Andy Goes To Asia

Saigon’s Food Sources

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*** Whilst in Ho Chi Minh City I’ve been given the opportunity to write for one of the region’s most prolific English Language publications, AsiaLIFE. In my first article I wrote about the source of food in Saigon’s restaurants and grocery stores. Here is a taste:

Bell pepper yellows, beetroot purples and lettuce greens: the refrigerated shelves of Organik’s vegetable section gleam with sealed-in freshness. Arlene Fast, head of customer relations and wife of co-owner John Fast, is showing her inventory as we meander through her Thao Dien store. Different areas feature vegetables grown at their farm in Dalat, produce grown organically and non-organic products that are still clean.

According to Fast, there is a fear that vegetables grown in Vietnam are generally unsafe since many smaller, more local farmers use harmful chemical pesticides on their crops. This is simpler and yields faster growth with larger products.

“When you have a small farm, the bigger and quicker the better. It’s all you can do to make a living off limited means,” she says.

Yet cleaner, fresher and safer food is on the rise in Vietnam, both through the efforts of suppliers and the demand of consumers.

“At Organik we aim to grow as clean as possible,” says John Fast, who started the company in 2004 with Arlene and business partner Dr. Nguyen Ba Hung, a geneticist. To achieve this aim, the Fasts and Dr. Hung employ a variety of growing techniques to deter pests.

“Some pests are plant-family specific. Lettuce has predators that will get at them but the same predators will not get a potatoes,” he says.

By moving the different crops from place to place the predators remain out of harm’s way. These methods help alleviate the need for harmful chemicals…

*You can read the rest of the article on AsiaLIFE Vietnam’s website, here:

What’s in our food?

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