Introducing Pak Yayan

Pak Yayan is born and raised in this very area where Blueboots Farm is located. He has spent most of his life shifting from plot to plot working on people’s plot of land to grow rice paddies, taro, cassava, sweet potatoes and many more. We are so blessed to have Pak Yayan on our team as he has the experience and local wisdom knowledge we needed to support the farm’s activities. He has a special love towards local varieties of bananas which he planted all at the edges of the farm as a personal collection.

We spent some time this morning with Pak Yayan to know him a little bit more and to find the motivation behind his love in farming and the struggles he had with organic farming.

Blueboots Farm: Bagaimana dulu awalnya mulai bertani, Pak? (How did you start farming?)
Pak Yayan: Saya mulai bertani sejak umur 20 tahun. Pertama kali mulai bertani karena orang tua saya juga petani. Kakak adik saya ada yang bertani juga dan ada yang kerja bangunan. Dulu kebanyakan kami menanam tomat, timun dan cabe untuk dijual di pasar.

I started farming when I was 20 years old. In the beginning, I started farming because my parents were farmers as well. Some of my siblings do farming, but some also work in construction. We used to grow tomato, cucumber and chili to be sold in the traditional market.  

BF: Apa yang Bapak nikmati dari bertani? (What do you enjoy the most from farming?)
Yang saya suka dari bertani adalah karena ada hasilnya dari bertani. Bisa merasakan hasilnya dari tanaman yang sudah dirawat. Walaupun modalnya besar, tapi nantinya akan menghasilkan lumayan.

The thing that I enjoyed from farming is there is a real result out of it. I can see the result after taking care of the plants. Although the cost is not small, but the result will be worth it.

BF: Pengalaman menarik apa yang Bapak pernah temui saat bertani? (What interesting experience did you encounter while you were farming?)
Dulu waktu orang tua saya bertani, mereka menggunakan metode organik. Jadi pupuknya dari kotoran kambing atau dari abu bakar. Kira-kira di tahun ‘60an pupuk baru umum digunakan. Tapi bertani organik memang lebih susah daripada bertani konvensional.

When my parents started farming, they used organic method. So the fertilizer is from goat’s manure or from ash. Approximately in the 60s, synthetic fertilizer was commonly used.

However, organic farming is harder than conventional farming.

4 Random Things that Grow in Blueboots Farm

At times when we wander around our farm, we found some things that we could not remember we have planted before. Without much care and maintenance, these plants grew healthily and productively to give us abundant food to eat. Our farmers sometimes came up with impromptu recipes around the day’s produce to become our meal that day. It is rather satisfying to eat from our land’s own produce and hopefully we can share more fresh produces to you!
Here are some things that we harvested this morning: lots and lots of spicy green chillis, crunchy and sweet purple eggplant, refreshing salad eggplant (terong lalap) and aromatic yellow passion fruits. We are thinking maybe some grill the eggplants with some soy sauce and green chilli paste, have the salad eggplant fresh with sambal and turn the passion fruit into a sauce for ice cream on a hot day! Perhaps you have any thoughts on what we should turn these produces into?

Rainy-Day Soup

If you have a slow cooker or a crock pot, this recipe will be super easy. Just dump all of the ingredients into the pot and let it cook on its own. Not only easy, this soup is also nutritious, which may help when you’re feeling under the weather.

If you don’t have a slow cooker, here’s how to cook up some comforting bean soup (straight from mom’s recipe book):

1 water chestnut, finely diced
1 large section of lotus root, sliced
0.5 kg fresh peanuts
2 carrots, diced
1L water
Salt & white pepper to season

  1. Put the water chestnut and water into the pot
  2. Once boiling, add the lotus root and peanuts (for a heartier soup you can add 0.5 kg diced chicken meat at this point), cook until simmering, then add the carrots,
  3. Once they are all cooked (about 12-15 minutes on medium-high heat) taste and season the soup

A cup of warm soup is best shared during the rain, enjoy.

