Friday, December 31, 2010

Thankful For 2010....Looking Forward To 2011

These past days, I had been composing in my mind how to post for my year ending blog.  I  can just think of blessings.  Am sure I had my share of trials, but those are learning expeditions for future realizations.

For Sunshine Chicken, I can't ask for more.  Only on our 3rd year for the dressed chicken market, we got a lot of media mileage for 2010.  How many TV shows featured us?  At least six (6).  Mag Agri tayo featured us twice this year.  I have to look at their support and of course to Mr. Zac Sarian, Editor for Agriculture of Manila Bulletin, who is always documenting our moves in the pastured, free range chicken industry. Both of them had been covering our transition from colored to white.  The last segment we had in December 25 with Mag Agri tayo will be followed up soon by a TV shoot again next week.  That show got a lot of good reviews and feedback.  Mr. Sarian just wrote about us last week and will follow up in the January issues of Agriculture Magazine and Panorama.

As for our sales for dressed Sunshine Chicken?  Take it from the cue that we are always loading dayold chicks :)

Just as I was composing in my mind how to "Thank" 2010 and everyone...I got a call informing me that Bobby Inocencio passed away while vacationing in Dumaguete.  Bobby is the Father of Free Range Chicken industry in the Philippines.  He reintroduced and opened our eyes again to how chickens should be raised, not just for backyard, but for commercial too. Solraya Enterprises as that time was just into distributing of dayold chicks for Bobby's Teresa Farm.  I may not agree with his business styles, but after we stopped doing business, we maintained friendship.  Later on, when we started importing and selling chicks, roles were reversed and he bought our Sunshine chicks and sold them the the clients who trusted and just wanted to buy from Bobby :)  That is one thing that remained, and SASSO of France knows that...that triangle of work and respect remained between SASSO of France, Bobby of Teresa Farm and Solraya Enterprises.  I had to let France know right away about Bobby's passing away....even before I remembered to call Bobby's UP College barkada (we had common friends).

There will be no Sunshine Chicken if there was no Bobby Inocencio.  We have no unfinished business together and he knew we were friends even after the business deals were over.  Last contact was to greet each other for Christmas.

Thank you to all for the joys and blessings shared.  If we shared trials....that is it...just trials to see how we deal with all of these :)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Azolla

First we had a small microwaveable container with some Azolla, compliments of Edel.

We were so excited as we saw it multiply in a plastic pond.  Next we transferred to a small netted area in one of the ponds.  Oh boy, do they love the sun, the space and the indigenous microorganisms lurking around them.  You can't stop them from coughing themselves around...maybe by the second!
Azolla, as alternative feeds
We harvest a lot of Azolla to feed the three (3) batches of Sunshine Chicken we now have in the farm.  They are fed pails and pails of it daily....the pond just gets thicker with Azolla :)  You feel you have to harvest more to give more space to them to multiply.
All ages love Azolla, this batch was tested from almost day1 and the chicks were really excited every time it is offered to them
This batch is next in line for harvest.  While most opt to play outside, some prefer to wait for their meals in pen.
Very good as alternative feeds.  Now that we are so into natural farming, we threw some Azolla in our Pangasius and Tilapia ponds.  If only you can see the video, the ponds are in constant movement.  The fishes just love eating Azolla.  Now, can you understand why food on our tables taste good? :)
Now we need trolleys to transport the pails of Azolla to the different pens.  Cut down feeds, cut down manual labor...welcome problems to natural farming :)

We saw some floating in the water way on the road.  We had to get them even if we had a lot already.  Why?  We can't allow the farmer next to them spray it with herbicide!  It was a gift to us, so let us natural farmers take care of it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lessons Reiterated

Chickenful and lessons learned and re-echoed this weekend.

Saturday, Dec 18:

1) It was Doc Rey who was supposed to do the seminar on "Raising Pastured Chickens in the City" at Mercato Centrale, but after I was at the the newest weekend market for three (3) weekends now, the people there won't have the space nor the time to grow their own.  So, I was tasked to talk on the "Benefits of Eating Healthy Pastured Chicken".  Get to know your market.

2) As I was on the way to the talk tent, I saw Jhoey of Pinoy Organics speaking to a Chef who was going to do a cooking demo next day, Sunday.  As I went by them, I recognized Chef Rupert Carandang, son of one of my best friends Mary Massab (remember Miss Magnolia and Iskul Bukol?) and Nelson Carandang.  He said he was going to listen to me.   Support friends and family.

3) There was no space for the projector screen as we were going to make do
with the back of a used tarpaulin as screen.  Didn't work. The projector wasn't showing the images well as we were practically outdoors.  After Doc Rey said "the show must go on",  Jhoey of Pinoy Organics decided we do an interview type of presentation wherein she decided to ask me FAQs and I give the replies, addressed to the audience.  Worked perfect as FAQs are just it, the "frequently asked questions".  Be prepared for anything and make do with situations. 

4) After the talk, he decided he wanted to use Sunshine Chicken for his demo.  We  had good conversation about his preferences for cooking.  I later encouraged his parents to watch the demo.  Common denominators are set by friends and family.

5)  Right after Mercato Centrale, I hied of to catch up with a meeting.  Majority votes should be respected.

6) Christmas party....Important to walk up to new faces to make them feel welcome.

Sunday, Dec 19:

1) Chef Rupert asked me if I wanted to do selling and distribute my flyers during his cooking demo using Sunshine Chicken.  I said "Oh no"!  I didn't want to take away the moment from Chef Rupert.  Besides, the activity was a cooking demo and not product selling.  When you give something, there should be no expectations of returns. 

I appreciate the thought from Chef Rupert, but no thank you.

