After a long, meandering drive into the Kranji countryside, we finally arrived at Bollywood Veggies.
As we stepped out into the fields of green under the scorching sun, our guide told us: The popular visiting time is around 8 am or after 4 pm on the weekends, when the sun is mild.
Mopping our already-sweating brow, we looked at the clock as it ticked lazily past 11 am. Time seems to slow down at this far-flung farm, and happily so.
Eat, play, walk, get up close with the earth that is bursting with life – lots to do and teach our kids here. Our toddler is raring to go.
**See our other story on farmer’s markets in Singapore. Bollywood is one of them.
The Gentle Warrior
MID-AUTUMN FEST: Atmospheric Parks to Enjoy Lantern Walks
NEW PRESCHOOL: Kids Get to Play Mini Golf and Go Bowling at this New Centre
BUILD YOUR LIBRARY: Recommended Books for Under 5s
But wait. First, a lady with a booming voice. “You’re with an online magazine, aren’t you?” she asked. “Which one is it? Are you taken care of? Is there a guide with you? Let me find someone.”
That’s Ivy Singh, a lion-hearted woman who owns all 10 acres of Bollywood Veggies with her husband Lim Ho Seng.
The 67-year-old queen of the manor (farm) who was born into a privileged landowning family calls herself the Gentle Warrior. She is bent on protecting the necessity of nature as part of Singaporeans’ lives.
“I have no children, but I grew up with a beautiful childhood, playing with my brothers and neighbours. Owning Bollywood Veggies, I’m re-living my childhood.”
And Ivy has headed the Kranji Countryside Association from 2005 to 2014. She believes that the rich have a duty to help the poor and unfortunate, and makes it a point to hire challenged and marginalised people.
“We have to teach our kids have got to go back to nature, be warriors like us. Be protectors of people and nature. We have to be grounded in nature.”
The Poison Ivy Bistro had begun to swarm with the lunch crowd. We encountered a number of baby strollers strewn along the entrance of the bistro.
Why are these strollers here? She demanded of one of her staff. Isn’t it evident that this is a thoroughfare? Put them elsewhere.
A sheer force of nature.
So goes our welcome to Bollywood Veggies, one of the iconic farms at Kranji countryside.
Bollywood Veggies Farm Tour
There are plenty of things to do at Bollywood Veggies Farm for families with young kids.
Arm yourself with the map of the farm tour – you can opt for the short 10-minute path or the longer 30-minute route. Clue: The map is shaped like a banana and you really shouldn’t start your tour without it.
There are plenty of edibles grown on the farm. Fruits, local vegetables, herbs, and more.
We love these trellis arches overhead, making shady green tunnels full of edibles like bittergourd vines and such.
The Kitchen Garden is filled with commonly-known veggies like long beans, corn, eggplant, chilli padi, and even peanuts.
We took the opportunity to remind our toddler that vegetables don’t grow on supermarket shelves. And that they actually grow from seed, in the soil.
You must, must, must try the bananas at Bollywood Veggies. The farm is Singapore’s largest producer of bananas, with more than 20 varieties.
Our guide offered us some. The taste is nothing like the bananas we’ve eaten before. With a creamy mouthfeel, a deep taste and heady aroma, these bananas would make you weep. They’re that good.
Lots to discover. At the Medicine Beauty Garden, herbs to keep you healthy and beautiful. At the Nature Pharmacy garden plot, herbs to soothe you of your ailments.
We love the irreverent signages here.
Don’t forget to keep hydrated. It’s a hot day.
This irrigation pond keeps the farm watered and healthy, with a pump system that transports the water all over the farm.
Bollywood Veggies also has production plots that grows food for sale, so this is a real working farm. Not just a walking tour for visitors and tourists.
Rest your feet at The Sanctuary, the quietest spot on the farm and home to the lotus lagoon.
The weather has been so hot recently, many of the lotus flowers have wilted. They’ll bounce back soon enough; nature always finds a way.
Poison Ivy Bistro
After working up an appetite, it’s time for lunch.
The air-conditioned Poison Ivy Bistro was a welcome refuge from the blistering heat that day.
After guzzling a few homemade iced lemongrass teas, we had the Warrior’s Favourites – a hearty platter of chicken curry, chicken wings, fried fish, tofu, mixed veggies, and oh, we loved the crunchy, fragrant moringa tempura!
A rustic, farm-fresh meal enjoyed at a leisurely pace makes the weekend a breezy escape from hectic city life.
Bolly Jolly Farmer’s market
Most weekends, there is a farmer market at the entrance of the farm, with people peddling artisanal produce and wares.
Homemade cookies, locally harvested honey, organic all-natural insect repellent and creams, and more.
Ivy told us that Bollywood does not charge a fee for vendors to set up stalls here – but the booth owners must exercise responsibility and turn up.
The farm caters for group activities with a minimum of 20 people, with fees starting from $11.
The guided farm tour is a 45-min affair that will cover extensive information about plants and crops.
Kids can also try a potting session, a hands-on activity where the fundamentals of potting a herb garden will be taught in a fun way.
For those up for a challenge, there’s Discovery Harvest which requires teamwork, speed and strategy. It’s a treasure hunt where teams are given a list of plants to harvest.
Who’s scared of this scarecrow? Nobody!
The friendly Bollywood Veggies scarecrow has a story. Join the Scarecrow Building Challenge to find out, where you can build a scarecrow from the natural materials provided.
The Culinary Challenge requires participants to hunt and forage for fresh ingredients to create a delightful meal.
If you’re interested in the history of food around the world, the Museum is worth a visit.
The Bhanchha (kitchen) is also available for group cooking activities.
Take a break from the concrete jungle and rest your feet (and your mind) at this farm. The kids can play basketball, roam around the green crops, and learn that life is more than the rat race.
Address: 100 Neo Tiew Road, Singapore 719026
Wednesday – Friday: 9.30 am – 6.30 pm
Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays: 8.00 am – 6.30 pm
Monday – Tuesday: Closed unless public holiday
Bistro closes at 6.30pm, so go for an early dinner.