Happiness in a cup
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.