2) Chef Myke Sarthou was also a surprise cooking demonstrator too.  I am not normally there on Sundays so we weren't able to plan together.  He still managed to use my Liver Pate that he makes for Sunshine Chicken :)  Friends work great together.

3) The Mercato Centrale's comfortable surroundings are so conjusive to talking.  I went extra miles to learn more from others and needs to spread natural farming.  Plan through the eyes of others, as your needs have been met already and may not be applicable to the newbies :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Red Combs

 From afar, they look like Cherries topping Vanilla Ice Cream.  Hmmmmm, I shouldn't blog when I am craving for sweets :)

The red combs are a sign of good health.   Be conscious about them as it tells you if they are sick.

But what are combs for really?

Gamefowls who's combs had been cut off look smart and handsome.  Notice how gamefowls pant after a few flights shuffles?  Maybe you think they are like Manny Pacquiao who can withstand 12rounds.  Yes, they can because they are loaded with boosters :)  But take a look at the clean chicken who hasn't been subjected to boosters, they tire easily after their combs had been cut off.

Chickens don't perspire and the combs act as their radiator and cooling system.  That plays a good role during summer. 

Take Time for IFEX 2011

Calendar May 12-14 2011 for next year's IFEX Philippines.

This is one food trade show I really enjoy and look forward to.  Like last year, we will be exhibiting side by side with Alaminos Goat Farm in the retail area.

See you there.  Remember May 12-14.

Dec 18, at AANI St Vincent

Doc Rey will conduct a seminar on Raising Pastured Chickens, at 4pm at the AANI St Vincent Seminary, along Tandang Sora, QC.

If you are interested to learning from a technical person/farmer, you will enjoy his style of teaching.

Sand Bathing

We were busy documenting the new Sunshine Chicken, so we can spread the idea that we can all do it at a much cheaper way.

They displayed all the characteristics we though was absent in the whites. Of course it was absent because the commercial poultry technology doesn't allow them to live naturally.

I was so jumpy seeing them sand bathing!  We are editing the videos...it was captured well.  It was so vivid because they were white, you can see the clouds of dust fall on their bodies...black on white :)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

White Chickens Now Pastured

This must be the longest time I hadn't blogged!  I missed it so muchhhhhhhhhhhh.

Not that I wanted to take a break....no, I longed to be in touch.  Just that my old laptop acted up a lot.  Cried to be changed.  Not only that, my softwares said they have expired.  Whatever that meant, maybe I knew I just had to reinstall but I closed my eyes so I can buy a new toy :) So, I stuck to just browsing and FB for about 2weeks.  I deliberated as after getting his and hers IPads, I saw the beauty of  the bitten Apple.  Do I get a Mac?  That means having to learn and TRANSFER files aarrggghhhhh.

Meantime, I kept busy with planning our paths for 2011, and talking and meeting up with groups who can't believe that is was possible.

How can I blog now?  You guess it right!  I got myself a new toy.  Learned to save photos.....now the monumental thing to do is get my power point working.  Tried but failed transfer.  Will try after I get more confidence with her :)

Aside from so happy to be able to blog today...another pleasant gift today was THIS!

Mr. Zac Sarian had been with us since we started experimenting with pasturing the white broilers since we started in April.  Actually he already wrote teasers on them, not naming us...just saying his lady friend :)

Last week he said it was ripe to be introduced to the agriculture industry, although we had been harvesting the whites already and have actually gotten good reviews.  Clients haven't noticed the difference until we ask for feedback since we knew what batch of harvests were colored or white.  After finding in themselves the difference...if any...it was for the better as far as Filipino tastebuds were concerned.

Filipinos like their soups yellow, rounded body chickens, meaty but tender compared to the colored....we got that with the pastured whites.

Short Talk, Raising Chickens In The City

Timely that after I had been invited on the book launching for Flor Tarriela's natural gardening "The Secret Is In The Soil", Jhoey of Pinoy Organics asks us to do a short talk on "Raising Free Range Chicken In The City".

Actually, we can't free range, in the real sense of the word, in the city...but let me get to that on Saturday, December 18, 10am, at Mercato Centrale @ BGC. 

Mercato Centrale @ BGC is the newest organic market in Metro Manila.  Not just fresh produce, it is really a foodies' haven too...and in air conditioned comfort.

Yes, just short talk for city dwellers.  We will touch on basics on raising and the benefits of eating healthy :)  

The Secret Is In The Soil

Flor Tarriela had been excitedly talking about this book....a child's and beginner's guide to natural gardening...makes them graduate to natural farming :)

Delays were blessings, because it allowed her to create the team to bring out he book she really envisioned it to be.

I am not into socials, more when I go alone.  But Flor took time out to invite and I knew how excited she was with this project.  I had to go.  Went early to make sure I can position myself when there aren't many there yet.  

Glad I did, as everyone was pleasant.  Most were relatives and family friends and they made the others like me feel at ease.  Name tags were used and when some asked me what I did....surprise...some were customers of ours already for the Sunshine Chicken!

Relief, I saw common faces: Tere, Dante and Sec Alcala of the Department of Agriculture.

The star of the night though, was really the book. 
Today I had the luxury of time to go over it.  Really a nice read for a farmer and getting to review what is elementary.  You can't get there without going through the basics :)

A Naturella Farm Store has this available for pick up at our QC address at PHP300, or we may send to you by LBC for a total of PHP550.  This will be  nice present this Season.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Likasaka Manwal

2nd edition now.

The 1st edition is a staple in my bag.  I never realized how used my copy was until I saw the new 2nd edition, that was all clean and no creases.  Had my copy autographed by Tere and Dante who are both true blue natural farmers.

