Top 10 Unusual Plants and Food Finds at the Evia Producers Market

Have you encountered a Roselle calyx that gave a drink a magenta tint? How about a berry that fool your taste buds to make sour kalamansi fruit tastes sweet?

I am sharing with you some natural farm products that somehow amazed me and maybe new to you as I checked them out last Saturday, Jan. 10, 2014 at Evia’s weekend market.

Here they are:

1. Roselle Flowers

Calyces of Roselle

Calyces of Roselle

The magenta colored calyces of Roselle flowers (Hibiscus sabdariffa) is an attention-getter among the Evia Producers Market stalls which came all the way from the Moca Farm of Gigi Morris in Batangas. Roselle’s scientific name is Hibiscus sabdariffa, a native to Africa but also grows well here in tropical Philippines.

Good for dishes like Sinigang?

Mercy, staff of Gigi told me that Roselle is also used as a sour condiment for Sinigang. This is an alternative for the usual tamarind fruit turning your plain Sinigang into a magenta – colored one!

Roselle has its many uses. The calyces of roselle are cooked into jams, jellies and syrups; used as food colorant in condiments and pastries; and are used to make drinks and teas.

It’s the main ingredient in Gigi Morris’ “Magenta cocktail” and is one of the ingredients used by the Chefs in their cakes, pastries and other recipes found in the “What Happens When the Farmers Meet the Chefs” cookbook.

The health benefits: lowers blood pressure and bad cholesterol level, high in antioxidants, anti-cancer, and strengthen the immune system.

2. The Magic Berry 

Magic Berry (synsepalum dulcifucum) Photo:

Magic Berry (synsepalum dulcifucum) Photo:

This is a berry that fools your taste buds to make any sour fruit tastes sweet. Unbelievable? Well, the plant’s berry has this ability to enhance a sour taste and is being recommended to cancer patients suffering from appetite loss. The berry is eaten an hour before eating sour food to take effect. This plant is a shrub and it bears button-like-sized berries.

According to the stall owner of Redberrytree Farm, its price is 800 pesos but at the Quezon City circle, its 1,000.

Read related articles regarding the magic berry in New York Times & Huffington Post.

3. The Blue Rice 

Blue Rice, left (Photo: Gigi Morris)

L-R: Blue Rice, Adobong carnejo (rabbit meat) sa dilaw (turmeric) & black rice. Cooked & plated by Maila Vilela-Toreja. (Photo: Gigi Morris)

Another one on display at Moca Farm stall is a casserole of Blue rice and a vegetarian native pig lechon to go with it. Aside from Blue rice, the flowers are also used as natural food colorant in pastries.

What made a Blue Rice blue?

Blue rice is cooked by adding fresh antioxidant-packed blue ternatea flowers. It tastes like plain cooked rice – not really a captivating taste, but having blue rice with antioxidants on your table is something to indulge in a healthy way and something you can talk about while eating.

Blue ternatea

Blue ternatea (Clitoria ternatea)

Health benefits: anti-oxidant and memory enhancer.



One recipe using this flower is the Blulalo by Chef Michael Bautista – of which the recipe’s name itself is familiar, and yet so unique – it could paint a smile on someone’s face.

4. Sarsaparilla


Sarsaparilla (Photo:

Want a Sarsi? Pick, crush and sniff a leaf of sarsaparilla and you’ll get that sarsi drinks’ smell on your nostrils. This plant is used to flavor root beers and soft drinks like Sarsi. One of the health benefits of sarsaparilla (aralia nudicaulis) is blood detoxification.

Aside from sarsaparilla, there’s still a the wide array of unusual plants, seeds and leaves for sale and that simply amazed me as I found them at the Rare Plants & Seeds stall.

5. The Green Tea Plant

Green Tea

Green Tea

Can we grow green tea plant here in the Philippines?
Yes, we can grow it here – even in pots! How to plant it is easy: just take a cutting and stick it right on a garden pot with soil of course and grow it with care. The lady in-charge the stall said it’s easy to propagate – that I have to find out myself with the newly bought potted green tea plant.

The health benefits of green tea? Many and it seemed that everybody knows that it’s anti-cancer, it aids digestion, helps improve metabolism and helps in losing weight.

6. Sunflower seeds for Planting

Sunflower Seeds (Photo: Mother Nature Network)

Sunflower Seeds (Photo: Mother Nature Network)

The sunflower seeds are not that unusual but one of the hard to find kind of seeds, and in case you don’t know yet, it has a brain enhancing benefits. It’s found at MoCa Farm’s stall on display.

