Hap­pi­ness in a cup

Business World - - ARTS & LEISURE - By Su­san Claire Ag­bayani

MOZART and Bach can be heard through­out Real Fresh Dairy Farm, where around 200 head of Hol­stein- Sahi­wal cat­tle are ex­posed to high­brow cul­ture for their well-be­ing. The clas­si­cal mu­sic sup­pos­edly re­laxes the herd, im­prov­ing the qual­ity of milk pro­duced in the sprawl­ing 27-hectare farm nes­tled in the ver­dant rolling foothills of ma­jes­tic Mt. Mak­il­ing in Barangay Masaya, Bay, La­guna.

It is this milk, ex­pressed from the teats of con­certo-lov­ing cows im­ported from New Zealand (price tag per cow P140,000), that is used to make Car­men’s Best ice cream. “We take the busi­ness of ice cream-mak­ing se­ri­ously,” said Francisco “Paco” Magsaysay, pres­i­dent of Car­men’s Best.

MILK AND CHEESE

The ice cream brand is an off­shoot of the dairy farm es­tab­lished in 2007 by Mr. Magsaysay’s fa­ther, for­mer Sen­a­tor Ra­mon Magsaysay, Jr., and a num­ber of his fa­ther’s friends — all of them sea­soned busi­ness­men and re­tired ex­ec­u­tives. The mis­sion of Real Fresh Dairy Farms, Inc. (RFDFI) was to bring jobs to ru­ral ar­eas. To­day, the farm pro­vides liveli­hood for over 60 fam­i­lies from La­guna and ad­ja­cent prov­inces in South­ern Lu­zon.

The farm started with milk pre­pared the tra­di­tional way: “with all the nat­u­ral nu­tri­ents in­tact, like what our old folks used to drink and en­joy: unadul­ter­ated — with no preser­va­tives and harm­ful chem­i­cals added, a milk prod­uct we could truly say proudly Philip­pine- made,” as Mr. Magsaysay said. The cows, aside from be­ing en­ter­tained by Baroque mas­ters, are cared for by vet­eri­nar­i­ans from the nearby Univer­sity of the Philip­pines Los Baños. Fur­ther­more, their milk­ing is man­aged by women, be­cause, ex­plained Mr. Magsaysay, women, with their fem­i­nine touch, “best un­der­stand how dif­fi­cult the milk ex­trac­tion process is; they are gen­tler to the cows.” The pam­pered beasts are given no an­tibi­otics or growth hor­mones. Weekly, the dairy farm pro­duces roughly 7,000 liters of milk, which is mar­keted and sold un­der the name Holly’s Milk. Within three years of op­er­a­tion, the com­pany cornered a siz­able slice of the elu­sive lo­cal dairy mar­ket for­merly dom­i­nated by im­ported prod­ucts.

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