Perfect guide as you learn about natural farming.  The concoctions used to replace chemical fertilizers are well illustrated and easy to comprehend.

A must have for all advocates of natural farming.  A great gift too for farmer friends or for those who want to know the difference of farming clean food :)

PHP400 for pick up in Manila.  For an additional PHP250, we can send by LBC.  Email us at info@solraya.com for orders.

If we send by LBC:

1) Pay PHP650 thru BPI, Acct # 3535-8057-24
2) Notify us of date of payment, your name and address
3) We send thru courier

Friday, November 19, 2010

Go With The Flow

Just came back from Lucena to attend the 7th National Organic Agricultural Congress (NOAC).  Very successful and it was a great opportunity for the meeting of minds of organic and natural farmers. 

Many have opened their minds to pasturing white chickens.  There are problems with the over supply of white chicks now in the Philippines...so let's use that to our advantage!  Let's pasture and free range the whites.  It is cheaper and easy to find.  Big help to us smaller farmers.

Key words were echoed and served as discernment :)  

Brings us to going with the flow.  Recent Typhoon Juan had almost all our trees in the farm down.  It will take a lot of energy and time to prop them up again, with the risk of stressing their roots. We decided to let them be and let them lie as they are now.  Easier to to harvest and we won't be jumpy whenever a storm warning is up again.
Listen  and observe, to guide you to do what is right.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Centris Sunday Market

Starting November 7, Philippines for Natural Farming, Inc will have a booth to showcase natural farming from "how to" to marketing of produce and end products. PNFI is committed to spread the good deed of us farming back to basics and using the materials around us for sustainability. We are also aware that our members need a marketing arm to start them off.

Sunshine Chicken is one of the products that will be sold in the booth, together with other produce from our members' farms. Farm inputs, manuals, seeds etc will be made available for those interested to walk the talk with us.

Centris is at the corner of EDSA and Quezon Ave. Parking is convenient and next to the Centris train stop of MRT. The Sunday market will be at the parking lot beside the Centris Walk.

Centris Sunday Market, 6am-12pm. Look up Philippines for Natural Farming, Inc.

Come and meet us. Experience our passion up close and personal. Please support natural farming in the Philippines!

Join our yahoo group: natural farming in the Philippines.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Juan Batch

Remember the photos posted earlier, on the batch that was in the brooder during Typhoon Juan? The day after Juan, they were let to the open. A week after at 21days, they were transferred to the range housing.

Meet them now, at 28days. Most of them are out in the range and pasturing themselves:)
Might be your first time to see white chickens in clean, comfortable and airy cages?

Study The Area

Natural farming leads you to always be in the look out and to listen to alternative feeds that are abundant around.  Azolla was one that we can multiply fast in the farm and  is very good for feeding livestock, as well as an active ingredient for FPJ.

Sometime ago, we tried a batch that we got at Earthkeepers in Tiaong.  It either vanished or died and evaporated in thin air.  It was gone.  Got another batch, same thing!  People were talking about how easy it was to propagate it.   I must be so dumb about Azolla that I can kill what is supposed to be a "can't die".

I was so glad that one of the natural farmers in our group distributed containers of Azolla.....here goes again that line that "you can't kill it"....

1st batch again went to this holding area.  A small pond.  Same thing...vanished!  Hmmmmmm  I was starting to get embarassed that I don't just kill it...it can't be found.

Then I saw these group of Sunshines, coming from that "holding area" for Azolla.  They looked like campers happily walking out of the trail....Couldn't the Sunshines be the culprits and had been eating the Azolla even before they can take off and multiply?

Must be!
Oh so thankful that my friends decided to trust me again with a small container of Azolla. We decided to now use a contained area. Net it on top. Meaning, secured it much like brooding chicks :)

The ones who see it daily, reports that it hasn't died, but it was just doing OK and floating around.  At least it was still there.
But for me who saw the container after 2weeks.....HEY SUCCESS!
So it was the Sunshines after all :)  One thing is sure, they loved eating Azolla :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Healthy Signs Of Life

White molds on the ground...that is a sign that your land is healthy and good bacteria is growing and being fed well.  Don't be worried about them.  The good bacteria eat the bad.

What other signs are there in your farm that excites natural farmers...

Molds on the ground.  Birds and nests abound in our farm, both on treetops and ground level.  Signs of life everywhere.  Insects of all shapes and colors....
This spider was able to swing around fast!  By the time we saw him the next morning, his web was clinging to the branches  from different trees, on the ground now.

Strong winds shook the trees to show us the cobwebs :)

Don't take it for granted.  Observe the farms that uses chemicals heavily.....you will notice the difference of healthy life.

Brooding For A Storm

We all had a lot of warnings.  There was a lot of time to prepare way before the expected landfall of Megi, Typhoon Juan in the Philippines.

For pastured chicken farmers like you and I, what can we do?  Moreso when you have a batch brooding.

For now, we are brooding in the same range housing.  They were in shaded areas, but no good fencing around.  Doc Rey wanted an area that will have windbreakers, near the caretaker's house, accessible to water.  So he assessed what we had that may work for us:

1) In the garage, he saw unusued aluminum vans and the dismantled truck bed enclosures.  He asked that be brought to the spot he saw that had trees that will be good windbreakers.  Close to the house of the caretaker and the water pump.

2) Not just sitting them on the ground, he sort of had it buried a bit.  Dug canal around the cages and area, for drainage.

3) Found old roofing materials that was wrapped all around.  Why?  Don't forget the RATS!  They will surely want dry ground for themselves too :)  They can't climb the slippery surface.  

