- Written by Silvia Mwendia for Kenya kidz
Tucked away in the village of Ngecha, Kiambu County lies a unique farm land that mixes the countryside way of life with a modern twist offering Kenyan families a lovely getaway from the city.
Mlango Farm, a twenty acre piece was born out of the idea to provide fresh produce to people's kitchens.
“We started farming very small scale wih one big field of cabbages but that didn't give our clients, who initially were a small group of friends, much variety especially because we were selling straight into their kitchens,” said Els who runs the farm.
Set up seven years ago, Mlango Farm has grown to cover ten acres of land catering to around 85 customers with fresh, organic vegetables.
For Sh800 per week one can have a range of vegetables delivered to them.
“We are currently growing about 30 different types of vegetables. Some of these are cauliflower, courgette, celery among many others” remarked Els.
Twice a year, Mlango Farm holds an open day for their customers and any potential customers giving them a chance to savour what the farmstead has to offer.
On this sunny Saturday afternoon, the day begins with refreshments to cool off.
Homemade brownies, freshly squeezed juice and a mouth-watering fruit salad. These are just some of the tasty treats that meet guests arriving for the open day.
The garden is awash with three to ten year olds running around the well manicured lawns.
Filled with vintage cars and a playing apparatus, the children will not be bored at Mlango Farm.
“We saw it would be nice to put in a slide for the children to play,” remarked Els.
The cars however have a different story to tell.
“When we started out, I actually used to use one of the cars to deliver the produce to Nairobi,” said Els pointing to one of the cars parked on lawn.
“They weren't all ours though, others we just came across like this one we heard was abandoned in town so we decided to bring it here, “she added.
The end of the tea break sees the clients taken on a tour of the farm. The breathtaking view and beautiful scenery that meets one at the top of the hill overlooking the farm is just one of the reasons families should visit this Ngecha-based farm.
“All of this was just bush when we started out but little by little we were able to clear it until we had what you can see today,” explains Els to the crowd of the farm's origins.
Mlango Farm not only supplies fresh organic vegetables to families in Nairobi but also to around seven restaurants in the capital city such as Artcaffe and Windsor.
If one is interested in receiving vegetables from the farm on a weekly basis all they have to do is send an email.
“Once they send an email I can send them the necessary information of what is available that week,” said Els.
The vegetables are deliverd weekly to Nairobi and can be collected at the following pick-up points: Runda, Gigiri,Kitusuru, Lavington, Muthaiga, Rhapta Road.
Besides the fresh produce, the idea that one can picnic or enjoy a lunch in the cool, crisp ambiance of Ngecha endears many families to Mlango Farm.
The family day trip package includes a morning snack, farm tour, vegetable harvesting, lunch at the farmhouse and play time for the children.
All of this is at a cost of Sh1500 per adult while children below 12 years are charged Sh750 and those below three years do not pay. This package caters to a minimum of six people and maximum of thirty people.
Els is quick to emphasize that the family day trip can only be done on appointment.
“A few days in advance should be good so that we have time to prepare ourselves but of course the earlier you are the better chance you have of getting place,” she remarked.
After lunch, children can enjoy feeding the farm animals such as horses, a donkey, a cow, some chickens among many others.
“Quite a number of the animals we have gotten from our neighbours,” remarked Els pointing to a stable where some of the animals are kept.
Most of the animals were intended for a specific reason but are not being used in that way.
“The donkey was meant to help around the farm in carrying produce but once we saw how it was being mistreated we just decided to stop it,” said Els.
“I ride the horses sometimes and as for the cow we are looking for a female counterpart so that we can get more and even start milking them,” she added.
Els hope to go beyond family visits and incorporate a school visit program at Mlango Farm.“Today, quite a number of children do not know where their food comes from that is why we would like to start it,” said Els.
“Our idea is to have an educational city farm tour for the children in Nairobi whereby they have a chance to learn about farm life, the environment, nature all in a practical setting,” she added.
An hour after the tour and families do not seem to be in a hurry to leave the farm. Parents have eased into the atmosphere of farm life and are in deep chatter as children continue to enjoy themselves with the animals and on the lawns.
Judging by the smiles on the guests at Mlango Farm, the frequent laughter and screams of joy that pierce the air, it is clear that more Kenyan families should pay this hidden gem of Ngecha a visit.