Fresh, sweet sap of joy


  • Focus
  • Monday, 05 Feb 2018

WHILE searching for the freshest and finest toddy, a man ended up buying a coconut plantation with about 100 trees to ensure that he has a constant supply.

Lawyer Paul Raj Samy Raj, 50, bought the 2.4ha land in Karangan, Kulim in Kedah, of which 0.4ha is used to plant coconut trees. He has workers to harvest the toddy, also called neera or palm nectar, from the trees daily.

He has dedicated himself to his toddy passion at his non-profit Divine Farm.

“I love to drink toddy, it's naturally refreshing besides being rich in Vitamin C and protein.

“But over the years, I found that the amount of good toddy being sold in the market has declined and when I wanted to have the best, I decided to buy a piece of land in 2015 so that I could harvest my own toddy.

“I have friends and family members coming here to spend time with me drinking toddy,” he said.

Toddy tapper Wong Boon Lim going up the palm tree to collect toddy at the Divine Farm in Karangan, Kedah. — Photos: GARY CHEN/The Star
Toddy tapper Wong Boon Lim going up the palm tree to collect toddy at the Divine Farm in Karangan, Kedah. — Photos: GARY CHEN/The Star

To ensure that the toddy is fresh, two tappers were hired to climb the coconut trees twice a day.

“We only collect from about 20 coconut trees each day as we do not stockpile our toddy to keep it as fresh as possible.’’

He said the toddy would drip out from the coconut tree's flower inflorescence (complete flower head of a plant including stems, stalks, bracts, and flowers) and collected in a claypot which is then collected by the tapper.

Paul Raj showing his farm where customers can taste toddy and dine at a cafe there. (Right) Wong pouring collected toddy into a pail using a strainer.
Paul Raj showing his farm where customers can taste toddy and dine at a cafe there. (Right) Wong pouring collected toddy into a pail using a strainer.

“Each tree is able to produce about 1.5 litres of toddy daily and once filtered, they are ready to be consumed,” said Paul Raj, adding that fresh toddy tastes sweet before it ferments and turns sour.

Streams of customers were seen visiting his farm located about 10km from Kulim town to taste toddy and dine at a cafe within.

Among them was retired company consultant Kenneth Steven Perkins, 64, from Paya Terubong, Penang, who visits the farm twice weekly.

“This place was recommended by friends and it is a privilege to drink here because we can choose the coconut tree for the toddy.

Toddy tapper Wong Boon Lim, 22 pouring the toddy at Divine Farm in Karangan , Kulim. Pix by Gary Chen/ 23 January 2018.
Toddy tapper Wong Boon Lim, 22 pouring the toddy at Divine Farm in Karangan , Kulim. Pix by Gary Chen/ 23 January 2018.

“The toddy is collected from the chosen coconut tree and served almost immediately. This is as fresh as it can get,” he said.

The toddy in the farm is sold at RM2.50 per cup or RM7.50 for a 1.5 litre bottle, and proceeds of the sale is used to maintain the farm and pay the workers.

Besides toddy, the farm also serves meals such as banana leaf rice with a variety of curry dishes to choose from.

The farm is open daily and reservations can be made by calling Wilson (016-4780810) or Vinod (010-4546121).

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