When she was a child, Nur Evelyn Ghazali would go to Cameron Highlands along with her household in the course of the holidays. They’d go to tea homes that doubled as flower farms, which tremendously fascinated Evelyn.
“I informed myself I might personal a flower farm someday,” she mentioned to Vulcan Put up.
Earlier than she acquired to that time, Evelyn first grew to become a flight attendant. This took her to stunning locations all over the world however had nothing to do with farming.
In reality, she was supposed to remain out of the solar to maintain her pores and skin honest and freed from freckles.
Like many others, although, the pandemic proved to be a catalyst for her desires.
“Through the lockdowns in early 2021, like everybody else, I began gardening,” she shared. “I reconnected with my cousin who owned Jo Inexperienced Enterprise, a profitable edible flower farm in Johor.”
Jo Inexperienced Enterprise was seeking to collaborate with and curate growers in addition to artisanal makers who complemented their vary.
So, Evelyn determined to begin Qultivation, partnering up with Jo Inexperienced Enterprise to develop premium botanical produce for culinary creatives.
Not simply ornamental
Earlier than you go round and begin plucking flowers to your dishes, simply keep in mind that not all flowers are fit for human consumption. Some frequent edible flowers embrace chrysanthemums, violets, sunflowers, roses, and lots of extra.
In accordance with Evelyn, although, edible flowers should even be grown with natural strategies in order that there aren’t any considerations with chemical contamination.
Have you ever ever heard the saying “eat the rainbow” in terms of a nutritious diet? Properly, it’s a factor, and it refers to consuming a vibrant number of fruits and veggies… and perhaps flowers?
“On the subject of flavours and dietary worth, edible flowers are similar to herbs, fruits, and greens—solely a lot prettier,” Evelyn defined.
“Every flower has its personal flavour. For instance, cosmos style like contemporary mangoes, marigolds style citrusy, and snapdragons, peppery.”
Edible flowers aren’t only for fancy fantastic or premium eating dishes. In accordance with Evelyn, you possibly can attempt to sprinkle them in salads, baked items, desserts, omelettes, pastas, soups, morning oats, toast, mocktails, sodas, tea, espresso, and even on native dishes like rendang, bubur, roti jala, and kuihs.
After a 12 months of operating the farm, Evelyn now is aware of the nuances of every plant and its lifecycle.
“Edible flowers can final for about seven days from the time of harvest. They need to be refrigerated and saved in an hermetic container for longevity,” she mentioned.
With this in thoughts, the edible flowers at Qultivation are harvested each day within the morning, chilled instantly for no less than two hours, after which despatched out to purchasers on the day of the harvest.
Situated in Bukit Lanjan, Qultivation’s farm is about one acre, producing round 5kg of edible flowers per week. Their clients are companies, starting from cafes to natural grocery shops.
Cultivating younger farmers
At Qultivation, it’s not simply flowers which can be being grown, however abilities too.
The farmstead runs a Qultivation Social Enterprise Program that gives expertise coaching and assist for deprived youths. This consists of those that might have dropped out of society as a consequence of a scarcity of schooling or employment.
This system focuses on expertise coaching in sustainable, moral farming and all its downstream services.
“Upon the completion of this programme, graduates are inspired and supported to search out jobs with their new ability set, or begin up their very own nature-based micro-businesses, with steerage,” Evelyn elaborated.
The programme isn’t nearly letting underprivileged youths get hands-on with farming, both. They really have a mycologist who teaches mushroom farming.
Apart from edible flower cultivation, Evelyn additionally teaches design, gross sales and advertising and marketing, product creation, branding, and meeting. Evelyn’s mum helps out by instructing spoken English and presentation methods.
“We now have not acquired many candidates and wish to encourage youth between the ages of 18 and 25 to use by our e mail, web site, Fb, or Instagram,” Evelyn shared in regards to the free six-month coaching programme.
The tradition of farmsteads
Working a farmstead, in response to Evelyn, is the age-old artwork of dwelling on a homestead (a household farm), and operating it as a enterprise.
“At Qultivation, we’re operating a farmstead with twenty-first-century know-how and practices,” she mentioned. One such follow is sustainability.
Qultivation makes use of natural and environmentally pleasant strategies to develop its produce. This entails recycling outdated vegetation, weeds, and cuttings into compost. Sawdust from used mushroom develop luggage can also be used as mulch.
“We implement zero waste practices into our on a regular basis work ethic,” Evelyn additional added. “One of the best of our contemporary edible flowers are despatched out to purchasers, and any extra flowers are dehydrated and became dried flowers, dried flower confetti, flower teas, and flower powders.”
These dehydrated flowers are both offered or utilized in Qultivation’s personal artisanal pantry. Examples of such merchandise are vegan cream cheese and butter.
Much less-than-perfect flowers are additionally used to make syrups and vinegars. Briefly, nothing goes to waste.
Moreover, Qultivation additionally primarily grows tropical lowland flowers which can be native to Malaysia’s climate and soil.
“We don’t elevate cows or goats on our farmstead, however as an alternative we develop medicinal and gourmand meat substitute mushrooms in our farmstead lab, and herbs and edible flowers on the land,” Evelyn mentioned. “We produce plant-based meals for our wants and promote sufficient of our merchandise to run a profitable enterprise.”
A flowery path
With the tradition of social media, the presentation of meals has develop into extra essential than ever, so it appears to make sense for edible flowers to be extra well-liked than ever.
Nevertheless, Evelyn believes the pattern with edible flowers isn’t nearly aesthetics, however has to do with the transfer towards all the things pure.
“After which, there’s the impact flowers have,” Evelyn added. “On the whole, flowers make individuals completely satisfied. Color and wonder stimulate the thoughts and play a giant half in contributing to general well being and psychological wellness.”
Down the highway, Evelyn hopes to develop Qultivation to incorporate one other farm. She additionally goals to extend the model’s pantry vary.
In the long term, she needs to begin exporting the flowers and pantry items too.
“I actually thought it will take so much longer to get the place we’re proper now,” Evelyn mirrored. “It has solely been a 12 months however issues have moved ahead shortly and effortlessly.”
“It is perhaps as a result of lockdowns being lifted and everybody attempting to make up for misplaced time. I’m nevertheless loving being in the correct place on the proper time.”
- Study extra about Qultivation right here.
- Learn different articles we’ve written about Malaysian startups right here.
Featured Picture Credit score: Qultivation