Eat your fruits, veggies… & flowers? There’s extra to this M’sian startup than meets the attention.

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 stated to Vulcan Submit.

Earlier than she acquired to that time, Evelyn first grew to become a flight attendant. This took her to stunning locations around the globe however had nothing to do with farming.

In actual fact, she was supposed to remain out of the solar to maintain her pores and skin truthful and freed from freckles.

Picture Credit score: Qultivation

Like many others, although, the pandemic proved to be a catalyst for her desires.  

“In the course of 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 trying to collaborate with and curate growers in addition to artisanal makers who complemented their vary.

So, Evelyn determined to start out 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 on your dishes, simply do not forget that not all flowers are fit for human consumption. Some widespread edible flowers embrace chrysanthemums, violets, sunflowers, roses, and lots of extra.

In line with Evelyn, although, edible flowers should even be grown with natural strategies in order that there are not any issues with chemical contamination.

Have you ever ever heard the saying “eat the rainbow” relating to a nutritious diet? Nicely, it’s a factor, and it refers to consuming a vibrant number of fruits and veggies… and perhaps flowers?

“In terms 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 recent mangoes, marigolds style citrusy, and snapdragons, peppery.”

Picture Credit score: Qultivation

Edible flowers aren’t only for fancy positive or premium eating dishes. In line with Evelyn, you may 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 yr 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 must be refrigerated and stored in an hermetic container for longevity,” she stated.

With this in thoughts, the edible flowers at Qultivation are harvested every 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 prospects are companies, starting from cafes to natural grocery shops.

Cultivating younger farmers

At Qultivation, it’s not simply flowers which are being grown, however abilities too.

The farmstead runs a Qultivation Social Enterprise Program that gives abilities coaching and help for deprived youths. This consists of those that might have dropped out of society attributable to a scarcity of schooling or employment.

Picture Credit score: Qultivation

This system focuses on abilities coaching in sustainable, moral farming and all its downstream services.

“Upon the completion of this programme, graduates are inspired and supported to seek out jobs with their new talent 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.

Aside 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 educating spoken English and presentation methods.

Picture Credit score: Qultivation

“We’ve got not acquired many candidates and wish to encourage youth between the ages of 18 and 25 to use by way of 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 line with 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 stated. One such apply is sustainability.

Qultivation makes use of natural and environmentally pleasant strategies to develop its produce. This entails recycling previous crops, 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 recent edible flowers are despatched out to purchasers, and any extra flowers are dehydrated and become dried flowers, dried flower confetti, flower teas, and flower powders.”

Picture Credit score: Qultivation

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 are native to Malaysia’s climate and soil.

“We don’t increase cows or goats on our farmstead, however as a substitute we develop medicinal and connoisseur meat substitute mushrooms in our farmstead lab, and herbs and edible flowers on the land,” Evelyn stated. “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 turn out to be extra essential than ever, so it appears to make sense for edible flowers to be extra in style than ever.

Nonetheless, Evelyn believes the development with edible flowers isn’t nearly aesthetics, however has to do with the transfer towards every little thing pure.

Picture Credit score: Qultivation

“After which, there may be the impact flowers have,” Evelyn added. “Basically, flowers make individuals blissful. Color and wonder stimulate the thoughts and play a giant half in contributing to total well being and psychological wellness.”

Down the street, 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 start out exporting the flowers and pantry items too.

“I actually thought it might take so much longer to get the place we’re proper now,” Evelyn mirrored. “It has solely been a yr however issues have moved ahead rapidly and effortlessly.”

“It is perhaps because of the lockdowns being lifted and everybody attempting to make up for misplaced time. I’m nevertheless loving being in the suitable place on the proper time.”

  • Be taught extra about Qultivation right here.
  • Learn different articles we’ve written about Malaysian startups right here.

Featured Picture Credit score: Qultivation

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