7. Kesong Puti

Kesong Puti

Kesong Puti

Kesong puti resembles a slab of tofu in texture and appearance but upon tasting it with the bread and other fresh ingredients prepared by Chef Chel Galang, it gave out a creamy and mild cheesy taste.

8. Villela’s Coffee

Vilela's Coffee

Vilela’s Coffee

Spotted a Villela’s ground coffee pouch with freshly-roasted coffee beans meant to be brewed into perfection for a real coffee taste and aroma. You can’t go wrong with this coffee, Dennis and I had great drinking moments with it that we kept on wanting for more.

9. Ginger and Honey 

Want some cold remedy? Ginger tea never failed an expectation what a ginger tea could do to soothe your throat on that one cool, breezy day. Her honey products also provide an opportunity to costumers on having their family’s home needs and maybe remedy for cough and colds whenever they want to.

10. Gourmet Dulong and Artisanal Tuyo 

Artisanal Dulong (Photo: eHarvest)

Artisanal Dulong (Photo: eHarvest)

Found Gourmet Dulong an appetizing match for crackers. At 210 pesos for a 250 gm, I found it a little expensive but if you need a quick fix for a snack to enjoy, this one is a choice. You can have them in two flavors, regular and spicy.

Their famous Artisanal tuyo is also a warning! It’s addicting – as Chef Gene Gonzales had this gastronomic experience, thus for him a recommended product worth trying.

Other products at Evia include vegetables like lettuce, carrots cucumbers etc; a variety of herbs, heirloom seeds for planting, and other potted plants for your garden or farm needs. Mushrooms, kesong puti, natural raised chicken eggs and lechon are available; also beauty products, and even wooden furniture, and more!

For more information about their products, here is Evia Producers Market Info and contact numbers: Market

EVIA Lifestyle Center, Vista Mall, Daang Hari Las Piñas
Market Hours: Every Saturday at 7am to 2pm
Contact number: 0917 529 1477
FB Page:

The people behind the Evia Producers Market are the same people who published the cookbook “What Happens When the Farmers Meet the Chefs”.

What Happens when the Farmers and Chefs Meet Up?

The result seemed to be not one but two: The cookbook, “What Happens When the Farmers Meet the Chefs”, and the Evia Producers Market.

What Happens When the Farmers Meet the Chefs Cookbook

What Happens When the Farmers Meet the Chefs Cookbook

The Book

The cookbook: “What Happens When the Farmers Meet the Chefs”, is a project that involves the farmers and the chefs themselves. The idea came after the farm tour adventures; organic and natural farm products discoveries; and the sharing of food and recipes during the meet ups.

The book is available at Evia Producers Market and at

The people behind the cookbook.

The people behind the cookbook (L-R): Chef Alvir Coronel, Gigi Morris, Chef Chel Galang, Chef Katheryn Brooke Enriquez-Bargo & Chef Alvin Joseph Bargo.

The people behind the cookbook

Moca Family Farm, together with other farmers and Chefs made the recipes of this cookbook, and the Farmers/Chefs in their own rights organized a market for natural farm products to be available to the public at the Evia Producers Market in Las Piñas.

The Purpose

The book’s concept according to Gigi Morris of Moca Farm, is not of a coffee table book but something that can be really used in the kitchen, thus a kitchen companion. The book has useful information about the cookbook itself, and some stories about ternatea, roselle, etc. It has measurements and equivalencies, the napkin folding, different kinds and uses of herbs & spices, and the last blank pages are for you to write your own recipes.

The Up-coming Project

Gigi announced: “We are launching another cookbook- a community cookbook that anybody can share. We are just opening the link to contributors.”

Gigi said that in this cookbook, anybody can contribute and the Chef will do the editing, but it would be a community cookbook for sharing Filipino regional recipes. She is hopeful that it would be out by the end of the year.

Evia Producers Market

Evia Producers Market

Evia Producers Market

It’s less than a year when the family farmers and producers from Batangas, Laguna and other neighboring towns made their way onto the Evia’s Parking area displaying a bounty of farm offerings for healthier eating.

Evia, according to Gigi has been good to them and these farmers continue to cater the needs of the growing public demands of fresh produce that are grown naturally without the harmful chemicals of commercial fertilizers, insecticides and pesticides.

Starting Jan 10, 2014, the Producers Market at EVIA Lifestyle Center, Vista Mall in Daang Hari, Las Piñas is open every Saturday from 7am to 2pm, and the venue is no longer at the Mall’s car park but in an open space by the mall’s entrance.