Dirt To Doorstep: 3 Companies That Deliver Locally Grown Produce

Don’t settle for jet-lagged kale and carbon-footprinted kohlrabi. Locally grown fresh produce can be yours at a click.

By | January 3, 2021

Where it was once fine art, a grand piano, or a jeroboam of extra brut champagne, vegetable gardens are now the new status symbol—both at home and in restaurants. Who isn’t charmed by the idea of harvesting their own carrots for tonight’s stew? But if you, like myself, have yet to successfully grow a single tomato on the vine, leave it to those gifted with green fingers. Aware of the allure of e-commerce, Malaysian farmers are listing their inventories and order forms online, thereby enabling “dirt to doorstep” delivery, and crossing out market visits for the weary or busy. Here are our top picks:

1. Weeds & More: for fine dining greens

Who would have thought that the regional chair of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants would give it all up to run a farm collective? Often spotted in a plaid shirt and work-friendly jeans, Leisa Tyler is the hands-on founder of Weeds & More, which supports the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in Cameron Highlands. In any “normal” year, Weeds & More’s European produce would only be accessible to restaurants and hotels, but one of the silver linings of Covid-19 is that you can now enjoy their restaurant-quality produce at home.

Fung Chee Siang, a Malaysian organic farmer and founder of Hatiku, works with Weeds & More. Photograph: Courtesy of Weeds & More

Says Tyler, “We are a B2B company. Starting B2C in lockdown was a spur of the moment thing when faced with oodles of produce that were starting to go off and had nowhere to go. Thinking people may want to continue staying at home after MCO, Andrew Wong of Open House came to my rescue and offered to take over the home-delivery model. Truth be told, we wouldn’t have been able to continue our house boxes without a solid website interface and some calm(er) minds running it.”

TOP PICKS: The Eurasian Home Box (from RM135 for 3kg) and the European Home Box (from RM159 for 3kg). Add on edible flower garnishes, crosnes aka Chinese artichokes and/or cucamelons aka Mouse Melons for a premium.

SHOP HERE: https://byacme.shop/collections/weeds-more


2. Cultiveat: the restauranteur’s choice

Broad-shouldered and mild-mannered, John-Hans Ooi is a veritable poster boy for Cultiveat.

“Cultiveat delivers the kind of vegetables that your grandparents talked about,” enthuses the company’s cofounder and CEO. “Our vegetables are grown without pesticides or additives, and offer all the best nutrients that nature can offer. Ironically, going back to basics requires the use of technology at our sustainable, urban farms.”

John-Hans Ooi, cofounder and CEO of Cultiveat. Photograph: Courtesy of Cultiveat

By technology, Ooi is referring to a proprietary watering system that gives each plant just the right amount of hydration it needs—no more and no less. If Cultiveat’s vegetables are good enough for more than 80 restaurants in the Klang Valley—including myBurgerLab, Fin, Huckleberry, KGB, VCR— then they’re more than good enough for us.

TOP PICKS: Big Heart Tomatoes (RM15 for 600g), Coriander (RM5 for 50g), Sweet Basil (RM6 for 50g), Multicoloured Spinach (RM8 for three bunches), and much more.

SHOP HERE: https://cultiveat.co

3. Plucked: the kale specialists

A close cousin of broccoli, cauliflower and kai lan, kale enjoyed a bit of limelight in the noughties as a result of clever marketing campaigns; even Beyoncé slung a sweatshirt sporting the words “KALE” (Yale University students were especially thrilled) in her 7/11 single in 2014. The only prohibitive factor for Malaysians to consume more kale is price; largely imported, the leafy green vegetable costs a lot more than local vegetable varieties.

Cue Plucked, a farm founded by husband-wife team Chia Tsu-Wen and Wong Win Kin. According to Chia, “Our love story with kale started from a personal need for fresh produce, preferably organic, at affordable prices. We also longed to educate our children on where our food comes from, and for them to build a stronger appreciation for the environment.”

Plucked’s farmers harvesting kale. Photograph: Courtesy of Plucked

The family business grows not one or two, but three types of kale: Curly, Red Curly and Tuscan—try them all to discover your personal favourite. While Chia’s favourite way to enjoy kale is raw, she also suggests incorporating the versatile vegetable in stir-fries, fried rice, mee hoon, or any dish as you would with other greens.

“And because we are located in Janda Baik, Pahang, we can promise that the kale you receive was harvested no more than a day before it reaches you,” she adds with a wink.

TOP PICKS: Kale, mushrooms, and three types of veggies in these pack options: The Harvest (RM65 for 3kg), The Farmer’s Choice (RM55 for 2kg), and The Light Pack (RM40 for 1kg).

SHOP HEREhttps://www.pluckedveg.com

Bobbi Beausoleil

Bobbi Beausoleil

A food writer whose superpower is remembering everyone’s favourite dishes and drinks. Frequently investigating the world through the lens of food.