But can the chicks have good air circulation inside that cage?  There was a reason why they were retired to the garage.  These pieces of roofing material had holes on them already. Perfect for air inlets.  The wire mesh all around the cage was guarantee enough that fresh air circulates and bad air escapes.

Others were set on top as roofs. They were tied to the cages.

4) Trucks' tarpaulins were set on top of the roof.  Remember those yeros were butas already :)  Roofweights were needed.  Got old tires and the stacked chicken crates that were near the water pump for washing.

It was very good!  Did what it was supposed to do, as planned, from materials that were to be found around you.

The trees all around fell and didn't withstand the strong winds of Juan, but it did to the cage its purpose.  It protected the brooder from the rage of the typhoon.  The brooding Sunshines were very healthy and energetic when the cage was opened after the storm!

We had several of the cages set up.  You don't want them to pile up one on top of the other when they get afraid and cold.  Stampedes are less likely in smaller spaces.

Let's take a closer look inside.  Aside from the gas brooder that was good for 1000 birds, there was another standby brooder for the same capacity.  If you will notice, this area isn't for 1000 birds, so why have big capacity brooders being used?  You have to make sure they are warm.  It will be terribly cold out there during the storm and no such thing as over prepared. 

From the other side and behind:  The fallen tree was acting as shade before the storm came, as it was prepared a couple of days prior.  The large LPG tank, the source of energy for the gas brooder.....heavy stuff, can't be blown away.  Doc Rey still played safe.  He had charcoal heaters on standby.

We've learned over the years.  I hope you have taken some points from us too to guide you through.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Creatures Of Habit

After we opened the cage for the 14days to start ranging, we passed by this 49days range area.  

This batch is the one that holds my spot for my favorite Aratiles tree.  "My Spot" had fallen too from the ravage of Juan, together with almost 99% of our fruit trees.  As they went out to hunt for food today after the storm had left, in groups, they find their regular joints.

This group obviously loves Aratiles too.  They were just attracted and concentrated on the fruits they have enjoyed on the ground daily.  They must have not noticed that the source of those fruits are no longer standing there.  Nor that the Mango tree that used to give them shade while they scout for their fruits, are now at their eye level.
That was the side story....

I was trying to point out that they are willing and able to to take care of themselves!

Here Comes The Sun

 Touted as a super typhoon....we had days to prepare as information dissemination had been non-stop and with the availability of the internet, there is no reason to feign ignorance of the obvious comings.  Some newspaper was so safe and printing news that they cited several weather observation stations' predictions of Megi's route. 

It was said to be hitting the Northern tip of Cagayan.  I must have drank coffee that night and had been clicking "refresh" on my browser so often.  I know that just before I slept, I saw the path switch downward....or maybe dreaming?

Not to be too alarmed about our Sunshines....our buildings are strong, so I wasn't worried about housing going down.  This is the design we are now using for the ranges.  It withstood the strong winds :)  The Sunshines they housed were not a bit affected.

Electricity wasn't an issue too...there are alternative sources of heat like your charcoal etc.

We were brooding a batch and will be close to 2weeks when the storm passes us.  That was what Doc Rey secured.  How he secured the brooding calls for another post :)...so I won't show you yet the photos of brooder.  The photo below will be a good preview.

We hurried to the farm the day after....fallen trees all around.  The brooding area is surrounded by Banana trees....all down to the ground. That looks like a lot of FPJ in the next weeks.

The 14day old Sunshines still got out to their range on the appointed 14day outing!  They were excited to to go out, while we were appraising the damages to the farm.  The Sunshines took their walk with us among the fallen trees.

They ran to the door.  Took a peek and sighed that they saw their elder sisters on other pens, ranging.  "Everyone was OK"!

The day after Typhoon Megi (Juan to us in the Philippines):
The rage of Juan the previous day, was now forgotten....as they took their first steps and bites of grass.

The fallen trees became instant playground!  They loved to climb the branches and can't get enough of burying themselves in the trees on the ground.

Brooding is utmost.  The housing is very important.  If the chicks are secure in good brooding cage, have the right space and are warm, enough food...then they will be OK even during a storm.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Why You Don't Have To Get Chicks From Us

We have refocused and making it cheaper and easier for all to have  access to good tasting and healthy chicken meat.  You may grow your own food or get from farmers you know and trust.  Get to know your farmer.  Its all about farming :)

How did we make it cheaper and more accessible to grow clean meat?  We run trials and have gotten the results we wanted by using the white chicks that are used for commercial poultry raising.  

When given probiotics/fermented plant juices and pastured for the same time as its colored cousins, they have the same taste, and surely the healthy benefits are in how it was raised.

We are teaching you a concept.  We are selling you the idea of raising/eating well.  Food that you may grow yourself.  Food that you may entrust to farmers you really know.

If for some reason you can't find dayold chicks in your area, or you want the brand that we use, then we can cater them to you.  But again, the ,most ideal is get the chicks from your area.  The point was to make it cheaper and easy for all farmers.

Another plus side:  Easier to teach when we aren't selling anything to you :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Listen to Good Job, Philippines!


Maggie knows me for the pastured Sunshine Chickens, but of course I will also talk about my current passion that evolved from our raising Sunshines....which is, natural farming :)

Wherever you are that day or night, I hope you can join us on Saturday, October 23, 10am, Manila time :)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

At 42days, Still Kids

As I was having a good time and exercising from bending to take the photos.....this cute thing ran, trying to avoid me....just like a tyke who knowingly did something naughty.

See his dirty feet? You suspect he was into something :)
He is still a kid at 42days, even if he weighs 1.5kgs. Now you won't be surprised why the commercial supermarket chickens are tastless. They were barely out of their nurseries when harvested at about 30days :(

Contented Chickens

Have you ever seen your chickens this way?  You have always pictured your chickens in cramped cages and dirty looking with sad faces :(

Here now:

Morning sun...cool shade....all the food you want, buffet style....fruits galore....lounging chair (yes, it is an instinct for all chickens to perch, so pity the caged ones)....fish pond around...

