Green Little Frog, October 2013

 

 

Green Little Frog is an organic farm in Thailand who delivers fruit and vegetables to Hong Kong weekly for home delivery ($5) or pick up (free) from Kennedy Rd in  Wan Chai on a Tuesday. A small trial bag costs $350, the contents of which you can see on the right. 

 

Tasting notes

 

When the vegetables are as fresh and tasty as these, I try not to cook them too much or add too many seasonings, so their flavours can really speak for themselves.

 

Romaine lettuce, red pepper and cherry tomatoes - best way to appreciate the flavour is raw in salads.

 

Leeks - we used to make a River Cafe recipe, combining with tagliatelle, porcini mushrooms and grated Parmesan.

 

Bananas -  Sweet and delicious sliced on buttered dark rye bread toast.

 

Beetroot - roasted at 170F for 1 hour then peeled, sliced and steeped in a french dressing (olive oil, red wine vinegar, honey Dijon mustard, salt, pepper). Mixed with lettuce & cherry tomatoes for a side salad.

 

Kale - stir fried in garlic but remained slightly bitter. My helper informs me her Filipino family would add sugar to it to remove the bitterness.

 

Pomelo - Very sweet, as you would expect from this time of year (September).

 

 

Reviews of Fruit & Veg Farms that deliver to Hong Kong with recipe ideas

Small trial bag (350 HKD) from Green Little Frog

 

Location of farm: various farms in New Territories including Tai Po and Fanling.

 

Ethos: vegetables come from farms that are certified organic by the Hong Kong Organic Resource Center Certification Ltd. which is accredited by International Federation for Organic Agriculture Movements.

 

Delivery details: Place your order online by 1pm Friday for a Tuesday delivery, and order by 1pm Tuesday for a Friday delivery. A delivery fee for orders below HK$350 applies according to delivery area: HK Island HK$80, Kowloon / New Territories HK$130

 

Range of produce: pre-selected seasonal vegetable boxes and juicing boxes or à la carte menu.

 

Prices: $300 for a 3kg preselected box containing 6-8 varieties designed to last a family 4-5 days. $550 for a 6kg box with 8-10 varieties designed to last 6-7 days. Juicing box of 2-2.2kg costs $180 and 4-4.2kg costs $360.

 

 

EatFRESH, October 2013

 

Mango Menus was delighted to receive a generous trial bag from Eat FRESH last week which contained the goodies you can see on the right. Started by three mothers in Hong Kong, the company sources fruit and vegetables from several farms in the New Territories. As well as fruit & veg, be sure to add their organic eggs onto your order, at just $38 for 6.

 

Tasting notes

 

Carrots, cucumber, cherry tomatoes: OK, slightly lazy of me, but when the vegetables are as tasty and crunchy as these, it seemed a shame to cook all the goodness out of them, so I simply scrubbed and chopped them into crudites for the kids, and we dipped them into hummous (blending a tin of chickpeas with the juice of a whole lemon, generous slug of olive oil, pinch of salt, pepper and ground cumin).

 

Kale: fried with garlic, ginger and soy sauce with a tiny weeny bit of sugar to remove the very slightly bitter taste.

 

Broccoli and cauliflower: made a broccoli & cauliflower gratin that my children devoured. Steam the vegetables al dente. Place into a shallow casserole dish. Soft boil 1 egg per person, remove from the shell and place in the dish with the vegetables. Make a white roux with 25g plain flour, 40g  butter, 425ml milk then add a teaspoon of Dijon mustard and lashings (50g) of  of cheddar cheese. Pour over the veg & eggs, and sprinkle another 50g of grated cheese on top along with breadcrumbs (from one slice of brown bread) on top and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Place under grill until breadcrumbs are golden. Leave out the cayenne on the bit you are giving to the kids.

 

Rosemary: we spiked a NZ leg of lamb (approx $250 from Shek Kee Frozen Meats in Causeway Bay) with the sprigs before roasting it. Also used in an gremolata (finely chopped rosemary, garlic and lemon rind) to sprinkle on a beef and butternut squash stew.

