“Do you know how to choose a good jambu air?”
“Here, look at its fleshy back. It must be firm and make sure it is clean.”
A bubbly, Henry Goh, our guide at the Desaru Fruit Farm, with his cowboy hat grinned widely.
Several ikat of jambu air were hanging from a pole in the clean orchard. Pink and blue plastic wrappers hung colourfully on the treetops above us.
The silence was deafening, and surprisingly no mosquitoes!
“At the farm, we have good agricultural practices to ensure that our fruits are of the highest quality,” said Henry.
“Look at the farm’s clean surroundings; you see no fruits on the ground, right? We also have good drainage system and this is one reason why there are no mosquitoes here.”
“We clear away fruits fallen on the ground as it attracts fruit flies, and other insects,” he added.
Well maintained, Desaru Fruit Farm received the Malaysia Agriculture Horticulture and Agro tourism (MAHA) special awards in 2006 as the best agro tourism site in Malaysia.
Situated on 100 acres of land; planted with 10 species of plant and more than 100 varieties of tropical fruits, the farm receives tourists from all over the world.
We walked along and breathed in the fresh air of the farm to several more attractions; the ornamental Koi fish pond and fresh juices station.
“This is orange juice, freshly squeezed from our farm. This pinkish coloured drink is jambu air, and the other drink is guava,” said Henry, as we grabbed some drinks offered at the fresh juices station.
The cold drink certainly perked me up as the sweet and slightly sourish taste of the jambu air quenched my thirst.
To my left, I spied a huge fish pond with koi fish. We walked eagerly towards the pond as Henry threw fish feed towards the surface of the water.
“Thwack, thwack, thwack, Shish, shish….”
The sounds of the 1,888 red, white, orange and pink koi, splashing around scrambling for food were deafening.
Smiles burst among the group as we watched the koi swimming in frenzy. Some touched the koi as they came up for food. It was interesting to see the huge, fat fishes squirming for food and certainly brightened the quickly darkening sky.
We trundled along to the petting zoo, and squealed in delight as we saw goats and monkeys eyeing us suspiciously as we entered the small enclosure.
Goats are bred on the farm for the meat, and as an additional attraction. The application of effective micro-organisms (EM) eliminates foul odours by creating a good microbial balance in the farm. The dung is then processed into organic waste and lastly into organic compost, which helps to reduce fertilizer costs.
“Does anyone know the difference between a male or female tortoise? Here, look at this,” said Henry, pointing at two upturned tortoises.
“Which is which? Any guesses…? Anyone…?”
“The male tortoise has a slight groove underneath, so that when it is mating, it can stay on top of the female tortoise shell,” he added.
Saying this, Henry grabbed the male tortoise from his assistant, and put it on top of the female tortoise to show us.
We then left the petting zoo and proceeded towards the front entrance where we were greeted with an educational talk on bee keeping management.
We even tasted delicious raw honey, which as Henry claimed, is safe for diabetics. A short talk later, with no bees hurt (!) we feasted on durians, jackfruits, rambutans, oranges, jambu air and fresh fruit juices.
“Remember, to always eat fruits before eating your meal,” grinned Henry widely, as he offered us light refreshment of fruits fiesta.
Though we were exhausted, it was a delight to visit this unique fruit farm. We learned so much in just an hour’s visit; it was worth the walk around the farm.
Don’t forget to visit this exciting fruit farm!
To get to Desaru Fruit Farm head for Kota Tinggi. From Johor Bahru city centre use the Johor Bahru – Kota Tinggi trunk road (45 km). From Mersing town, use Mersing – Kota tinggi trunk road, from the North – South Expressway, exit at Pasir Gudang or Kulai interchange and from Kota Tinggi town it is another 39 km to Desaru Fruit Farm.
Another alternative is to use the air-conditioned ferry service, which is about 30 minutes from the Changi Ferry Terminal (Singapore) to Tanjung Belungkor, and another 30 minutes by land transfer to the farm.
Tourism Malaysia Johor, L3-26 Aras 3, Bangunan JOTIC, 2 Jalan Ayer Molek, Johor Bahru 80000, Johor. Telephone: +607-222 3590 / 3591 Fax: +607-223 5502
Alternatively, contact the farm:
No. 1 Hentian Penawar, Sg Cemaran, 81900, Desaru Kota Tinggi, Johor.
Telephone: +607 822 5886/ +607 822 3886 Fax: +607 822 4886