Keeping Up With Kranji

By Raffles Press

For most of the Year 5s, 3rd October 2019 only marked the end of their Promotional examinations, when all could finally run free with their friends to the nearest KTV or shopping mall to relax. For Raffles Press, however, this day had another cause for celebration: barely half an hour after the end of the Math paper, we piled into a bus, armed with mosquito repellent and sunblock, and set off for the Kranji countryside, ready for an afternoon at one with nature. We bring you through three of the farms we explored—quiet charm tucked away from the usual hustle and bustle of Singapore’s urban landscape.

Bollywood Veggies Organic Farm

Stepping into Bollywood Veggies was like stepping into a whole different world. The farm’s boisterous energy and playful personality—seeing that it was named Bollywood Veggies—is reflected in its rustic, colourful decor that doesn’t stop at the bright flags and painted signs at the entrance but exists in every inch of its 10 acres.

Poison Ivy, the quirky bistro in Bollywood Veggies, had a homely feel to it; framed posters and catchy slogans lined the walls, and the pandan leaves used for decoration gave the place a tropical, summery vibe.

Walls overflowing with character.
Good men smart women indeed.

There, we had a delightful lunch (with ingredients organically sourced from their very own farm!) that fuelled us with energy for the rest of the day—a little pick-me-up after the brutality of the promotional exams.

A selection of vegetables fresh from the Bollywood Veggies farm.

And then, it was time to get lost in paradise.

Hmm, I wonder where this path leads to?
Poisonous? Probably.
A scene straight out of a fairytale.
Insect Hotel 881. We have an important question for our insect travellers: how many stars?
Watch where you’re going. 
We’ll pretend we didn’t see this!

Kin Yan Agrotech Farm

Mr See, our guide for the day, enthusiastically gave us a mini-lecture on the farm’s different plants and their uses. He then led us on a farm tour, showing off its variety of produce, including mushrooms, wheatgrass, and aloe vera.
Housed vertically in a dimly-lit room, the farm grows a wide variety of mushrooms (such as the pictured golden spring mushrooms) in sawdust packages accompanied with corn compost. 
Growing to a height of 7 inches in 7 days, 300kg of wheatgrass can be harvested per day. Before the seeds are planted into the soil, they are first soaked in water harvested from a nearby pond to soften its shell, making it easier for the seedlings to sprout.
The farm’s freshly-grown pea sprouts (of which we each received a free box)! 
The animal outside the farm’s store that captured (almost) the entire CCA’s attention: a chicken that ostensibly looks like an alpaca with two legs. Maybe it is. We’ll never know.
A baby watermelon with a finger for scale. 
Sweet home aloe vera: a versatile plant that can be used not only in cooking but also in skincare and hair gelling (who would’ve thought).

Qian Hu Fish Farm

The final stop on our excursion was none other than the Qian Hu Fish Farm, the largest ornamental fish importer and exporter in Singapore.

The farm was quiet and almost deserted when we arrived, leaving us free to roam the area as we wished.
Much of the farm is devoted to the various fish on sale: massive tubs greeted us at the entrance, and some smaller, rarer (and more expensive—some were priced at upwards of a $100 per fish!) fish lived in small tanks in a dimly-lit section.
Yet another section of the farm housed other aquatic animals like shellfish, crabs, and terrapins. There’s a truly wide selection; from fighting fish to flowerhorns to even a stingray, there’s something for every fish-lover out there.

In addition to simply exploring the scores of fish for sale in the heart of the farm, we could also choose to either enjoy a fish spa ($10 for 30 minutes) or try out longkang fishing ($6 for 30 minutes).

Under the comfort of a gazebo, some chose to dip their toes—quite literally—into the unknown waters of the fish spa. The experience was nothing short of entertaining: “He sounds like he’s in labour,” someone commented as squeals bubbled in the background, the fish tickling said person’s feet.
Not too far away, some of us tried our hand at longkang fishing. At first glance, it seemed easy, but we were sorely mistaken; most of us struggled to entice even a single guppy into our nets.
More than once we saw fish struggle out of our nets onto the ground, to which we had to hurriedly carry it back to the safety of the pool (or our tanks, of course).

By the time it was over, most of us had gotten a sizeable number of fish. With the long bus journey ahead, many chose to ‘catch-and-release’ instead, while two decided to bring their new fishes home. Wrapped safely in an inflated plastic bag, the fishes were put in tanks and came with us aboard the bus.

The bus ride home was subdued, the excitement of the day (as well as the Math paper before) having well and truly tired us out. A sleepy silence settled within the bus as Kranji receded further and further from view behind us, and the sweet memories of an afternoon well-spent filled our dreams.

A video documenting our adventures.

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