 

Apples - deliciously sweet and fairly crisp. 

 

Parsley - we made a linguini blanco.  Boil 200g of linguini to the manufacturer's instructions. While the pasta is cooking,  slowly fry 1/4 an onion in 50g of butter, then add 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic and a large handful of parsley. Once the pasta is cooked al dente, add to the pan of butter, stir for a few minutes, then take off the heat. Add 400 ml of single cream and season with freshly milled black pepper.

 

 

Location of farm: Northern Thailand

 

Ethos: Crops receive PURE CLEAN non-chemical water, air, & soil.NO chemicals, NO heavy metals, NO GMO. 100% Pure Organic. Crops are delivered to you within 36 hours of having been picked.

 

Delivery details: Weekly to HK and costs $5, or pick up from Kennedy Road in Wan Chai. 

 

Range of produce: Fruit and vegetables. Tropical fruit has just been introduced.

 

Prices: Large Fruit & Veg Bag (8-10 Items/6-7kg) $550-600; small Bag (6-8 Items/3-4kg)   $320-350; seasonal Tropical Fruit Bag (4-6 fruits/4kg) $430-450

 

 

Tasmania Fresh, June 2014

 

Tasmaniafresh.com imports Tasmanian vegetables, some fruit, seafood and other local produce into HK. They claim "gate to plate" is within 48 hours. While not certified organic, the soils are volcanic, water is artesian and the air is fresh. Delivery is $80 but for frequent orders or those exceeding $650, it is free. Call them for a quote on this as they are still figuring it out.  The bag on the right costs around $450. You can self select or allow them to choose.

 

Tasting notes

 

Apples - so crunchy and sweet! Best apples I have had in HK!

 

Carrots, Celery, Radishes and Cauliflower - recreated a crudites and vinaigrette hors d'oeuvres that I used to love in Maggie Jones restaurant in London

 

Beetroot, Garlic & Chard - roasted the beetroot at 170F for 1 hour then peeled, sliced and steeped in a french dressing (olive oil, red wine vinegar, honey Dijon mustard, salt, pepper). Fried the chard in a little olive oil then mixed it with the beetroot and crushed walnuts to make a warm salad.

 

Broccoli & Choi - stirfried in a little coconut oil and served with Asian marinated pork chops.

Tasmania Fresh vegetable delivery in HK review by Mango Menus
The Fresh Grower, July 2014

 

The Fresh Grower imports vegetables from New Zealand, which are not organically farmed but grown in volcanic soils with access to natural water sources. The farm claims to use "compound fertilizers which in comparison to organic fertilizers such as animal manures, eliminates the chances of bacterial contaminations (e.g. Salmonella from poultry manure)." You can order online or visit their store at G/F, 41A Belcher’s Street, H.K from 9:30 a.m – 8:00 p.m, open 7 days a week. 

 

The product range is large, including 3 (oh yes) types of kale as well as some fruits including apples, mandarins, pears and kiwis. It is winter in New Zealand right now with seasonal veggies including slender stem, cauliflower, green curly kale, red curly kale, beetroot and silverbeet. All the vegetables appeared to be extremely fresh when they arrived as well as perfectly formed. There were no holes or bugs living in the leaves, possibly due to the fact that they are not organically farmed.

 

There are 2 shipments to HK each week, on Tuesdays and Fridays and delivery is usually that day too. This is free for orders over $300 and Mango Menus' readers enjoy 10% off orders  exceeding $400 through July with the discount code mangomenus.

 

It's very hard to compare apples with pears (no pun intended) but in general I found the prices similar to other delivery services in HK. They might not be organic, but you are paying for them to be flown in from NZ. Selecting your own is marginally more expensive than choosing one of their baskets and while I couldn't quite bring my myself to part with $80 for a single cauliflower, $31 for 100g of rocket seemed much more reasonable. A small salad basket starts at $339 and claims to feed 2-3 people for a week but in my opinion, that would massively depend on how much you eat out! 

