilizers and pesticide that is easy to apply and gives effective results. This let conventional farmer grow big and sweet pineapple but with much lesser nutrition value. This gives them a massive amount of pineapple that can be sold for a cheaper price due to big quantity.

However, people buy pineapple for the freshness and sweetness in their tongue rather than eating for sufficient daily nutrient intake. Satisfying the tongue rather than our body.

Organic food can costs up to 10 times more the price of conventional food due to the above reasons. Therefore, if not well informed it make sense to buy the cheaper price pineapple. This often times lead to organic farmers selling their produce way cheaper than they should to be competitive and in the end not getting any profit in return.

All in all, this is why I understand when organic farmers do not let their children follow their footsteps and this is why I also understand organic produces are for the people who can afford. However, these obstacles Blueboots faces do not extinguish our passion and vision to break the system and find an effective solution that can help elevate Indonesia’s agriculture. Continue supporting local and organic farmers!

Welcoming Butternut Pumpkin

Butternut pumpkin, which is known in some places as butternut squash, can be utilized in so many ways from roasting to incorporating it into sweet dishes like muffins. Technically, it is a fruit, but because of its versatility and wide range of usage, butternut pumpkin is very popular as an ingredient for cooking.

On top of that, this type of pumpkin is not a very fussy plant to grow either. They like to have their soil kept damp, which is not much of a problem during the rainy season, but definitely we need to keep an eye on them when we are growing them in summer time. At the farm, we built a strong trellis for the vine to grow over. This way, we save space and it’s easier for us to keep track of their growth because sometimes it can be tricky to see what’s underneath those massive leaves!

Butternut pumpkin is a great source of fiber and complex carbohydrates and also high in potassium, niacin, beta carotene and iron. They will fully grow in 110-120 days until they are ready to be harvested. In the meantime, we are watching them closely to make sure that the pollination process between the male and female flowers are happening naturally. Otherwise, we might have to do manual pollination, which should have been the task of those bees at the farm.
Stay tune for more updates about Blueboots Farm’s butternut pumpkin and hopefully we will be producing some fat and healthy pumpkin!