Naga winemaker promotes conservation of rare ‘lipoti’ fruit

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By KC Santos

NAGA CITY, CAMARINES SUR – Worried that this wild fruit will vanish without people appreciating its many health benefits is what encouraged winemaker Lorna Daud to establish her own tropical wines business.

Lorna established Yulaik Food Products in 2008. As a wine connoisseur, Lorna eventually got into producing by experimenting on mangoes as the base ingredient of her wines.

The recent typhoons dampened the harvest of her seven-hectare farm in Bicol, which was why, out a fond memory from her childhood, she started experimenting with a wild fruit called lipoti.

Lipoti is a berry-like fruit that is endemic in particularly in the Quezon Province where Lorna came from. She laments that many Bicolanos are not very fond of the fruit.

“There are also producers of lipoti here in Bicol but they call it baligang. Most people however are less appreciative of this kind of wild fruit because they don’t even know it exists,” Lorna says.

In the process of developing the lipoti wines, Lorna learned that it is becoming rarer and rarer because the vine is often rampantly harvested by illegal loggers and used for making furniture.

Although the local government of Naga apprehended some illegal loggers, Lorna says much is to be done to save the exotic fruit.

“For its nutritive value alone, it should be protected and introduced to a market which is open to the medicinal value of this kind of fruit,” Lorna says, who adds her business helps drive the small-scale economy driven by lipoti growers and pickers.

Compared to mangoes, lipoti wines take longer to ferment at 3 to 6 months. For Lorna, the minimal costs on sourcing and ensuring the freshness of the fruit makes it ideal while her mango farm in Bicol is still recovering from the damage caused by the recent typhoons.

Lorna, now in her late 50s, experiences all kinds of ailments brought by old age but she says her lipoti wines keep her going and she aims to share the same health benefits to the younger generation.

The phytochemicals in lipoti are said to be more efficient in washing away toxins than pineapple. The fruit is also said to be an effective remedy for diabetes and dysentery.

As a complementary product to the lipoti wines, Lorna has also recently introduced her banana and guyabano wines. She is also in the research phase of producing wines from passion fruit.

Tropical wine making is hard because not every kind of fruit can be processed into an alcoholic beverage but Lorna says she is willing to go to any length to help promote local fruits.

“Filipinos have very adventurous tastes when it comes to food and beverages. My role as a winemaker is to take advantage of that but still give them something they can genuinely benefit from,” Lorna says.

Yulaik Food Products was chosen by the Department of Agriculture as the Bicol Representative for the 15th Food and Drinks Asia 2011 and Food Franchising 2011 which is currently on-going at the World Trade Center in Pasay City until September 4.

Get more information about Yulaik Food Products.

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