 

On your right you can see the bag of vegetables that Mango Menus was sent to review. The retail price would have been $755 excluding delivery for this selection, and I'll admit that I was terrified it would all go off before I had the chance to cook it, and I cook A LOT. However I was pleasantly surprised by its shelf-life which may or may not be due to the fact these are not organically farmed crops. 

 

I have had an poor history of buying baby spinach and rocket leaves in HK supermarkets, with bags often rotting within hours of purchase. I had pretty much given up on them. Not these babies! As well as being tasty, most of the greens lasted up to 5 days in my fridge after arrival and I enjoyed them in salads and wilted on toast with a poached egg and Hollandaise. 

 

In true HK mom style, I felt like the cat that caught the cream when I was in receipt of THREE different kinds of kale - green salad, red salad, and curly green kale. Suddenly I was faced with the rather first class problem of a kale glut, every iota of which I was determined to ingest. So, while drinking a green juice (kale, pear & celery), I frantically messaged my friend Jacqueline at Lantau Mama for her kale muffin recipe, which involves blending the leaves in the magimix to produce a purée which you can freeze in silicone muffin cups for future use (juices, smoothies etc.). With the magmix still dirty and looking irreversibly green, I blended another few handfuls of kale with raw almonds, olive oil, garlic and parmesan to produce a kale pesto, also frozen in silicone muffin cases (does anyone actually use these to bake with?), ideal for quick and easy kids' dinners. A few more leaves went into oven to make hard & fast kale chips, with others being ceremoniously layed out in the dehydrator for some slightly more smug kale chips, retaining more of their nutrients than their oven baked brothers. I have not been too adventurous with kale chips flavourings yet, my favourite being the heady olive oil from OlivetreeHK (closed for summer) and a sprinkling of fleur de sel with grilled spices from Les Halles Bordeaux

 

Having therefore preserved a large part of my kale lake for future use, I could then relax a little and enjoy some of the fresh leaves in a salad, which, if you didn't know, benefit from being massaged first (who doesn't?) in olive oil, this removing a little of their bitterness. My hurry to use it all up actually turned out to be unnecessary as even the salad kales lasted up to 5 days in the fridge.

 

Onto the rest of the greens, I enjoyed the fancy lettuces with a classic vinaigrette from David Lebowitz, which introduces a minced shallot to the mix and insists on sherry 0r red wine vinegar rather than the overexposed balsamic. The slender stemmed broccoli was a world apart from the local stuff I have tried, which I sauteéd in coconut oil with Thai herbs. The kailan and silverbeet (Swiss chard) were subjected to a similar treatment on another evening.

 

The beetroots were the bomb in a salad with aforementioned lettuces, Danish blue cheese, walnuts and a French dressing. This is an ideal summery starter for a dinner party and super easy to prep. We also made some highly fashionable beetroot brownies, a great rainy day activity to do with the kids in this stifling heat, and lastly, a zingy beetroot juice with ginger, apple and carrot.

 

I would certainly buy from them again, indeed I did this weekend, making the most of our 10% discount through July (discount code mangomenus), and have been thoroughly enjoying their crisp, sweet apples and sweet golden kiwi fruit.  I would therefore recommend The Fresh Grower for those looking for tasty, perfectly formed and long lasting vegetables grown in less polluted areas, but who are less bothered about organic farming and carbon footprint.

 

 

 

 

 

The Fresh Grower

The Fresh Grower

Beetroot Juice

Beetroot Juice

Kale, Almond & Parmesan Pesto

Kale, Almond & Parmesan Pesto

Baby spinach

Baby spinach

Poached egg and wilted baby spinach on toast with Hollandaise

Slender Stem

Slender Stem

ecoFarm Organic  Fruit Vegetable Review, written by Mawgan Batt from the HK Hub

 

The endless search for good quality organic fruit and vegetables in Hong Kong led me recently to try out ecoFarm. Having recently seen some photographs of very appealing veggies from a satisfied customer, I decided to give them a go to see if I’d finally found a reliable source of good quality, organic produce.

