If you're over 50 and were a child victim of American television like me, then you may recall a sitcom called Green Acres.
The catchy theme song still rattles in my head - Green Acres is the place to be. Green Acres is for you and me ....
Penang has it's own Green Acres and it's the brainchild of two very talented people. Eric is a far cry from the bungling city slicker played by Eddie Albert, grudgingly trying to shovel cow shit in a 3 piece suit. While wife Kim couldn't be further from the flamboyant Zsa Zsa Gabor, with all her pretentious Park Avenue finery. They are both down to earth souls with an extraordinary knowledge of natural horticulture and a talent for communicating their ideas with people.
Green Acres is an organic fruit farm that has been pesticide free for generation. As Eric explained, it wasn't so much that the previous custodians were that environmentally conscious. It was more a case of them not having enough money to afford pesticides.
Fortunately it has afforded both Eric and Kim a great space for indulging their passion - growing fruit naturally without chemicals, giving back to nature as much as they take out and prospering fruit that isn't coated in poisons.
The role of Green Acres is not just to provide an organic alternative to all the commercially grown fruit but also to educate. They affirm that eating healthy food should be a priority. Too many people these days just accept the perfect looking Apple, the one with the luminous green skin, without thinking about how it was grown and what nasty chemicals were used.
As Eric says, if you can detect a slightly bitter after-taste when you're eating your fruit, then you are ingesting chemicals. Responsibly grown fruit should only be sweet.
The farm is located about 3 km East of the centre of Balik Pulau. It's set in a very beautiful area at the foot of the hills and offers a genuine escape from city life. The area is densely wooded and exceptionally quiet. The road in is quite narrow and not suited to larger vehicles but the average car should be ok.
I'll add some directions in the photo gallery at the bottom of this post. I'll also include the public transport option from George Town.
Green Acres offers package tours for 4 or more people. You get a guided tour of the orchard, where Eric explains how they fertilise with natural mulch and he also gives you interesting insights into the various fruits currently in season.
After the tour you will have the opportunity to sit and sample what ever fruits are available. If you happen to visit during Durian season, then you're in for a real treat. On our recent tour we sampled several varieties including Xiao Hong, D15, Old Tree & Kampong Durian. Unfortunately there was no Red Prawn, Black Thorn or Musang King available at that time. Guess we'll just have to go back again soon.
Apart from day tours, small groups can also arrange to stay in the fantastic, fully restored old kampong house on site. There's a wonderful natural swimming pool there as well.
Kim also specialises in Nutmeg products such as jams and drinks etc.
All in all, it's a great experience visiting Green Acres, whether it be for a two hour tour or staying overnight.
If you're interested in visiting Green Acres, then it's best to contact them directly to discuss your needs and what they can offer.
We brought a group of around 14 people to the farm a couple of years ago as part of a Malaysia tour. Almost all tour members agreed that Green Acres was one of the main tour highlights. I'm sure you'll enjoy visiting there too.
Contact Green Acres
Kim: +6 012 428 6368
Eric: +6 019 479 1190
Below is a Gallery of photos taken at Green Acres and afterwards in Balik Pulau for 'Famous Laksa'. Also directions on how to get to Green Acres. If you are coming by car, it is best to wait at the Dato Kong and call Kim. Eric will come down on the motorbike and you can follow him in.
If you are using Public Transport from George Town, then you will need to make prior arrangements with Kim to be picked up from the Balik Pulau Bus Station ( minimum 4 pax in a group ). Catch the 502 Bus from Komtar to Balik Pulau.