The Honest Crop’s Unripe Saba Crisps are A Healthy Alternative to Potato Chips and Taste Remarkably SavoryAugust 20, 2017
6 years ago, Joana Tan and a co-worker started reselling produce from small farmers to their officemates. It started out merely as a way for them to help the local farmers that they had met, working hard and earning much less than they need. Tan and her friend would drive all the way to Bulacan and Marikina to pick up fresh produce and bring them back to their small market (comprised of people they knew) in Makati.
After six months, they realized that the model they had was not sustainable and wanted to be able to help farmers on a larger scale. Her friend moved to Davao to start her own farm and farm-to-table restaurant, while Tan decided to begin The Honest Crop. “We decided to cook it for longer shelf life,” she explains. “And also provide healthier [snack] options at an affordable [price]. We love snacking . . . but mostly, [healthy options] are not affordable.”
Taro and Sweet Potato Chips are their main products—they are fried in coconut oil, then baked, to make them extra crisp and to reduce the oil. But their latest product (cooked the same way) that we can’t get enough of are their unsweetened Saba Banana Crisps. Unlike market banana chips that are glazed (which deceptively adds to the weight quoted on the packaging, Tan tells us) and can be overwhelmingly sweet, The Honest Crops’ version lets the bananas’ natural sweetness stand on its own. These unglazed chips are thick cut and allow for a chewier chip. They come in ripe, cut and fried when the bananas were ripe and thus tasting like the sweet chip one would expect of bananas, and green, from unripe bananas that gives a more potato-like, salty and savory flavor.
The Honest Crop is a passion project for Tan, who tells us that she still has a main job and does it on the side in line with her advocacy. “Our goal is to grow in volume and be able to sponsor a farm.” For now, while they are unable to do so with the brand still young and growing, Tan takes on the task of sales and marketing, while including others in the support-local movement. “We could cook it on our own [to cut costs], but we prefer to partner with a homemaker to support their livelihood—it gives us more challenges, but the concept is doing it together,” says Tan, who trained her partner-homemaker to make the chips while Tan herself focuses on marketing them.
At its core, The Honest Crop is about being a part of a supportive community. “We believe that each of us have our strengths, and we cannot do it alone. We partner with our producers, our customers [who support the products and post about our products]— everything we do, we need each other to do it.”
The Honest Crop
The Honest Crop is a local brand of sweet potato, taro and banana chips that aims to support local farmers.