 

ecoFarm is located 1000 feet above sea level in a National Park in Ruijin, Jiangxi province in China. Yes, that’s right, organic veggies from China! Certified organic by the USDA, The EU and Japan, the produce is grown in a forest, high above sea level directly in the rich, mountainous soils without the use of compost.

 

Owned and operated by Dr Andrew Lam, a former Neurosurgeon from California, and his business partner Ada Lui, an environmental scientist, ecoFarm is a pioneer for organic produce in the mainland. Dr Lam believes all natural farming is an important way to help remove environmental pollutions from our lives and to give our body strength through food.  Not just a working farm, ecoFarm is also a teaching centre for students from across the world that want to learn more about organic food and natural farming methods.

 

As suppliers to high-end restaurants and hotels including The Ritz Carlton and Otto e Mezzo, the focus on quality is paramount. With the home delivery option, you can now get this same beautiful produce delivered straight to your door.

 

On ordering, I was very impressed with the selection and prices of the produce. There is a wide range of vegetables that varies seasonally but unlike many of the organic vegetable suppliers in Hong Kong, you can also order fruit and local Chinese specialty vegetables, which certainly simplifies the weekly shop.

 

My first order included apples, pears, zucchini, potatoes, broccoli, onions, green peppers, lettuce, chilies, arugula, carrots, tomatoes and lemongrass. This order came to $460 and delivery was free. It arrived very well packed with recyclable water bottles with frozen spring water to keep everything nice and cool.

 

The apples were the stars of the show. So fresh and juicy, definitely the best I’ve eaten in a long time!

 

We used the arugula, lambs lettuce, tomatoes and some grilled zucchini to make a delicious salad and the remainder of the huge yellow zucchini was used throughout the week in various sauces.  It stayed firm and tasty for almost 7 days.

 

There were a few tomatoes available to order including black heirloom and cherry tomatoes so you can choose a variety depending on your menu plans. The standard tomatoes were fine, but Dr Lam recommends that they are dried rather than eaten fresh to help concentrate the flavor. We used one in a salad, and dried the rest in the dehydrator with great results.  The cherry tomatoes were fantastic – so fresh and sweet that they make a great snack on their own.

 

Other highlights included the strong white onions, but be warned – they will make your eyes water. The broccoli was firm and really tasty. We roasted some with the addition of feta cheese, chili flakes and pumpkin seeds to make a great side dish for pork.

 

The lemongrass is currently drying out for use in tea over the cooler winter months – Dr Lam recommends lemongrass and ginger tea to help ward off colds and coughs.

 

The quality of the fruit and vegetables from ecoFarm is second to none. The passion behind the farm and the expertise and knowledge of its owners is reflected in the produce. They certainly now have another very loyal customer and I’m delighted to be able to support their natural farming methods by using their fruit and vegetables in my kitchen.

 

So don’t let the lack of website put you off. Go through the form, make your selection and place your order. If there are specific items that you would like, drop them an email and they will let you know if they have any. Sometimes they have a small quantity of a particular item but not enough to include on the list – it’s always worth asking.  

Ecofarm Organic Veggie Farm

Ecofarm Organic Veggie Farm

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EAT Fresh, October 2015

 

Eat Fresh sources organic vegetables and fruit from over a dozen farms in the New Territories, that are certified organic by the Hong Kong Organic Resource Center Certification Ltd. (HKORC-Cert),  and accredited by IFOAM (International Federation for Organic Agriculture Movements).

One farmer in particular, Mr Yung, with farms in HK and Yunnan, was a co-founder of the first Organic Association in HK 20 years ago, certified by USDA and the Canadian Organic Association as well as the above bodies. 

 

The large number of farms in their remit means they are able to offer an extensive range of produce relative to their competitors, and an a la carte service as well as the mixed ("surprise") box. In addition, the collaboration with the Yunnan farm means Eat FRESH can supplement almost everything not in season in HK, which can sometimes be very little due to the poor weather conditions.

