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Eating Right Off the Trees
Eating Right Off the Trees 05. October 2016
When Chang Teik Seng decided to go organic with his durian farm, he didn’t have a plan, nor did he know anyone who could guide him. All he had was fear: sparked by a visitor who shared with him the detrimental effects of using chemical pesticides and how his trees would die. He stopped farming the way he knew, and switched over to organic methods instead.

“So I tried, and I paid a huge price,” says Teik Seng. In the first seven years, his durians weren’t sweet. “It’s like someone who eats meats losing a lot of weight when he suddenly becomes a vegetarian,” he explains. To tide through those tough times, he sold his harvests at half price, and disguised their identities to manage customers’ expectations.

Going organic wasn’t the only bold decision he made. Most durian plantations also grow rambutan trees because the latter takes less than half the time to bear fruit. But Teik Seng had a problem with pests after he stopped using pesticides. It occurred to him, while standing under the hot sun one day, that maybe, his 100 rambutan trees shading the soil and trunk of the durian trees were the cause. So he chopped them all down. “If I chop only one, my wife would find out, and she wouldn’t allow me to deal with the rest!” He says in defence.

While Teik Seng’s wife did give him a piece of her mind, it turned out he was right. Not only did the pests leave, without the rambutan trees blocking the way, the durian trees grew lower branches and produced more fruits than ever before. Today, Teik Seng’s organic durians are more than just sweet. As the trees age, their fruit develop a nice bitter flavour, and a liquorlike aroma. If eaten within an hour after they fall off the trees, they even have a floral accent and a numbing sensation. This is why Teik Seng insists customers come by to taste them—his durians are not sold anywhere else but in his farm.

It is common amongst people of Balik Pulau to grow durians for their own consumption. Soo Goo Keh, who owns 5 acres of durian trees, even makes cakes and ice creams out of his harvests.
Trees that grow in close proximity to the rocks tend to produce durians that taste liquor-like.
Teik Seng has 200 trees in a hilly plot that spans 6.7 acres

H Directory

Bao Sheng Durian Farm

150 Mukim 2, Sungai Pinang, 11010 Balik Pulau
Tel: +6012 411 0600
Durian season starts 1 May.
Call to enquire about entry or day pass.

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