We are almost describing ourselves on the beach!
Its not about colored or white. It is all about being caged or pastured :)....End result: Healthy and Tasty!

Water Lily

During the El Nino, when the ponds in the farm dried up, the Water Lily was still abundant and we saw that the chickens went down to play....or so we thought.  After a closer look (I have posted a thread on this previously), the Sunshines eat the Water Lily! 

We searched in it and read that it is edible and had medicinal properties.  We had tons of Water Lily and cleaning up the ponds had been a problem!
So to make it easier for the free ranging chickens, the farm help brings up some for the white Sunshines, since they thought that they were "special" and might not know what they are to do.  We all took it that they didn't know how to eat.  We forgot about "instinct" to get what is good for oneself :)
Convinced that it was indeed good for the chickens, we tried using it for FPJ.  This will be a great answer to our clean up of the ponds all around the farm, at the same time giving good nutrients to the pastured chickens.

Too much to clean up and it thickens faster than we can manually chop chop.
To ease up work, a shredder/chopper will be the answer.  A great farm tool.  More on that on another posting.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Don't Throw It All Away

Can you make out what is laid in the basins for the Sunshines to eat?  And those dark liquid in their drinkers?

That is FPJ...if you had made your own fermented plant juice by now, then you will know how they look like :)  After you have harvested the FPJ, you will have a sludge.  

Don't throw it all away....feed them to your chickens, pigs and other farm animals. 

Sustainable....nothing is thrown away in natural farming.  Philippines for natural farming!

Cages are well ventilated, aired, a lot of sun...

My Spot

I have a favorite spot in the farm.  It past the holding area for the "to be harvested", after where Doc Rey decides to normally park.  If he brought a 4X4 then it means I am closer to my spot.  After the 1st housing is an Aratiles tree.  Very short walk from the parked truck, so this is my favorite place to reach out for my treasures of those reddish, sweet, juicy beads.

Surprise!  I now have white competitors.  Thank you that they can't reach up, they just contend themselves with what falls on the ground.

See how they love it!


6weeks old :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Mercato Centrale @ BGC

 Updated 25 October 2010

Mercato Centrale @ BGC starts on 21 November that is a Sunday. Thereafter, it goes on every Saturday and Sunday.

It is envisioned to be the market to go to.  Very comfortable setting and air conditioned.

Strategically located beside Serendra and Bonifacio High Street.
First it was at AGRILINK 2010, now our 2nd time to step out will be at the Mercato Centrale @ BGC.  Starting in November.  A Naturella Farm Store will be there every Saturday :)
 Read about it .  See you there!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Naturella Offers

As purveyors of what is best from natural farming practitioners, we are always on the look out for what is good and best at a given time.  Just like season changes and weather permits, there will be problems at source farms that may affect supplies' availability.

If you want something, please let us know and we will try best to bring it to you.  That will also be our opportunity to go further and farther :)  Please click "LIKE", and then leave a note at our FB page "A Naturella Farm Store" or drop us an email: info@solraya.com.  

DELIVERIES FOR A MINIMUM OF PHP1000.  WHAT WE HAVE NOW as of 22 February 2011.
For orders pls call/text (0917) 847-2639.
If you call/text in advance, you may pick up at 19 Lipa Rd, Philam Homes QC for no minimum orders.

FOOD
1) Sunshine Chicken (no antibiotics, no hormones, pastured chickens)
Dressed chickens PHP200/kg
Pure Liver Pate PHP300/tub
2) Pork from naturally farmed pigs.  PHP200/kg
3) Fresh Sweet Tuba (Coconut Nectar) PHP60/bottle


FARM INPUTS/SUPPLIES
1) Shredder/Chopper PHP45,000
2) Fermented Concoctions PHP100
3) Likasaka Manwal great book on the principles of natural farming.  PHP400
4) The Secret Is In The Soil beginner's guide to natural gardening. PHP300

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Signs

The fairy is there.  Simple lines and self explanatory sign.  The look is whimsical?  Must be too much Facebook ads I see :)  

From now on, this will be the name we will be marketing.  Sunshine Chicken will be one of the products it will carry.

First stop:  AGRILINK 2010, World Trade Center.  Oct 7-9

Nice weekend market had been booked. Will post details.

Join us and LIKE "A Naturella Farm Store" in Facebook!

Naturella Steps

What was just a name last week has now developed naturally and will take first steps during AGRILINK 2010.

Natural farming and marketing takes the focus of our lives now.  Everything is falling into place as timing that the loyal clientele that Sunshine Chicken has developed, are also asking for other products that they know will be sourced dutifully for them.

Now A Naturella Farm Store will act as purveyors of  products from natural or organic farms.  You may pick-up from us or avail of our delivery service. Selected trade shows and weekend markets are being calendared.

IMO

In natural farming, Indigenous Micro Organism: IMO, is most important.  It multiplies bacteria fast.  That is, good bacteria :)  It balances the ecology of the bacteria needed to hasten the decomposition of organic matter in the soil.  It helps in feeding the soil to nurture back to life.  Good bacteria kills bad bacteria.  IMO is a community of friendly and good bacteria.

Doc Rey always repeats his anecdote that in school, they were taught to fight and kill the bad bacteria.  The good bacteria wasn't emphasized as having the qualities to go against the bad.  In using chemicals to kill the bad, we also kill the good :(

We wanted to rest this piece of land for some time, to rejuvenate and prepared for natural farming.  IMO was applied at intervals...you will know it has recovered when you see molds in your soil.  That is a sign that your soil is healthy, good and alive!  Bugs and insects are all around.  Spiders and their webs are welcome sightings.

