Monday, March 30, 2015

Visiting a Grape Farm in La Union

I had this memory back when I was a child. I was travelling to La Union to spend the summer vacation, and when the bus passed by a certain town in La Union, bus passengers went crazy, trying to grab grapes from the road (those were the days when ordinary non-airconditioned buses were abundant). I always knew this province used to grow grapes, but for certain reasons, planting grapes mellowed down (though there are still a few farms planting grapes) and farmers focused more on different crops - tobacco, rice, and corn.

About a few years ago, I heard that the town of Bauang started growing grapes, but even if I planned to check out the farm and see other fruit plantations (the town is also known for growing guapple - guava the size of apples - and dragonfruit), but I just didn't know how. Thankfully, when my mom and I traveled to La Union early March in time for dad's death anniversary, my sister sent me a text message, with someone's mobile number - someone who is working at a grape farm.

Her name is Liezl, and she responded to my message right away. After visiting daddy's grave, we went for a quick lunch and took a bus going to Bauang.

Liezl wasn't available the time we reached the farm, but her husband showed us the way to the farm. It wasn't a very big farm, but enough to make one go "wow!" {more after the jump}

the early stages

not quite there yet

some already good enough for picking

We were told about the stages of growth of the grapes, as well as the historical background and other bits of trivia about the fruit, including the challenges farmers had to go through.

There is no entrance fee to visit this farm, and you can stay as long as you like... though of course, part of opening the farm to visitors is for them to sell fruit as well. Just like the strawberry farm in La Trinidad, picking grapes would cost more compared to the ones already sold in markets. That's because you choose the fruits you want, and obviously it would be the freshest fruits you can buy.

We were given a basket and a pair of scissors each, and we were free to roam the farm and choose the fruits we wanted. One advice though, always hold on to your baskets and never put the baskets down especially if there are fruits inside it because these ducks would eat them all up! No worries about this picture though, that basket was empty.

We paid 250 pesos per kilo of grapes. If you notice, there are some "bad" fruits - those with cracks. What I loved about buying the fruits was that the farmer took away the bad fruits first before weighing it. The cracked ones we fed to the ducks.

Before we left the farm, Liezl's husband continued to tell us stories, and we were given free fruits as well! This was my share - he took this bunch off the vine because nobody would choose to buy it.

It has been a great experience, and if you are in La Union this Semana Santa, you might want to pass by this part of the province and enjoy seeing the grapes as well. You may contact Liezl at 09467666706. Their farm is located in Brgy. Santiago and they have a fruit stand near Mandarin Star Resort.

*** Jenn ***

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Jenn, the Foodie

I come from a family who loves cooking and eating. I never had any formal training in cooking and that I taught myself how to cook based on the handed down recipes, but I could say that I can cook good food. In 2008, I started documenting my food trips for my travel blog, and since I have quite enough to start a food blog, might as well put all those food trips in one location. Thus, a food blog is born - thanks to the new Friendster Blogs. However, due to several problems, I was left with no choice but to pack bags again and move here instead. Here's the permanent address, promise! Enough talk, let the food trippin' begin! {Know More About Me}