Image Source: PNA

Benguet Serves 1.3 Tons of Fresh Vegetables in Giant Salad Event

Benguet Serves 1.3 Tons of Fresh Vegetables in Giant Salad Event

A total of 1.3 tons of assorted fresh vegetables were prepared and served on Thursday, July 13, to highlight the 34th year anniversary of the vegetable trading post in this town, where all agricultural produce from all parts of the Cordillera are brought and traded prior to transport to different markets nationwide.

In coming up with the giant vegetable salad, a total of 160 kilos of romaine lettuce, 160 kilos of carrots, 160 kilos cucumber, 150 kilos sugar beets, 180 kilos tomatoes, 150 kilos marble potato, 30 kilos alfalfa and broccoli and cauliflower prepared and shredded ready to be eaten on a giant container measuring 20×32 feet x 35 inches deep.

Jonathan Micua, SKD Academy La Trinidad Campus Director said there were a mix of 60 professional and student chefs from the culinary school who prepared the salad’s ingredients including three kinds of dressing.

Those who came to partake of the sumptuous fresh vegetables had a choice between mango salad dressing, strawberry salad dressing and the balsamic vinaigrette.

For the two fruit salad dressings, eight liters of orange juice, four liters of rice vinegar, two kilos of sugar, salt, pepper and five liters of freshly squeezed lime juice and 30 kilos of ripe mango for the mango dressing and 30 kilos of strawberries for the strawberry dressing.

He said the shredding started in the early morning to beat the 10 a.m. preparation at the giant serving dish. “We only have one hour to prepare everything at the venue because we had to start serving at 11a.m. to maintain the freshness of the dressings.”

He said a total of 2,000 visitors partook of the salad, each getting a full plate of fresh vegetables.

Nora Ganase, President of the League of Association at La Trinidad Trading Area who conceptualized and led her group in the preparation, said it was a joint effort of all the 14 associations at the trading area, composed of the packers, porters, farmers, buyers and even supporters.

“We want to emphasize the difference of the Cordillera produced vegetables from the imported ones to educate our consumers,” she said.

A locally produced carrot is crunchier, juicier and tastier compared to the dry imported ones.

She said they initially planned to set a Guinness record but opted to have a smaller version to be able to first prepare before they attempt to break the 20,100 kilograms record obtained by Russia in 2016. “The municipal government is passing an ordinance institutionalizing the annual conduct of the activity and we hope to vie for the biggest vegetable salad next year,” Ganase explained.

Mayor Romeo Salda expressed gratitude to the vegetable industry stakeholders in his town for coming up with the activity.

He reiterated the importance of government and private sector partnership to improve the town.

The Trading Post, the busiest district in Benguet’s capital town, was established in July 13, 1984 as a venue for bulk traders of highland agricultural products. Negotiation, trading, supply and demand statistics as well as packing happens in this area – the beginning of the process before the chopsuey or the salad reaches residents all over the country.

In 2001, the Baguio Association of Hotels and Inns (BAHAI) did the biggest toss salad event in Baguio City using 916.8 kilograms of fresh locally produced vegetables as an additional come on for tourists.

Today’s event– the giant vegetable salad event is the biggest so far in the entire country. It is hoped to make Benguet’s trademark of being the “Salad Bowl” of the country a reality as the province gears towards getting the world title in 2018. (Liza T. Agoot/PNA)