How to make your IMO:

1) Place 1kg of cooked rice in a container.  We use a plastic one, those rectangular food keepers with covers, the size of a bond paper.  Cover.  

2) Set the plastic container in a cool dry place in an area where there are a lot of trees.  The idea of placing it in the outdoors, it attracts the good bacteria in the soil, that we mean to give back to the soil.

3) After 3days, check on it.  It will have developed molds on top of the rice.  White to yellowish is acceptable.  If your molds are predominantly black, get rid of it and start all over again.

4) Place the rice with the molds in a plastic pail and add 1kg molasses.

5) Cover the plastic pail with manila paper and secure by tying around the paper.  

6) Set the container in a cool dry place.  

7) Harvest the dark brown, mudlike liquid on the 7th day.

This harvested IMO is sprayed everywhere...fields, nooks and crannies, animal cages.  Soak feeders and waterers in this solution after washing, then let the supplies dry under the sun.

To use: 2Tablespoons per 1lt of water.  Easier to think in terms of backpack sprayer in this case, use 1 can IMO, the size of sardine cans.

You will be so excited to see the changes.  It is almost like the soil smiling back at you.  And the white amags on the ground...they are meeting to gang up on the bad guys.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

A Naturella Farm Store

What does the name imply?  Any images brought forward?  Like it?

I think the readers of this blog will get the thought right away.  A natural farm produce and supply store.  Well, I HOPE it did get that message to the initiated!  If not, then how can I make the point to the unknowing market.

Been playing on my mind for a store brought by the spin off from Sunshine Chicken, our natural farming, safe food, our advocacy on chemical free farming.  Registered Organika a while back, but it wasn't really me.  Plus timing, and events didn't jive.  Still I knew I was going to do it.  Prepared our glass door chillers, designed the look in my mind...

Telenovelas...Cinderella, fairy godmothers, taray Cruellas, natural farming, always had the penchant for clean clear names (as a college student, I idolized THE BEER STORE name)...A Naturella Farm Store flashed! 

I know the look of my logo.  A Filipino Farmer Fairy Godmother! 

What do you think?

Saturday, October 02, 2010

How

Some comments in the industry is why Solraya is promoting the use of white broilers?  

Where did it say that "free ranged" chickens should and must be colored?  Did it say anywhere in the book that is should be sourced from France?

Take note that in the real sense of the term free ranged, it shouldn't have borders and no fences . Arghhhhhhhhhhhhh, give me a break from all the politicking.  So, notice how I have repositioned to "pastured chickens, naturally farmed".

We are not promoting white broilers.  What we are saying is that we refocused and problems made us open our blinds to other views.  White broilers will always be an easy supply for all.  We have companies who have Grand Parent Stocks (GPS) here.  They produce the Parent Stocks (PS), that in turn produce our broilers. 

Tests have given us the same results that we want for our Sunshine Chicken.  The taste, and healthy food on our plates.

Marketing has me hands on and face to face with my clients.  This was the niche market we had developed and have nurtured.  No one has asked me what color of chickens they were eating...it was always about "HOW IT WAS RAISED AND FED" :)

If you are into farming for commercial or to ensure good food on your table....look into using the white broilers.

Happy To Meat Me

Have you heard the story of the Poor Chickens?  Doc Rey always preempts his seminar proper with that anecdote, to give a background, stress a point and to make you understand why pastured chickens are happy.  

For pastured chickens, there is no cannibalism, no dirty nor tight cages.  Chickens enjoy the sun, sand bathing and space. They look very proud.

Happy chickens are more tasty and easily digestible :)  Maybe not because they were happy, but because they are healthy for us!

Watch out for further posts on how we can keep costs down and be able to give you safer chickens.

White Christmas

At four (4) weeks now, they will be seeing you in December :)
The recently held Poultry Show was very motivating.  People embraced the idea of "yes, the whites can be pastured".  Low cost, easy to find, safe chicken for all!

For us at Solraya, it isn't just an "idea" anymore.  It had been ran and tested several batches.  Harvested and taste tested at different intervals.  For our pastured chickens, we still go with a slow developing chicken.  Let it age and naturally farmed....it will give you great tasting and healthy chickens :)

We will be happy to explain them to you during AGRILINK 2010.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fermented Plant Juice (FPJ)

Often asked about probiotics.  If you read through the blog, you may use your search button, you will know why we use probiotics over antibiotics.  You can make you own.  We had been advocating natural farming and it entails making your own farm inputs.

We had been using FPJ for our chickens.  What is fermented plant juice?

Fermented plant juice (FPJ) is derived from mixing the young shoots of the plants with molasses and/or crude sugar and fermented in one (1) week.  FPJ is rich in micro and macro-nutrients.  The juice also contains rich microorganisms which give strength to plants and animals.  The shoots of plants are difficult to dissolve in water or any kind of oil but it can be done with a little amount of alcohol.  The process of fermenting the soft part of the plants with molasses/crude sugar and with the presence of microorganisms will result to a small percent of alcohol which is responsible in extracting the juice from the young parts of the plants.  The primary elements that FPJ can provide are nitrogen and some micro-nutrients like calcium, molybdenum, manganese, iron and carbon.

The part of the plants used for this fermentation is the shoot because it is this part that stores a high percentage of nutrients coming from the soil and from the atmosphere.  Moreover, plants used for FPJ are those that are fast growing such that, if you cut the shoot now, regeneration of a new part will take effect in a few hours.  We ourselves use:  Kamote, Squash, Kangkong, Alugbati, Banana, Bamboo.  You may use others with same characteristics and the ones readily available in your area.

