The hotel where we stayed, Kusuma Agrowisata, has its own farm within the hotel area. Their farm is actually their main attraction… the hotel came later. It was more like an agrotourism venue with a hotel in it.
The room that we got was a motel style with gardens around us, instead of in a multi-story building, like a normal hotel. It wasn’t exactly a bungalow, but kinda like a terrace house (terrace room?). There were 4 rooms attached to each other, and we were on the last 2 rooms on the left.
The rooms were quite nice and spacey, but they were not new and shiny. There was a terrace area with huge seats, which was nice.
The whole place was on a hill, with the Front Office at the very top, the houses, bungalows and rooms further down, then, the restaurants, and then the farms all the way down. Our rooms faced down to the hill, which was very nice. But the view from the restaurant was to-die-for!
Anyway, this morning’s plan was to do some fruit-picking! So we walked down to the farm office and signed up. Kungkung and Popo didn’t want to go. Little Joe probably wouldn’t enjoy it much either, So, Jessi stayed at the hotel as well. So it was only the three of us who went fruit-picking.
As a whole, Kusuma Agrowisata had apples, oranges, guavas, dragon fruits, strawberry farms and hydrophonic vegetables within their farming areas. However, according to the farm’s office, today’s menu only had apples, oranges and guavas available.
Malang is well known for their apples, so I really wanted to see their apple orchard. Aina wanted to pick oranges. So we decided to do both.
We walked to the building for fruit picking which was a few meters from our villa. After paying for the tickets up front, we were introduced to our guide. Unfortunately, none of us could remember the nice man’s name by the time we wrote this entry.
Through the lobby of the main building, we walked down to the first orchard located right next to the building. The apple orchard was the first one for us to see. There was another guy waiting with a couple of wooden tables that had baskets of pre-picked apples. Opposite of the entrance were two giant cages filled with rabbits. We all went in to the orchard to take some photos for a few minutes, while our guide rummaged into the trees to pick different apples for us to try.
When we came back out, our guide started to explain the differences between the 3 species of apples that they grow there while his friend expertly peels the apples with a small knife to give us a taste. The first one was the Diva apple. The second one was the local Malang apple, and the third, a cross between the local and the Diva apples. And they do taste different!
Before long, Aina was busy feeding the apples to the rabbits. It turns out, after watching the bunnies scurry about because of the apples, we found that the two cages were actually linked in the inside by a little connection cave. So the bunnies can pass through.
Next, we headed towards the orange farm. Since the orange farm was located the farthest, we took a shuttle to get there. We passed through many more fields with apple trees, guava trees and dragon fruit trees (which looked like gigantic succulent!).
We finally arrived at the orange orchard. Our guide was very good at explaining the fact that you can not simply look at an orange and know how sweet it will taste. Two oranges may look almost exactly the same and if they came from different trees, they will taste very different from each other. He first pointed at a large green orange the size of a small grapefruit. I was skeptical when he said that that one was sweet but a little watery. It was huge and very green, afterall. He opened one up with his little knife and gave it to us for tasting. He was right.
We walked about and he picked some smaller orange colored ones. He told us, “these are called Valencia oranges, they are a little sour”. “But these…” he held another orange that looked exactly like the other one, “are VERY sweet”. “They’re imported Baby Joppa oranges”. So we tasted them both. He was right again. Aina liked the ones that were a little sour. Thalia liked the sweet ones. The Baby Joppa oranges were so sweet they almost tasted like honey.
Our guide told us that we could take three each. So we ran around the farm to pick the best oranges that each of us liked. Our guide confessed to us that his accuracy in being able to tell the difference between picked Valencia and picked Baby Joppa oranges was only 40% – they are so difficult to tell apart if you don’t see what tree they were coming from.
With a plastic bag full of oranges, the four of us walked in the hot sun towards a little hall near the orange farm. We were all tired of walking the farm by then, despite the cool mountain weather. We were given some cold juice to drink by our guide. Unfortunately he would not drink himself since he was fasting. And since it was time for Friday prayer, all the shuttle drivers were out doing their prayer. So there would be no shuttle for a while to take us back to the Farm Office.
After waiting a while for the little truck to pick us up, we gave up and decided to just walk back. Our guide gratiously walked us back to the building near our villa to make sure we didn’t get lost.
When we got back to our room, it was time to do the birthday surprise for Kungkung. Yes, today, the 8th of June, was his 73rd birthday!
Rewind the story a little to yesterday afternoon. Jessi and Thalia had been messaging each other about arranging a surprise birthday cake for Kungkung. At first, Jessi tried to ask the front office to find us a Martabak Manis, a very thick pancake-like sweet dish that is usually filled with ground peanuts, condensed milk and chocolate syrup –because Kungkung doesn’t really like cakes. But she got distracted during her quest because baby Joe was crying. So this morning she followed up again by calling the front office. Bad news, they couldn’t find it. It turned out that finding a small birthday cake (or anything that resembles one) in a small town like Batu, in the middle of the fasting month proved to be almost impossible. So when we got back to our villa, we continued our hunt for Kungkung’s birthday cake.
This time, we decided to split up. I tried my luck with the front office again, this time I thought an apple strudel might be more realistic. While Popo and Jessi walked around to the restaurant and tried to find some ice cream; that is, if cakes were impossible to get. Kungkung was left with baby Joe, while Thalia and Aina stayed in our room, a.k.a basecamp. No luck at the front office, the stores that sold apple strudels were all closed due to Ramadhan hours. Eventually, we got our cake. Popo managed to get someone at the gift shop beside the restaurant to pick up a small cake from a cake distributor (the cake shop was also closed) and bring it to our room.
The irony was, when the delivery guy came to our villa with the cake, Kungkung was the one who answered the door because we were all still walking back from our fruit-picking. Busted!
Nevertheless, Happy 73rd Birthday Kungkung!!!
For the rest of the trip, you can check out the entire stories at Batu 2018: Short Getaway with Family.