 

Weekly subscriptions are possible, which can your reduce your overall cost if you sign up over a longer period time. Based on October 2015 pricing, 6 deliveries of the 3.5kg bag cost $1950, so $325 a pop. Increase the amount to 25 deliveries and the individual cost falls to $286. 6kg is the largest bag, which works out at $13,550 for 25 deliveries,so $542 a pop. There is also a juicing bag and toddler's bag available with recipes attached.  The order process is online and straightforward with the added bonus of additional groceries available, which are mainly organic, natural or ethically produced. Personally I tend to add on the organic eggs and coconut sugar, which are pretty good value. They also stock the delicious and award winning Bees Nest honey. Recipe ideas for their produce are also available online. Delivery is twice weekly throughout Hong Kong and the New Territories or you can pick up from the Eat Fresh office in Aberdeen or at i-detox or Spice Box Organics in Sai Ying Pun.

 

Pictured on the right is the 6kg bag based on seasonal produce available in October 2015. This is an ideal amount for a family of 4 who eats at home a lot. The apples in season are sensational, and quite superior to many I have bought in HK. Best raw, we also baked a few with dried fruit, butter and cinnamon sugar... I normally tend to peel cucumbers to remove any pesticides lurking in the skin, but since these are organic, we left the skin on for added fibre, plus they are tasty and crunchy. The carrots also taste like proper carrots and delicious in this raw salad with a peanut sauce.

 

Make sure you eat your herbs first, as being organic and free of sprays, they tend to go limp very quickly. Then attack any leaves in the delivery, as these will be next to perish. Remember that there are many veggies than can be blanched and frozen, in the event that you think you will not have time to cook everything. Blanching them helps retain their colour and stops the enzymatic activity responsible for decay. Each veggie requires a different blanching time, which you find here.  After blanching, you need to plunge them in cold water to halt the cooking process. Drain them well and freeze. If you are looking for green beans for a Thanksgiving casserole, here is your chance to freeze these wonderful organic ones. Or  steam them and chuck them in a salad Nicoise, as I just did for lunch.

 

Not pictured in this delivery,  but worth pointing out is the pumpkin available a la carte. This was quite possibly the ugliest but best and sweetest pumpkin I have ever eaten. We washed it, sliced it in half and scooped out the seeds before slicing it into wedges, skin on, drizzling it with olive oil and roasting it for around 30 minutes until caramelised and tender. It was so sweet that you might have thought I added sugar. My whole family devoured it, with skin on, like candy! Also, for Hallowe'en you could cut teeth shapes into the wedges... I bought a similar looking pumpkin from the wet market yesterday in order to do this, but it was so bitter it was practically inedible. I therefore thoroughly recommend you add the EatFRESH organic pumpkin to your cart!

 

Also available at Eat FRESH are organic roselles, otherwise known as hibiscus, perfect for making tea, syrups or jams. We also enjoyed their okra and sweet potato in a coconut curry. We are looking forward to trying their courgettes in some baking such as this zucchini bread recipe listed on the Eat FRESH website.

 

Organic fruit is typically fairly light relative to veggies in the delivery services across Hong Kong. As well as the aforementioned amazing apples, Eat FRESH has dragon fruit, Thai papaya and Thai pineapple.

 

As a household, we try to eat organic a lot of the time, but sometimes find it prohibitively expensive or unavailable. We therefore try to avoid the produce on the dirty dozen list, those known to contain the most amount of pesticides. This year, these are apples, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, grapes, celery, spinach, sweet bell peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas and potatoes. It is therefore pleasing to find many of the above available organically at EatFRESH.

 

Overall, we find shopping at Eat FRESH to be a positive experience with competitively priced produce and a great variety versus competitors. The opportunity to add on items from the a la carte menu increases the flexibility and we will definitely be a returning customer!

 

EatFRESH.com.hk

6kg seasonal bag

6kg seasonal bag

Soak greens in salt or vinegar

Soak greens in salt or vinegar

to kill any bugs that are more frequent in organic crops, but a good sign that fewer pesticides are used!

Best pumpkin ever!

Best pumpkin ever!

Sweet Potato & Okra Curry

Sweet Potato & Okra Curry