‘Feel revitalized, agri-wiser’ when visiting EDL Agritourism Farm

Some of the carabao's milk-based products available at EDL farm

Tourists everywhere can relish and experience the bucolic setting and become more learned on almost all the components of the agriculture industry at the EDL Agritourism Farm Incorporated (EDLAFI), located at barangay Dolores in Capas, Tarlac.

Immersion experience on this farm will surely make the agri-tourists understand and appreciate more the beauty of nature and feel a sense of authentic farming life.

EDLAFI is one of the agritourism destinations accredited by the Department of Tourism. As such, top-notch service and facilities are thus expected on this farm set-up.

The farm is six-hectare complex named “EDL Farmhouse” or “Farmhouse by Estancia de Lorenzo”. Carved out of total of 30-hectare farmland by the company, it was conceptualized “to be an attractive option to the usually visited sun and beach areas and to be a model contributor to sustainable source of income for farmers”.

The farm is seven kilometers from the town proper. It can be reached from Manila going north by land for two hours. From the Clark International Airport, it can be reached by a vehicle within 30-40 minutes.

“What we really wanted to achieve here is for the young generation to observe it and to appreciate farming. It’s not often that we see what goes behind the products prepared and consumed on our tables. Participating in agritourism farm offers a deeper appreciation that agriculture-related activities are fun,” Allan Casajeros, Vice President for Operations of EDLAFI, said.

Aside from its refreshing and cozy accommodation, EDLAFI also provides visitors varied stimulating farm experiences.

As tourists range thru the well-defined subdivisions of the farm, they get a hands-on experience of milking and feeding the cattle, carabaos, and black pigs. They can even experience the thrill of having fun in rice planting.

Furthermore, the tourists can observe demonstrations on how to make organic fertilizer, balut and salted eggs and how aquaponics and hydroponics facilities work; tour of the herb and vegetable gardens, and check out the free-range chicken coops and egg hatchery.

Aquaponics, as defined by the experts, is a system of aquaculture in which the waste produced by farmed fish or other aquatic animals supplies nutrients for plants grown hydroponically, which in turn purify the water. On the other hand, hydroponics is a method of growing plants with added nutrients but without using soil.

One noteworthy service of EDLAFI is its mode of transportation to be used by the visitors in roaming around the farm. Aside from the tractors and typical vehicles, it also uses a modified farm carriage pulled by a native carabao.

Although, it has only been a year since its registration on April 2017, thousands of tourists have already visited EDLAFI and left positive comments and feedbacks on its exquisiteness which are proofs of its being one premiere farm tourism destination in Central Luzon.

EDLAFI was registered under the name of its owner Dr. Eulalio Lorenzo.

Partnership with PCC

Due to the limited number of dairy buffaloes being raised at the EDLAFI and to utilize its milk production potential, Casajeros coordinated with the Philippine Carabao Center(PCC) and applied for a contract under PCC’s family module project.

After thorough evaluation and assessment, they were entrusted with six Bulgarian Murrah buffaloes (two calves and four dams) last March.

Currently, EDLAFI has a total of 16 buffaloes, seven of which are confirmed pregnant, thus its milk production output is expected to increase in the coming years.

According to Casajeros, they use artificial insemination for breeding the buffaloes. For feedstuff, they use improved varieties of grasses such as Pakchong, Mombasa, and Mulato. Concentrates and silage are also used as feed supplement during summer time.

“Carabaos are docile and easy to manage. We let them graze in the morning and bring them back in the barn when evening comes,” Casajeros said.

EDLAFI is comprised of three enterprises. The first one is the EDL Farmhouse which showcases farm tourism; the second is the EDL Farm Selection which focuses on the selling of live animals (Peking duck, black pig, and Japanese eel) as breeders, and the third, the EDL Farm Fresh which produces and sells different farm products.

For the products made from carabao’s and cow’s milk, the PCC trained select employees of EDL on how to process different milk products.

“As I am a nutritionist by profession, I know how to fortify the selenium content of our protein products such as milk, meat, and egg,” Casajeros explained.

He added that selenium has antioxidant properties which help protect cells from damage.

All dairy products of EDLAFI underwent thorough research and development works prior to their commercialization. Among those milk products being processed by the farm are pastillas, cream cheese, and milk jam. Its own concocted ice cream product will be made available soon.

“Frankly speaking, majority prefers carabao’s milk for pastillas and ice cream because of the creaminess of the products,” Casajeros attested.

Plans in the offing

EDLAFI continuously strives for excellence in service delivery to help sustain the growth of agri-tourism in the country.

Among its lined-up activities for implementation are establishment of a “sample farm” or “agritainment park” for biosecurity purposes, launching of its restaurant, expansion of rooms for bigger occupancies, construction of seminar halls and villas, development of pasture area which is targeted to support 50 heads of mature ruminants, and establishment of feed mill and farm school for future as well as practicing farmers.

“If we have a farm school here, we can share our technical knowledge and farm practices to the farmers so that our progress and growth will be inclusive to the community,” Casajeros averred.

Aside from PCC, other government agencies which have partnered with EDLAFI for its continuous development include the National Dairy Authority (NDA), Agricultural Training Instititute (ATI), DOT, and Villar SIPAG.