5 Tricks to Improve Your Soil

Ever wanting to have an edible garden of your own? Home garden filled with chillis, tomatoes, herbs and leafy vegetables at hand’s reach? Before going into details on how to plant, we need to improve the structure and fertility of the soil before planting plants into the ground. Like humans, plants need a balanced diet of beneficial microbes, minerals and nutrients. Here is 5 easy tricks you can apply:

  1. Adding composts, composts & composts! Adding composts to current soil in the garden is the easiest and sure way to improve fertility and structure in the soil. Adding composts will enhance the water retention of the soil and increase the activity and number of soil organism. You can get supply of composts from local organic garden stores or local farms that you can contact. Composts are decomposed organic matter made from kitchen waste, animal manures, unused green leaves and dried leaves. All piled up to decompose till the pile becomes a dark and soft black soil called humus.
  1. Make permanent raised garden beds. Making raised beds will ensure that nutrients do not easily run-off from where the plants will be planted. It also prevents from stepping on garden beds that will compact and destroy soil structure. Raised beds also increases the drainage of excess water during heavy rainy season
  1. Planting cover crops on exposed soil. Recommended cover crops are plants from the legume family such as gotu kola (antanan), peanuts and clover. Legume plants as mentioned grow easily in any type of soil and are purposely planted to condition infertile soil. These plants capture nitrogen from the air and add free nitrogen into the soil. They also can also can be a good source of greens/biomass needed for composting or chopped off and drop it and mix it to the soil so as to add organic matter. Planting cover crops will also retain water needed for plants and microbial activity.
  1. Reduce tillage on soil. Heavy tillage is needed only in the beginning part of gardening when deep-rooted weeds like teki and alang-alang need to be taken out of the soil. However, after that tillage should not be frequently done as it will destroy the natural soil layer/ structure you have built over time. In order to loosen soil, a broad fork can be used to poke through the soil in a slow motion without bringing much disruption.
  1. Never use herbicide or pesticide. Using herbicide or pesticide will instantly kill millions or billions of soil organism that we need for growth of healthy plants through a whole biodiversity and activities of the soil web system. It will need a great amount of time again to achieve to its healthy state again.

What’s In Blueboots’ Peanut Butter

There are plenty peanut butters you can choose from out there, you have tasted lots of peanut butter out there, but have you tasted Blueboots Farm’s?

Our peanut butter consists of the amazing natural produces which are good for your body. Most importantly the main ingredient, which is the peanut, is organically grown at Blueboots Farm. We select the best peanuts seeds with every season of planting and feed the soil with our own Blueboots compost and liquid fertilizer to make sure that the peanuts contains an array of nutrients and reach its maximum flavor and creaminess.

We are allowing the soil to get nitrogen for its fertility from rotating the crops. This will ensure that our peanuts are getting the nutrients they needed in the natural way.

Another thing that goes in Blueboots Farm’s peanut butter is coconut oil, which is actually good for digestion and lowering bad blood cholesterol! Then to sweeten things up just a tad bit, we are mixing in organic coconut palm sugar that goes through less processing, allowing it to contain most of its nutrients. The peanut butter is sweet but not too sweet, making sure that you can taste the peanut as the main ingredient. Last but not least, the magic ingredient is sea salt, that makes every sweet thing has an edge to it. We are using sea salt because similar to coconut palm sugar, it goes through less processing, only the evaporation of sea water body. It allows sea salt to retain each minerals aside from sodium and chloride, which is important to our body’s electrolyte balance.

There you go! Now you know what goes into our creamy and yummy peanut butter. If you are keen to taste our peanut butter please contact us or comment on our post.

5 Facts About Blueboots Farm Everyone Think Is True (But It’s Not)

Some days you wondered, who are the people behind these fruit and veggie posts you see on Instagram. You then started to make your own hypothesis of who actually planted them. Is it some old farmers in a rural area? Do they use the latest technology in growing the crops? Where do they get their seeds from?

Read through to read about what people commonly think about Blueboots Farm and the truth behind it.

  1. Blueboots Farm is located in a remote rural area. We are actually located in Cijeruk, Bogor, 30 minutes off the city of Bogor. The same main street as Warso Durian Farm.
  1. Blueboots Farm is owned by an old rich man. We’re definitely not old, we are young farmpreneurs who take on the challenge of growing food sustainably, with the help of local Cijeruk farmers in the area (although they look old, they’re soul and spirit is as young as us). We are also working with fresh graduate from IPB to strengthen our knowledge on growing food.
  1. In order to get the best harvest we use pesticide. In order to stay to our vision, we’ve been trying to find ways to keep our farm sustainable and organic. Therefore we make our own bio-pesticide from natural ingredients found easily on the farm. Like neem, suren, papaya leaves and many other smelly or bitter plant that deter pests.
  1. We grow the same crops all the time. In order to reduce the number of pests and maintain a healthy soil, crops rotation is implemented. We never plant the same kind of crop after each season.
  1. We have strong background in agriculture. False. We studied totally different things but we are keen to learn about agriculture. Most of our knowledge and skills came from asking around, learning from local farmers and doing things hands-on. There was definitely lots of trial and error and even now we are still trying different things to achieve the best result by combining traditional and modern methods.

