Last weekend I had a fantastic time visiting one of the organic Moringa farms and a production site in Preah Vihear and Siem Reap Province. Since Cambodia is a developing country with a lot of poverty, it is still a place untouched by big agricultural corporations such as Bayer and Monsanto. Hence why the majority of veggies, fruits, herbs, and spices you find here are still cultivated in an organic, pesticide-free way!
I really hope it will stay like this, though! To be honest, if the corrupt government doesn’t interfere, chances are quite high since organic and naturally-grown are two important buzz words among most Cambodian or Khmer growers… and they get my full support!
I love their smaller, odd-looking produce. If you compare it to the imported, chemical-treated stuff that comes from Vietnam and Thailand, these fruits and veggies look so tiny, but oh man the difference in taste is beyond words.
Cambodian organic produce has an amazingly fresh flavor. I once fell for the bigger size of the imported watermelons and I could actually taste the chemicals in it! Yikes! After one bite the whole thing ended up in the bin! I didn’t want to poison the chickens with it either. That’s how bad it was. But enough about the produce, let’s talk moringa.
Fairtrade, Organic, and Sustainable!
Ever since we (my hubby, furry friend Chivas, and I) arrived in Cambodia about 2.5 years ago, I wanted to do something with the country’s natural treasures while helping the people and communities build a sustainable, fair-trade business. And I think I’m onto something good here.
Before I show you the pictures of my trip to the countryside, have you actually ever heard of the moringa tree before? Often touted as the “Miracle Tree,” there are dozens of known moringa health benefits today. It’s actually very impressive how much essential vitamins and minerals moringa packs in a single cup.
With one cup fresh leaves you’ll be getting following daily value percentages:
- 22% of vitamin C
- 41% of potassium
- 61% of magnesium
- 71% of iron
- 125% of calcium
- 272% of vitamin A
ALSO READ: Are You In Need Of Magnesium?
To give you a better idea….
The moringa dry leaf has 10 times more vitamin A than carrots, 17 times the amount of calcium in milk, 15 times the potassium in bananas, 25 times the amount of iron in spinach, and 9 times more protein than yogurt!
Amazing isn’t it? Superfood qualities? I would say a big YES to that. Next to these amazing nutritional values, moringa leaves and seeds are also packed with a broad range of antioxidants to protect your body from premature aging and cancer while boosting the immune system to fight chronic inflammation and disease.
In some Asian countries, moringa is also traditionally used to improve milk production and facilitate breastfeeding in mothers who just gave birth.
And these incredible benefits are only the tip of the iceberg of what moringa can do for you. I can’t wait to go back into the field and learn more about how people have used this miracle tree both in a culinary and healing way.
The other day we made a moringa soup, and it was delicious. We also often add it to green smoothie these days since it actually tastes like spinach, to my hubby’s opinion even better. See I like spinach, but my hubby says It has a bitter aftertaste when cooked. Moringa has none of that. It has a delicious green, spinach-like smooth aftertaste.
The Farm in Pictures
Since the founder of the moringa project is not only prioritizing high-quality, organic end products (such as tea. powder, capsules, soap, and tablets) and methods, he also values people and the surrounding environment. You know how it can go in developing SE-Asian countries; very low pay, exploitation, pollution, deforestation, and horrible, unsafe work conditions, are not an uncommon thing.
Mr. Ung Tongeang, however, wants to give back to the communities. He wants to help them expand, create better farming conditions, and provide better working tools and conditions while sticking to the organic farming methods and paying them a more than fair price for the moringa leaves.
Though he is in charge of the production process and distribution throughout Cambodia and neighboring countries, all the farming lands are owned by the farmers, and he buys all their product, supporting the rural communities in Cambodia. Happy farmer and a content producer/distributor. The perfect symbiosis.
Furthermore, all the trees are grown in a sustainable, organic way! No pristine rainforests had to make way for these plantations. Nor can you find any kind of pesticides or herbicides on their lands. Like mentioned above, they use natural ways, like the lemongrass plant to ward off insects and other pests.
FAIRTRADE, ORGANIC AND SUSTAINABLE! IT CAN’T GET ANY BETTER, RIGHT?
Scroll down for more pictures that show how the moringa is processed without any addition of chemicals.
What Do They Do With All The Fresh Moringa Leaves?
After the young leaves are harvested from the field, they are washed with sterilized, filtered water. Next, the washed leaves go through a natural drying process before being used as a natural tea or ground into power to make dietary supplements such as powder to add to smoothies and juices, capsules, or tablets.
Other moringa products they produce include cold-pressed moringa oil, moringa soap, and tea from the seeds or pods. The owner of the project is currently considering buying a steam distiller to make moringa essential oil. Really looking forward to seeing that process coming together.
Combining The Power of Moringa with Turmeric and Black Pepper
To make things even better, along with the moringa trees, turmeric and black pepper are also grown. That’s 3 of the world’s most amazing superfoods grown in one spot.
FYI: black, white, and green pepper all come from the same flowering vine plant, the Piper nigrium. Green pepper is the freshly picked young peppercorns. Black peppercorns are picked when they are almost ripe and naturally dried in the sun, which turns the skin pitch black. White peppercorns are fully-ripened black peppercorns with their outer skins removed before drying. Pink peppercorns, however, are not true peppercorns from the Piper genus but are the ripe berries of the Brazilian pepper tree.
While it wasn’t the right season to dig up some turmeric roots, they still had some drying from the previous harvesting season.
ALSO READ: Top 7 Health Benefits of Turmeric
It is still uncertain what we will do with all the information and plant goodness we just discovered. But a collaboration is in the making. I can barely contain my excitement since I feel so blessed to live, work, and be among the Khmer (Cambodian) people and the many natural treasures hidden deep within the tropical rainforests and rural areas.
Looking to the future, you can probably expect some more moringa, turmeric, and black pepper news. While I ‘m always eager to learn more about nature, food, and health-related topics, this project-in-the-make got me all excited that’s for sure!
Thanks for reading. I hope this information was helpful. Until next time!
Crazy cat lady, life and food lover, certified biologist, and holistic health coach.