Originally a travel and food journalist, Leisa Tyler and Ewout Kemner, a former Dutch physicist specializing in neutron scattering began the Weeds and More journey.
Appalled at the sheer volume of herbs and vegetables flown into Singapore from Europe and Australia, in 2011 they decided to try and grow European vegetables in the cool climes of Malaysia’s central highlands.
With the support of Fung Chee Siang, a Malaysian organic farmer and owner of Hatiku, Loh Like Peng, a Singaporean restauranteur and owner of the Unlisted Collection, and chefs Anthony Yeoh and Dave Pynt, the team spent 18 months in research and development; trialing varieties to see what would grow in Malaysia’s soil and through monsoons, logistics, packing, legalities and shipping.
Weeds & More now work with two farms, including Mr Fung’s Hatiku, producing around 60 herbs, fruit, vegetables, edible flowers and garnish products for restaurants and hotels in Singapore and Malaysia.
Fung Chee Siang’s property, Hatiku, is a quite respite from the industrial and often quite brutal farming in Cameron Highlands. Nestled into a natural amphitheatre and surrounded by thick jungle, which protect it from neighbouring farms, the property is fed by two natural springs, one which breeds vegetarian carp fish. Mr Fung is the most natural person we know- he lives and breathes an organic life (except when it comes to wine), and our moral compasswhen it comes to the woolly world of growing organics. Hatiku has organic certification from myOrganic.
Sunrise is a sprawling former hydroponic farm at Habu, on the road to the original Boh tea estate. Old friends of Mr Fung, the owners, Mr and Mrs Liew Kee Chong and their son John, were introduced to us several years ago when concerned about the volume of chemicals being sprayed around their two small grandchildren, who both live at the family home. They took to organics like ducks take to water. What started as a small patch of protected land for organics, has now stretched to the whole property. Happy go lucky and ridiculously hard workers, they are the sunshine of our lives. Sunrise is currently undergoing a three-year audit by myOrganic for organic certification.