My friends fall into two lots — those who hear the word field day and think of something that happens in the spring to get kids playing outside in a series of challenges from soccer drills to softball and those who are ready to look at acres of food, feed, fiber sources and hear what makes them different from the plant immediately next to them.
I’ve been to both kinds of field days and bet some of my friends have, but a February field day? I went to my first while in The Philippines. And as I sent some notes back to family & close friends, there were jokes about my being a farm geek and several self-identified they’d find it of great interest too.
I love field days! I love them so much I was psyched to have a chance to go to one on vacation. Granted, there is something extra special about someone else’s event knowing you don’t have to work… And at a certain point, the tropical heat got to me so I didn’t make it the whole way around… NEVERTHELESS, it was an awesome experience!
Some of the things that I totally enjoyed?
- While I’ve seen vegetable plots & heard presentations during field days, this was the first dedicated veggie field day I had attended.
- The Allied folks doing the breeding & testing were there as were several seed company partners that Allied works with from other areas of Asia & the world. I was lucky enough to get to visit with many of them in the couple of days we were celebrating. Great folks across the board!
- Allied breeders are working on vegetables that are highly productive in the Philippines
- There are some local differences in taste as well that breeders are working with.
- Nutritional benefits are considered in the breeding process as well.
Since I’d never been to a field day that was solely devoted to veggies, I learned an incredible amount! Lots of crops to see! As we drove up, I had to ask about the plants that were staked & vined to provide a canopy, like I’ve seen at some vineyards. It was bittergourd. A type of gourd/squash that people here enjoy. Bittergourds are a type of produce that Filipinos like — they also prefer a distinctive taste in okra and pumpkin. (By the way, I did bring a Fighting Okra baseball cap for Willy’s son Mark.)
Because of the production challenges in the tropics, in-plant virus and disease resistance are important characteristics as well. I was so busy taking photos in the crops that I forgot to snag video out there. But I hope this short video gives you a feel for it the place & day. Then, I’m adding the photo gallery too! Lots of visuals on this one!
This is the fourth in a series of posts on Phillipines ag info picked up during a recent vacation.
- First post was on my farm geekness that gets me out & about in agriculture while on “vacation.”
- My second post was about plant breeding in Los Banos
- The third post was on getting my bearings on the geography & agriculture.
- And I posted the video we watched at IRRI here. More to come later.
- OH and for fun, you may want to see Bboy picking coconuts!