Once only found in specialty shops such as health food stores, organic food can now be found in supermarkets across Metro Manila. Organic food is generally sold at higher prices than traditionally farmed food, so why are some people willing to pay more for what often looks and tastes the same?

According to an article by a famous health care organisation in the USA, Mayo Clinic, the key differences between conventional farming and organic farming are:

Therefore, people go for organic mainly for health reasons, because many chemicals used in traditional farming are toxic to humans, and these people also have a desire to protect the environment.

How "Organic" Is It?

In the Philippines, it is hard for shoppers to know how "organic" a produce is actually: where does it come from, what was the farming process used that qualifies it as organic, etc. Organic food that is imported from the USA, for example, and carries some sort of (US Department of Agriculture) certification label can provide a certain amount of assurance, as the certification means that the item is produced and processed according to the USDA standards.

In the Philippines, there are two third-party certification bodies (The Organic Agriculture Act of 2010 defines third-party certification as the confirmation of an independent organization – accredited by government – that the organic farming conditions mandated by law are being met by the practitioner; source: www.organic.da.gov.ph), namely the Organic Certification Center of the Philippines and Negros Island Certification Services. The farms certified by them are listed in the website of the Department of Agriculture.

However, many of the produce that we can find in supermarkets in The Fort are sold by farms not on the list of certified farms. So buyers have to do our own research when buying so-called "organic food"; some of the farms that sell organic food here welcome visitors to their farms, so it is possible to check their production process.

Buying Organic Food in The Fort

  • Selected vegetable stalls at the outdoor market of Market! Market! For example, free-range chicken and organic eggs from Pamora Farm are sold at Stall No. 65. Their produce is also sold at Mercato Centrale weekend night market, Metro Supermarket at Market! Market!, as well as the Sunday market at BHS Central. Dizon Farms also has some organic vegetables for sale at their stall at the outdoor market.
  • Organic food section of the two local supermarkets (SM Aura Mall, Metro Supermarket at Market! Market!) and one buying club (S&R at 32nd Street) for locally produced organic vegetables and imported organic meat.
  • Healthy Options store in SM Aura Mall (imported organic meat). The branch in Bonifacio High Street does not sell raw produce.
  • ECHOstore at Serendra Piazza (local organic vegetables and juices)
  • Herbana Farm sells organic veggies at Mercato Centrale Saturday night market in 26th Street corner 7th Avenue, near The Fort Strip.

Some brands of vegetable that claim to be organic and sold in SM Aura Supermarket are:

  • Dewi Sri Farm (Laguna): here
  • Gourmet Farms, Inc. in Tagaytay: here
  • Healthy Options, which has a branch in SM Aura Mall that sells organic meat produce, has a partnership with Costales Nature Farm in Majayjay, Laguna, to produce and sell free-range and organic chicken and eggs. The farm also produces organic pork and duck. Costales Farm is certified by NICERT.

There are also sources in The Fort that offer products that, although not organic, are healthier than the everyday food we eat or ingredients we use. 

  • Rustan’s Marketplace at Central Square, Bonifacio High Street: quinoa, olive oil, potassium salt
  • Robinsons Select at Burgos Circle: quinoa, stevia, olive oil

Prices of Organic Food

Everyone knows that organic food produce commands a higher price. We assume that that is because it is more expensive to keep vegetables pest free if we do not use commercial chemicals. But how much more expensive should it be? Eggs from free-range chicken, for example, sell for 15 to 18 pesos per piece, whereas regular eggs cost 8 pesos or less per piece. Organic white rice sells for 70 pesos per kg at BHS Central, whereas regular local rice sells for half that price. Cherry tomatoes at Healthy Options cost 500 pesos per kg. At such prices, organic food can reach perhaps less than 1% of the population. We can only hope that as people are more aware of the benefits of organic food and more farms produce organic food, the price of organic food can go down so that more people can enjoy them.

Order by Phone/Email

Apart from going to a store to buy organic food, residents in The Fort  can also get organic food by ordering by phone or email. The following are some sources that deliver to The Fort among other places:

Are you one of the many The Fort workers who have no time to cook? Here we have here a list of a few restaurants that offer and deliver ready-to-eat healthy food. Not all of them use certified organic products and ingredients, but all of them are certainly healthier than the other greasy fast food options.

There are many others that sell organic food, such as Detoxify Bar that sells organic fruit and veggie juice and organic meals. Unfortunately, they have minimum order sizes that are more for wholesale purpose than for home consumption. We are building a group order function in this website so that members can invite others to jointly order from such shops in order to meet the minimum order requirement. Until then, our choices for organic food are limited to those listed above. If you know of other suppliers, do share with us by submitting a comment to this article.

There is also Sap Juicery in SM Aura, which sells unpasteurized, raw and all-natural cold-pressed juices. They use organic cane as the sweetener for their juices. Among the options they offer are O1 (pineapple + apple + carrot + orange + cucumber), R1 (pineapple + apple + red beet), and B1 (organic coconut water).

Organic Food Restaurants

Only a few months ago there were just a handful of restaurants in The Fort that specialise in organic food. Now there are quite a few. The newcomers include the Wholesome Table (30th Street corner 7th Avenue, BHS Building C3), Earth Kitchen (BHS Building C2) and The Farm Organics restaurant along Forbeswood Heights. Crisp at 28th is a restaurant owned by a celebrity chef known for cooking healthy food. Not all ingredients served there are organic, but their organic quinoa salad seems to be very popular with many health-conscious foodies.

The Organic Market at Burgos Circle

It is easy to find weekend food markets in the metro, but it seems that not many are focused on all-organic products. Good thing organizers Stella Que, Miguel Que Rodriguez and Samantha Que Rodriguez thought of putting together a food market that features shops that offer organic and/or all-natural products, aptly titled “The Organic Market.” You can find the following unique merchants in the bazaar: Down to Earth, The Butchery Sausage, Cocolatto, Vom Fass, Perfect Mushroom, Sprout, Coco Green, Sushi Nori, and many more!

The market kicked off its first day last October 25. The second day will be happening on November 8, 2015, Sunday, at Forbestown Road near Burgos Circle (just outside Tipsy Pig and Frank & Dean). It’s open from 8AM to 6PM. So grab your bayongs and ecobags, and get ready to shop.

Post a Comment

Register or login to leave a comment


No comments yet

Latest Events

Latest Blogs