When was the last time you swung on slats roped to a tree? Came eye to eye with a butterfly? Plucked out vegetables to cook up a meal?
Now let me guess – you are either smiling at a memory,… or sighing because you haven’t been able to do that in a long time! Whether it is playing wild on the grass or capturing calmness under trees, soil nourishes our soul. Green spaces give us a lasting satisfaction that no amount of video gaming and screen time can recreate.
Unfortunately, though we love our moments in nature, we get so caught up in the cycle of office work and home errands and social commitments that really, we don’t plan for time in the outdoors. Are you among those who want to reconnect with nature but have no time to plan it out?
You’re in luck – for I am making this easy for you! Singapore’s countryside, small though it may be, is still a thriving, beautiful land. Never more than 45 minutes drive away from wherever in Singapore you are, lie the farms of Singapore in Kranji. Among them is Bollywood Veggies – 10 acres of farmland that aims not only to grow vegetables but also minds. The farm is run on the principles of permaculture and sustainability – making it a planet-friendly operation, and also a role model of how to connect urbanites to literally, their roots.
The moment you enter the gates of Bollywood Veggies, you know you have entered a place with personality. This rustic landscape has several surprise elements up its sleeves that will restore your spirits and smile. Our top picks on what you can do to have a true farm and nature experience:
DISCOVER the farm
The first thing you’ll notice upon entering Bollywood Veggies is a wooden slat board announcing you have entered paradise. And yes, the farm is paradise… it is also an amazing collection of slat board announcements. Wit and paint mix freely in all sorts of irreverent quotes which are as much a breath of fresh air as the environs themselves!
Interspersed between the signages are pathways to gardens and farm areas. There is a medicinal herbs enclosure, smelling thickly of Pandan. Across it lie a series of arches, hung over with blue pea vines. Further ahead there’s a butterfly garden, beckoning kids and adults alike. And then there are the banana trees – bananas of various varieties spread throughout the acreage. Add to that the jackfruits, moringas, papayas,… There’s so much to see! So arm yourself with a map and set forth. Before you know it, you’ll lose time…
… And one of the reasons you will lose time, especially if you have kids in tow, is the presence of play options! Hiding within the landscape are swings hung from trees, and stumps turned to see-saws. Resistance is futile.
PARTICIPATE in experiences
If you are looking to immerse yourself in a project in this rustic setting, there are many farm and nature experiences available for visitors. Bollywood Adventures – the tours/events arm of Bollywood Veggies – designs activities that take farm tasks and twist them into fun+learn sessions.
One of the more popular activities, for instance, is the culinary class. Participants go foraging for vegetables at the farm and then learn to cook them up at the farm’s own kitchen – or teams can battle it out with their recipes! Another crowd favorite is paddy planting. These activities are possible on weekdays as well as weekends – but you need to book in advance.
On special weekends – such as the upcoming Bolly Jolly Festive Sundays (Dec 2 & 9, 2018) – the offerings of experiences are even wider.
With Dec 25 around the corner, perhaps you want to give a try to making an Xmas tree out of pallets? You can collaborate with your family to build up the centrepiece for the festive season in this unique craft. Sign up for the workshop – or just participate in our giveaway and keep your fingers crossed! (worth $75)
If you have an arty bent of mind, perhaps you prefer to learn block printing and create your own tote bag while using natural dyes? A duo can work together on this craft, and take away the eco bag. Sign up for this workshop – or again, just participate in our giveaway and keep your fingers crossed! (worth $35)
EAT farm to table
Given the variety of things to do at Bollywood Veggies and the time it therefore takes, there has to be a lunch break included in your visit. Luckily for you, there is a bistro at the farm which serves not just any food, but food that is sourced locally to a large extent.
Named Poison Ivy (after the founder Ivy Singh-Lim), the eatery is high on inventiveness and severely lacking in poison! It avoids MSG, keeps salt in check, and sources from local farms wherever possible. The menu changes to reflect seasonality and bananas figure as prominently in the menu as they do at the farm. There are a lot of veggie options – and their freshness seeps through their taste!
BUY local produce
After all the walking, and learning, and eating… no, you will not be tired. You will likely be recharged! So before you exit, take the extra 5 minutes to browse at the farm shop. On any given day, you will find local produce, fresh eggs, herbs and the signature banana bread for sale.
Weekends are extra special, with a wider selection of produce. Plus, there is honey from Nutrinests (whose bees work hard in Sembawang and Malaysia). On special events – such as the recurring Farmers’ Market, or the upcoming Bolly Jolly Festive Sundays (Dec 2 & 9, 2018), you can expect the presence of artisanal/handmade stalls too!
Address: 100 Neo Tiew Road, Singapore 719026
Tel: +65 6898 5001
Wednesday – Friday: 7 am – 5.30 pm
Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays: 7 am – 6.30 pm
Monday – Tuesday: Closed unless public holiday
Bistro opens at 8am. and last order 4.30pm on weekdays and 5.30pm on weekends and PH
If you’re not driving, you can take the Kranji Countryside Express from Kranji MRT Berth 3 (round trip $3/adult, $1/child or senior citizen). The shuttle schedule is here.
***Secondsguru believes in transparency; hence our disclosure here that this is a sponsored article. We work only with those brands that share our planet-friendly ethos, and Bollywood Adventures Pte Ltd wears that label well. Though this content is paid for, the opinions expressed are our honest opinions, and the article was created without editing or dictation by the brand.***