The FPJ enhances growth and provides food for the indigenous microorganisms (IMO).  We add it to the drinking water of our chickens and spray it all around the farm on the seedlings, vegetable plots and fruit trees. 

How to make FPJ :)

1) Finely chop 2kgs of your available ingredients.  The 2kgs will be a combination of your gathered shoots of choice.

2) Mix with 1kg molasses or crude sugar.  We use molasses.

3) Place in a clay jar or plastic pail.  We use a plastic pail.  Put a rock on top of the chopped ingredients to weigh them down to make sure that they get soaked in sugar.

4) Next day, remove the rock (by now all ingredients are coated by molasses).  Cover your container with manila paper and tie a string around or have an elastic band around.

5) Set the container in a cool and dark or shaded place.  

6) On the 7th day, fermentation will be completed.  Harvest the liquid part and store in plastic bottles.  Set them in cool places.

7) Use 2T (tablespoons) per liter of water.  We use this for the Sunshine Chicken's drinking water.  This same concoction is used for spraying our vegetables and fruit trees.  No chemicals, no antibiotics :)

The leaves at the bottom of the pail, we feed to the chickens....they just love it!  Eating pickles!

BTW, great for humans too.  Gives me stamina for the day, while giving me a restful sleep at night.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Support & Trust

Thankful for friends in Agriculture who have stood by, believed and supported us through all these times.

Now that we are refocusing in using the white chickens for our endeavor, they have listened and took the steps with us.  They make us confident in going against norms and bringing  to all ,the benefits of economics and food :)

Others may belittle it, but we appreciate that friends spread the good work around and make it known to all...for others to be guided or to follow.

Philippines for natural farming!  Philippines may raise pastured chickens using the white broilers perceived only for commercial farming.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

From Farm To Market

At any given time, I have about four or five pairs of comfortable rubber boots.  They can be worn the whole day without taxing my legs.  It is worth it to invest in good pairs of shoes that will protect your feet and legs when going through farms and interesting finds in wet markets.  

Snakes, flood waters, thorny bushes, entangling vines etc...we have to be protected.  As in all cases, better to be defensive rather than offensive :)

Be comfortable.  The bonus is you can still look good when farming.

Green Daisy's Sunshine Chicken ala Hainanese Chicken

This post started it.  Daisy Langenegger of Green Daisy Organic Restaurant saw the recipe and just took the pointers and guide.  Daisy always uses the best and freshest ingredients that is available to her so following a recipe to the "T" is hardly done.

In one of the Philippines for Natural Farming Inc's working group's meeting, Daisy served her version of ala Hainanese Chicken.

It was really good!

Accompanying condiments and Chicken Rice

Monday, September 20, 2010

Poultry & Livestock Forum

WHAT: Poultry & Livestock Forum
WHERE: AANI Quezon Memorial Circle
WHEN: Every 3rd Sunday of the month, 1-5pm
WHO: Ben Rara and Doc Rey

This is not a seminar type, but a forum.  It will be focused on poultry and livestock sourcing, raising, marketing etc.  Open to the public and FREE. 

Color Blinded Or Harsh White Light?

When Mr Zac Sarian wrote a blind item about 2weeks ago in his Agripage column in Manila Bulletin, that brought a lot of interest on the Who and the Where the free ranging of the white broilers.

When I started blogging about our tests/experiments and now showed photos of the whites free ranging, we got so many calls and texts.  Some were asking, some were curious, but several calls and texts were to say that they have been doing it too!!!
The write ups and the blog made them to come out forward and speak up :)  We all were discussing that why wasn't it done before and spread?

Maybe the marketing of the veterinary companies wanted us blinded to the fact that the white broilers used by the industrial poultry industry, has to be reared using all those veterinary products.  Maybe the companies producing the colored chickens had hypnotized everyone to the fact that it was only the ones they produced that are able to free range.

Maybe the above paragraph is my imagination.  Maybe it was all of US who simply presumed, because we grew up with the white chickens raised caged and bombarded with chemicals.

We thought the better option was raising colored.  Now we have a better choice.  Raising the cheap and readily available white chicks, free ranged and natural farming methods.

Remember, the taste is in the age of the chicken.  Harvest at a later date than the industrials at 30days.  The safe and healthy chickens are in what we fed them and how we reared them.  

Combine both and now you get a good Sunshine!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Debutantes Stepping Out

We had several batches on trial runs for the white broilers for free ranging already, done, observed, harvested and eaten :) Starting with 100, 200 and 300 at a time. I was never around to see them step out for the first time as work took me most of time away from the farm.

We had all been blinded about the whites not being able to survive on the open range, but in our pursuit to give the farmers cheaper and safer food alternatives, there must be a way to have cheaper and more accessible free ranging chicks :) Thus the study on the whites. These chicks are readily available in most areas and pricing range dips to a level that will be very attractive to farmers.

Doc Rey here observing them while inside the brooder. He was ready to let them out now at 18days, just instructing for a manual count and weighing in before set out to range. 14days is what he practices now for brooding time. That will be a separate topic on the observations on brooding the whites for free range.
Average weights taken and head count done....the side doors were opened. See how happy they are? Doc Rey and I were discussing that you never see the industrial white chickens this way in their cramped coops. We thought that all they knew was eat, sleep and fight. Well I guess it is really on the environment. See how happy chickens are chickens naturally? Irregardless of their color :) Same characteristics when out on open areas.
Rats are the biggest problems, so Doc Rey instructs that a side of the metal walling of the brooder be lifted. That way, it will be easier for them to be herded back to safety after they go home at night. This is done as precaution because they are let out open at 14days.
Early evenings, once grouped inside, the metal sheet walling may be slid back to position so they will be safe from the Rats.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Healthy Gizzard Sisig


The gizzard is naturally crunchy so it gives the healthy sisig the needed crunch and different textures. No chicken meat, just pure gizzard. To make it creamy, we added chicken liver. This is one of our sought after products, the healthy gizzard sisig.

