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December 16, 2016

TERRA MADRE DAY

The sounds of Nature—wind, quiet rustling of leaves, and a light breeze—was the setting for our celebration of Terra Madre Day. It is a day celebrated worldwide by Slow Food advocates to celebrate Mother Earth.

chit-juan-terra-madre-day-2016dec16For this year, Karla Delgado, an SF member and who recently attended Salone del Gusto/Terra Madre in Turin, Italy last September, created an activity at Kai Farms in Silang, Cavite. From Movement and Meditation to Sowing seeds, the day was something we all looked forward to.

chit-juan-terra-madre-day-8-2016dec16Slow food members and other kindred souls trekked to Kai Farms in Silang, Cavite on a lovely Saturday morning, each bringing a Slow Food dish inspired by Ark of Taste ingredients for the pot luck lunch picnic. The ECHOtrio brought Adlai Salad and Organic Chicken with Langka and Kadyos (instead of KBL which is Kadyos, Baboy Langka). The Ark of Taste seeks to preserve heirloom varieties by listing them per country and promoting the continued use of the produce which may not be as popular as mainstream fruits, vegetables, and animal breeds.

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As a critical mass arrived around 10am, we were called by Karla and Amena Bal to a clearing where we had Meditation and Movement to give thanks to Mother Nature. After the short yoga-like session, we proceeded to sow seeds—chia, spinach, kalamismis, string beans and more—at the Kai nursery.

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As the others went trekking around the farm, some of us just enjoyed the live guitar music and the breeze as we sipped our choice from the choices: Kamote juice or Lemongrass tea. Chef Margarita Fores, meanwhile, gathers her ingredients for a Taste workshop using Adlai, the now-famous endangered grain which she uses like Italian risotto or faro.

chit-juan-terra-madre-day-9-2016dec16With youthful Nayna Katigbak assisting, Chef Gaita mixes the adlai with some olive oil, sea salt, a bit of truffle oil, Burrata from Negros, cherry tomatoes from Pangasinan and fresh chives from Kai Farms (she picked on her way down to the house).

chit-juan-terra-madre-day-gaita-and-her-adlai-with-burrata-2016dec16She adds a touch of Blue Ternate flowers for a pretty art-cum-food on a plate.

chit-juan-terra-madre-day-2-2016dec16The other dishes just kept coming, like Black Heritage Pig stewed with Bataw from Nicolo and Paula Aberasturi, Grass-fed Beef with Adlai (again!) and carrots from Karla Delgado’s kitchen, Biko or Sinukmani (sticky rice with brown sugar and coconut milk) and Kutchinta (steamed rice cake) from the community farmers in Barangay Kabangaan, Idli and Dhokla, Thepla and Rajma–everything Indian and vegetarian from Amena Anantishi Bal.

What a lovely lunch with slow conversations, and live acoustic guitar sounds filling the air! While Slow Food members took photos of the food spread and some of us on the mats joining other guests, we remember what Mother Nature keeps giving us: the fresh food, the lovely ingredients and of course, the perfect setting for thanking her and blessing the bounty she shares with all of us.

chit-juan-terra-madre-day-6-2016dec16Oh, and the drinks included Kombucha served like champagne and wine as made by  Sierra of Starrbrew, and real wine like Chardonnay from Margarita Fores who recently discovered a Sicilian wine from Alex Lichaytoo’s Bacchus. Joni and Zeli brought Yacon wine and Calamansi wine from Benguet, too.

chit-juan-terra-madre-day-calamansi-wine-2016dec16The desserts, besides biko and kutchinta, were cupcakes you decorate with edible flowers. It was truly a treat for would-be bakers and food stylists!

chit-juan-terra-madre-day-cupcake-with-real-flowers-2016dec16Our Slow Food Manila leader Paula Aberasturi asked me to give a short talk on the Slow Food movement, hopefully to gather more members for the Philippine group. More people are needed to help us defend the farmer, save biodiversity and promotes good, clean, and fair food.

chit-juan-terra-madre-day-7-2016dec16Good day, Terra Madre Day, and celebrations such as this one happens around the world each year on December 10, to make sure everyone takes time to thank Mother Earth.

chit-juan-terra-madre-day-3-seeds-for-sowing-2016dec16But more and more we find farmers and chefs meeting each other, truly in a positive way to meet directly and establish a relationship. Chefs get to know what local farmers grow so they can make menus from seasonal ingredients. Farmers, in turn, find ready markets for their produce and pretty much produce what chefs can use and will enjoy using in their restaurants. This makes the Slow Food movement the true answer to sustainability.

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