Heart & Soil

By Kathrina Paz ElefanteMay 7, 2017

Farm produce makes families healthy and whole

Holy Carabao Holistic Farms may have started out of necessity but there’s more to this farm than plants and animals. Established in 2007, it started out as a home-based business doing door-to-door delivery.

“I had two kids then and I wanted to give them better food. After doing research and meeting naturopathic doctors, the conclusion was to grow our own food and eat organic,” shares Hindy Weber-Tantoco, one of the founders of Holy Carabao.

“At that time, there weren’t a lot of organic food growers so I would go to the weekend markets but there wasn’t much supply and variety. So we started a small backyard farm then sold our produce during the market days of my kids’ school and it grew from there,” she adds.

After five years, Hindy was joined by co-founder Melanie Teng-Go and that’s the time they decided to expand. Although they come from different backgrounds—Hindy being a designer and Melanie coming from the automotive industry—they share the same vision of bringing wellness, health, and vitality to families.

Hindy (right) and Melanie, founders of Holy Carabao Holistic Farms.

“Since we were very much part of a school community that espouses a sustainable lifestyle, we decided to collaborate with Acacia Waldorf for the farm. It goes hand-in-hand with the farming curriculum specific to the school, which we established together with a group of young farmers called Nu Wave Farmers from UPLB,” Hindy says.

The pilot program aims to teach children where food comes from and help them become more aware about the environment. “If you ask a kid ‘where does ketchup come from?’ you get all sorts of answers. The farm is where they can learn about food sources and connect with nature.”

Visitors can take part in their farm tours, which include animal encounters with their resident fluffy chickens, black pigs, and bunnies, carabao rides, and unlimited use of their simple but super fun swing zipline. Visitors can also do “pick and pay” and harvest their own produce.

Pantry makeover

Aside from the farm tours, they also conduct a regular ‘pantry makeover’ workshops.
According to Hindy, the key to a healthy lifestyle starts with answering one simple question: what’s in your pantry? If the answer involves processed food high in sugar and preservatives, it’s time to give your pantry a makeover—and Hindy can help you do just that.

“We also do pantry makeover workshops and teach families how to start eating healthy by sharing healthier substitutes to what they normally have in their kitchen and answer questions on what’s the better water, sugar, oil, salt, seafood and even cookware,” she says.

“What drives us is bringing wellness and vitality to families. That’s still intrinsic to our vision even if the company has grown in terms of size and retail presence. We want to connect with them and bring them closer to the essence of life and the way to introduce this consciousness is through food,” shares Hindy.
Next time you’re grocery-shopping and reaching for that bag of junk food, remember that eating is not just for pleasure but for power. And it doesn’t hurt to abide by the old adage: “You are what you eat.”


Holistic farming

Holy Carabao practices holistic farming inspired by organic, biodynamic, and permaculture principles. This approach is based on the belief that everything is interconnected and follows the rhythms of the sun, moon, and earth.
“We have a complete line of local bahay kubo produce, root crops of Benguet as well as different herbs. We’re working on a ready-to-eat line right now to reduce food waste and make it easier for people to eat healthy,” she reveals.

Holy Carabao products are currently available in their farmer’s market in Makati, in selected Rustan’s, S&R, and Robinsons Selections branches.

Aside from their farm found within the Acacia Waldorf School compound in Santa Rosa, Laguna, they also manage another farm in Batulao, Batangas. They also have partner farms in Benguet and Quezon, among other locations.

“We work closely with them because we realized that the only way to make an impact on the lives of the farmers is to scale it up. That’s why we strengthened our retail presence,” says Melanie.

So if you encounter a Holy Carabao product, know that it was made in harmony with nature and with as much heart and soul as if it came from your own backyard.