You may sizzle it in a hot plate, heat it up in a thick skillet to give it that brown and toasted look. Simply, it is OK to heat it up in the microwave.

Serving suggestions: over rice, wrapped in lettuce, topping in salad, using tortilla wraps, top crackers. Endless variations with your healthy and tasty food choices.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Holding Well

After several trial batches and taste tastes, the whites stood up well to the colored cousins.

The taste was really in a slow developing chicken. Harvest at a much later date and encourage slow growth and free ranging abilities, you get great tasting chicken. As for the health benefits? It is in how you raise and feed the chickens. No antibiotics, no hormones - translates to healthy chicken on our plates :)

From day1, they are given probiotics, fermented plant juices and fresh herbs. See the red siling labuyo?

When left out on their own, they enjoy the same things that their colored cousins do. Look at her run with glee to her treasure find of fallen Aratiles fruits. I will love them too for myself!

They also love playing around.

And rest. Notice that unlike when their white sisters are raised in captivity, they always seem sleepy? But when let out and free ranged, they are always alert. Even when resting, they prefer to sit by in their terrace.

The white chicks are far cheaper and easily accessible to all. There will be a favorite poultry supply store in the market, selling these. Just like the Sunshine Chicks, look for their properly printed chick boxes so you know you are getting premium grades of chicks.

Just for the record. We have type casted them for the caged and industrial chickens only. They may be free ranged :)

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Luxury Of Experimenting

Since start of 2010, I had been restless and knew I had to do something new or different. Marketing Sunshine, gone into healthy sausages, got the levels of the dressed chickens business to a comfortable level....what is next?

Have to go back to what was said about this 2010 in terms of Astrology, but I knew it drove me to make changes and movements. For one, I had learned to love the dressed chicken side. It wasn't part of the original enterprise, but it was part and parcel of marketing, to elevate consumers' awareness.

Been so quiet because I detached myself somewhat, to be able to see myself and where to go. I want to plant Camote! But I love my chickens too. Think of how you can do better to mankind. Think of how growing their own food will be more accessible and cheaper.

I had the luxury of time and effort. Can you guess what I did?

Look at where experiments may take you. This will help a lot of backyard farmers and people who will want to grow their own food. White broilers are readily available and cheaper.

It is in the raising!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

1st PINES


Philippine International Eco Show, running from today until 29 August at the SMX Convention Center.

This is the first time CITEM and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) put together this kind of show that is for goods and services that are ecology, green friendly. Interesting exhibit. Construction, food, packaging, machineries, solar panels etc. The seminars are eye openers and interesting mix of information. Glad I chose a booth right beside the Activity Area.

Good exposure for the market we are focusing on :)

You like our look? Using handmade paper, I have to thank my friend Gigi Gonzales for taking time to think, travel, carry, tape and cut up those rays for me! She also conceptualized our eco friendly packaging of bayongs and pulp paper.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Corded Or Free Ranged?

Can you tell by looking at the photo, if corded gamefowls are easier to tend to?

I know images flashed in your minds now. For me, I will say gamefowls. They are corded, no running around, they have small feeders, they have a tiny house that isn't cleaned etc.

But then, I have experienced having a lot of both birds. Before we got into free range chickens, we had gamefowls just for the sake of having. Much like living paintings to ogle at in the farm. When they are free ranging, the time and effort is almost the same as Sunshine Chicken. Except that you have higher nets to be maintained around them. But when they reach the stag age and they have to be corded...looks like it will be easier huh?

For the corded gamefowls, each of them have cords on their leg, that is pegged to the ground. They have their own teepees as shelters (very costly even if you make it yourself in concrete, nipa, wood etc). Each of them will have their own feeder and waterer. You clean up all those waterers and feederrs. Have another set being used while a set is being cleaned up. Periodically bathe each of the birds individually (not as simple as spraying them with water). Bend to scoop feeds into their individual feeders and put water.

Sounds simple..if you have a few. But when you have a lot...that is different. You need a lot of farm help! In a gamefowl farm we went to last week, the farthest my eyes went to had a teepee numbered "1845"! There were more. Imagine how many help the farm needs to feed 1900 birds individually?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Conversion

How do you convert from a gamefowl farm to natural farming?

1) Unlearn old practices :)

2) Let several areas rest and recuperate from all the chemicals it had been exposed to. Let the Sun do its work and allow it to bathe under the glorious Sun.

3) Bombard caretakers with info on natural farming, as they will have resistance in believing it after years of practice using antibiotics and chemicals.

4) Let caretakers attend a seminar, as brooding a hundred is different from brooding a thousand. More so, artificial brooding as far different than natural brooding.

5) Do with what you have and use present structures. Individual brooding pens may be enclosed as one. An elevated flooring may be used. Have several doors for easier cleaning, feeding etc. Don't destroy the concrete bases, as they may serve as vermi areas that will be rich from chicken manure.

Now if we have to add buildings, then the new structures will follow better designs.
6) The housing/brooding area may open up to the former cording areas, that will now be used as ranging areas. The teepees are natural shelters..or we may use the teepees as low walling for housing. You may also have low shelters with nipa or tarpaulin roofing with the trees as base. With all the trees around, you may tie the net around them for ranging area fences.
There will always be ways. No need to throw away things.