Palawan firm makes farming sexy with healthy coconut products

Jeeves de Veyra

Posted at Jan 15 2022 10:52 AM | Updated as of Jan 16 2022 12:02 PM

Christian and Cecille Moeller at their Palawn farm. Handout
Christian and Cecille Moeller at their Palawn farm. Handout

Palawan-based Lionheart Farms has come up with a line of Cocoes products made with coconut flower, which are positioned as healthier alternatives to sugar and soy.

“Lionheart Farms was started with our fascination with the photosynthetic capabilities of the coconut palm. It’s incredibly efficient to convert energy in sunlight to sugar,” shared Christian Moeller, principal and co-founder of Lionheart Farms.

Moeller and his partners built the farm from the ground up, used the best material to increase the quality and quantity of their yield, and integrated the farming the processing to deliver their promise of soil-to-shelf products. Their best practices have trickled down to neighboring farms and have been helped make coconut farming a sustainable livelihood.

Christian with Indigenous Peoples leader Panlima Sumo. Handout
Christian with Indigenous Peoples leader Panlima Sumo. Handout

The 3,500-hectare farm has become a hub having scaled demand for coconut to share the benefits with small-scale coconut farmers in the Southern Palawan barangays of Quezon, Rizal, and Bataraza. 

Moeller cited their long-term partnership with local indigenous community and their Kabalikat partner farming program. The business model instills the entrepreneurship mindset among its participating farmers by compensating them based on their level of involvement. Some of the older farmers are content with having guaranteed income from Lionheart leasing their palms, while the younger farmers go as far as taking more active roles earning more than enough to support their families.

“We’ve seen the younger farmers earning enough to being able to support their families. It makes it sexy to be a farmer again for the next generation of farmers.,” Moeller explained.

Cocoes products. Jeeves de Veyra
Cocoes products. Jeeves de Veyra

Cocoes currently has four products out in the market. The first is coconut sugar that’s notably healthier than regular process sugar because of its low glycemic characteristics. 

Somewhat related are the Dark and Light Coconut Flower Syrups which are intended as a healthier substitute to high-fructose corn syrup.

The Dark Syrup is roughly similar to maple syrup and can be used in the same way -- as sweeteners for pancakes and waffles or added to full bodied drinks such as coffee. The Light Syrup has Asian bright citrusy notes similar to kalamansi and can be used in salad dressings or to sweeten fruit juices or tea instead of sugar.

The Coconut Aminos are probably the least known of the products. These are meant to replace soy sauce with the same sweet-salty-umami flavors, but with much less salt. High salt is associated with heart and liver conditions. Using aminos instead of soy sauce in Asian and Filipino dishes lessen the chance of heart attack and stroke.

Tapper with flower cutting.
Tapper with flower cutting.

Though the company is focusing on the export side of the business, Moeller hints of more products to come such as coco vinegar, healthy alternatives to seasoning, and flavored aminos coming next year.

Cocoes products are now available on Shopee and Lazada and will soon be available on selected supermarket shelves nationwide.