Pioneer in Healthy Lifestyle - The Beginning
It began with one man's pursuit of a passion that led to a visionary achievement. Having traveled the world and sampling a variety of unique recipes from many food establishments, bringing home these experiences and reinventing the recipes became a challenge for MR. ERNEST DE LEON ESCALER.
His favorite hobby of cooking and constant encouragement from friends and family led to a successful business, aptly called Gourmet Farms, Inc.
Beginning in 1987 from a remarkable bean that has produced one of the most popular soothing beverages on earth …. Gourmet began as a roaster of high quality COFFEE BEANS on a limited scale. Also producing herbal teas and organically grown exotic herbs and vegetables, Mr. Ernest Escaler’s passion flourished into a business that is the first of its kind in the Philippines.
Moving Forward & Expanding
Taking a different approach in addressing the growing demand for organic produce in the market Mr. Ernest Escaler opened a small café at the Farm where customers could enjoy freshly brewed coffee while waiting for their fresh harvest. The café not only attracted customers to the produce it also showcased what the farm had to offer.
What started as a few tables in the log cabin soon expanded to accommodate over 200 guests eager for the healthy and hearty recipes created by Mr. Ernest Escaler and his kitchen team.
A salad bar, embellished with an assortment of herbs, highlighted freshly packed farm produce such as leafy lettuce varieties, all-natural home made dressings and pre-packed salads, all introduced to a curious and adventurous market. Soon the simple menu grew to include, authentic Italian dishes and a variety of popular sandwiches.
This continuous growth gave birth to Gourmet's “Kitchen Exclusives” products enabling satisfied customers to bring to their homes Gourmet’s Café’s pioneer dishes, Dressings, sauces and spreads all bottled, using only the finest ingredients, natural oils, herbs and wine vinegar , sold at retail prices. Despite the competition, Gourmet is still one of the most productive organic farms in the country.
In the words of Mr. Ernest Escaler … “call it destiny.” In short …one man's journey paved with sheer determination and passion finally leading to a successful destination…the story of Gourmet Farms, Inc.
It all began with coffee…Gourmet Farms, Inc., started in 1987 as a roaster of high quality coffee beans and, on a limited scale, as a a producer of herbal teas and organically grown vegetables and exotic herbs. It did not take long for Gourmet Farms to build a small café right at the farm to serve as an outlet for its popular freshly brewed coffee and as a showcase for its “fresh produce”. Thereafter, by word of mouth, it enthusiastically drew urban dwellers seeking the farm- fresh, all natural, dining experience Gourmet’s Café not only promised but delivered as well.
Gourmet Farms, Inc. was incorporated in Dec. 1987 as a wholly owned subsidiary of ECI Trading Corp. (ECITC), which is the flagship of a group of companies of owned and operated by Mr. Ernest Escaler. ECITC became one of the top 1,000 corporations in the country. The vision for Gourmet Farms was to be part of ECI’s long term plan of developing into an asset- based vehicle which would provide a stable source of profit and continuous growth for the ECI Group. Gourmet Farms absorbed the coffee roasting operations of ECI trading and initiated an agricultural pilot project for salad vegetables on three parcels of land in Tagaytay City. During the last quarter of 1989, the commercial potential of organically grown salad vegetables became evident. Gourmet Farms acquired a two hectare farm site in Lalaan, Silang, Cavite. This was developed to produce organically grown salad, herbs and spices on a commercial scale. The farm then became fully operational by the second quarter of 1990.
Today, Gourmet Farms continues to deliver the freshest and finest Gourmet products right to their customers’ doorstep, which includes:
1. The finest quality of freshly roasted coffee beans
2. All natural, caffeine free herbal teas
3. Preservative free salad dressings, pasta sauces, spreads and dips
4. Organically grown salad vegetables, herbs and spices
Gourmet Farms, Inc. has proven to be one of the premier suppliers to leading supermarket, hotels and restaurants.
Today, GFI's coffee roasting and tea packaging facilities as well as its test kitchen operates in the midst of 11 hectares of lush farmland that is dominated by the windmill which brings water collected in its pond to irrigate the vegetable and herb plots.
A half hectare of landscaped gardens was carved out for "The Sanctuary," a favorite venue for spiritual or executive corporate retreats. Up to 20 people can sleep comfortably in the 10-room guesthouse that is fronted by a duck pond, and triangulates with a conference center for 30 people and a chapel for 50. Open-air pavilions and gazebos complete the complex structures that is otherwise surrounded by the park of lushly manicured flowering plants and trees.
A short walk away is The Dining Room, a white pillar less room perfect for indoor receptions, or the Al Fresco and Upper Gardens, perfect for outdoor receptions.
And what used to be the "old log cabin" is now a Country Store and coffee cafe - perfect for finding a perfect cup of coffee...as well as popular GFI products like its signature lettuce chips or variety of bottled salad dressings. A vast selection of salad greens, food snacks, fresh fruits, potted plants, baked goods and fine gifts for kitchen, home or garden are also offered.
Gourmet Farms uses an icon in its logo, and often the Bean and Leaf appears alone. For those who did not know, it depicts a Coffee Bean and a Basil Leaf, because Coffee is the product that kickstarted Gourmet Farms, and Basil has been its primary herbal produce since Day One.