We hope what we do will inspire and positively impact our community. Follow Blueboots Farm’s progress as we strive towards a better future for farming!

The Local’s Superfood – Centella Asiatica (Pegagan)

Good morning!

Another new day, another new knowledge about our local superfood. We will kickstart the day in knowing about Centella Asiatica also known as Gotu kola, pegagan, daun kaki kuda and lots of other names depending on how the locals know it as. This plant is not to be easily dismissed. Knowing Gotu kola’s benefit will help improve or treat your health.

Indonesia is blessed with abundant of powerful and useful wild plants if we have the power of knowledge on the benefits of all the wild plants. Gotu kola is not a new found herb that is discovered for its tremendous health benefits but it is a forgotten plant due to our shift of importance of getting our essential nutrients with other valued vegetables, fruits and even health supplements.

Gotu kola can be easily found growing wildly in farms, open-field, roadsides etc. if we look closely enough. It has beautiful spade-shaped leaves or horse-hoof like leaf that can be easily identified.

Gotu kola is generally good to boost our immune system but however, it is really worshipped for its used as a combat to high blood pressure, boosting central nervous system, improving circulatory system, repairing skin, protecting veins and blood vessels and antibacterial properties.

If anyone is facing any health issues with the above mentioned, please read more about Gotu kola and let Blueboots team know if you need this herb. We have plenty growing in the farm.
Blueboots’ favourite way of consuming Gotu kola is adding fresh leaves to salad, blending it with basil to make pesto and also into powder dehydrated in low temperature to add to juices. Better eaten fresh for maximum nutrients.

Fresh Jam at Sunday’s Best

Blueboots will be featuring our fresh from the farm Rosella Jam. Dark crimson red jam with delicious flavour that will be a wonderful accompaniment to bread, scones, cheese and even meat.

Blueboots’ Vision

We, at Blueboots Farm, want to revolutionize the local food culture that emphasizes on quality, sustainability and traceability

Growing up in a diverse and rich land, often times we take our land for granted. As we experience living abroad, we started to realize how blessed we are with rich soil and tropical climates. And as we take a closer look, we started to realize how vast the food industry has grown. Unfortunately, this growth has made the root of food distance from its consumers.  A lot of young people don’t know how some fruits or vegetables look like before it’s processed. Most importantly a lot of people has forgotten how to grow like the old days, organically. Organic farming is actually not a new thing. If you look back and think about the farming back in the days, they probably didn’t have the knowledge and/or technology to use pesticides etc. In many Indonesian farms , farmers used local plants or herbs such as suren and neem to minimize pests that destroy their crops. They also often use their kitchen waste as a compost. It was the high demand (due to the scarce of food during wars) that pushes them to industrialize farming, where they maximized crops’ growth through technology. However, this ‘forced’ growth was not fully evaluated, neither was it sustainable. In order for farmers to keep growing ‘good crop’ they needed to keep buying ‘good seeds’ and pesticides, which might be more costly compared to how much they could sell their crops. The price was even lower if they had to sell it to the middlemen, also known as tengkulak.

As we learned about this issues we were encouraged to face the challenge. We wanted to show to others that growing organically & sustainably is not impossible. And since not everyone have the time to grow their own food, we want to be able to provide some options for their daily supplies by reintroducing some of the classic recipes of processing harvests in a modern & fun way.

How These Worms Do Wonder in Blueboots Farm

Worms are small creatures living on earth that we humans often take for granted of. They play a vital role in the ecosystem at the bottom of the food chain that indirectly sustain our food growing system. At Blueboots Farm, the worms are appreciated for their massive contribution in achieving a holistic integral system our farm will like to achieve. Here are some of the roles of worms:

  1. They help break down organic materials to good compost needed to feed the soil called worm casting or vermicast.
  2. They aerate soil needed for plants and other organism living in the soil
  3. Helps bring down nutrients to deeper level of the soil that is closer to plant roots
  4. Worms as food for chickens and other birds around the area

Now that we know that these worms are so useful, everyone at Blueboots Farm is taking care of them and making sure that they too, are growing healthily to keep the whole process works well!