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Organic growth

Rainbow Farm grows 16 kinds of plants in soil and hydroponic containers, and raises 75 chickens and fish. Guests can enjoy their fresh-from-the-land pickings in the hotel's restaurants. Xu Lin/China Daily

Publication Date : 26-08-2013

 

Sheraton Guangzhou Huadu Resort's organic garden ensures guests get the best bites

 

Sheraton Guangzhou Huadu Resort's organic garden ensures guests get the best bites.

Sheraton Guangzhou Huadu Resort's guests can wake up in the five-star hotel's lake view villa and pick organic vegetables from the garden.

These are cooked in the hotel's restaurant as they sip coffee while taking in mountain scenes in the fresh air 33 miles from Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport. Then, guests enjoy their pickings for lunch.

The hotel's general manager Ivo Estorninho created the establishment in August 2012 by renovating a golf driving range into the 1.4-hectare Rainbow Farm. It grows 16 kinds of plants in soil and hydroponic containers, and raises 75 chickens and fish.

"More and more Chinese guests have become interested in organic food," food and beverage director David Woodford explains.

"It's not just the trend, but the way people will go, because they want to have good food."

The farm's project manager Guo Xiaofeng says organic vegetables are smaller but better tasting and healthier.

"The farm is important because customers know where the food comes from," Woodford says.

"We can develop different food to cater for them. If we run out of something, we just go and pick it fresh from the land."

bout 20 to 25 per cent of Rainbow Farm's products supply the hotel's Yue Chinese Restaurant. Suburbanites and downtown dwellers buy the rest. The farm delivers sufficiently large orders to residents' doorsteps.

"It can't provide for all of the hotel's need because we can't grow some species," Guo says.

"So, the output is limited."

He says increasing diversity decreases output.

For example, melons takes 40 days from planting to harvest.

It takes patience and skill to run an organic farm. Rainbow is run by 10 workers, six of whom are local farmers.

Plants are fertilised with watered-down chicken manure. Fly traps and such plants as mint and camphor repel insects.

Melons and legumes are too heavy to be planted in the white pipes in which rows of produce grows in the hydroponic greenhouse.

The workers look for insects and check the soil-nutrient levels daily.

Another greenhouse houses four 10-cubic-meter cement fishponds. The water is filtered by aquatic plants and small fish before it's reused for up to three months.

The fish and chicken are fed extra or spoiled vegetables. The fowl eat corn soaked in water overnight and cornmeal, which are good for their digestion. Their brick coup has a large "backyard" for them to walk around in.

The farm doesn't host large livestock because of environmental limits and odours.

Executive chef Ji Chenglong regularly communicates with Guo so the farmers grow the vegetables he needs and knows what vegetables are in season.

He says about 70 per cent of Yue Chinese Restaurant's dishes are organic. Organic dishes in the hotel's restaurants are marked on the menus.

"Vegetables' natural taste satisfies everyone," Ji says.

"The farm makes it easy to create new dishes. Sometimes, I pull what I need to cook from the land."

 

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