Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy 2010!

We have so much to thank for in 2009 :) A lot of work and new ideas kept us busy. Not that we want 2009 to end, but more of lets go ahead with 2010!

Promising days ahead for all of us.

What Are You Doing Today?

Last day for 2009. By midnight this morning, we were still at the hatchery. There was no vacation from orders, besides, what we load now are for January orders already.

Friends sent me inputs about names for my sausages.

Was at the embroiderer this morning, to check if uniforms can be done. Mass and dinner later.


I just asked about today...

Let tomorrow be tomorrow. Take a break :)

A supplier asked me the other day when my next order is...I replied "take a sandy break".

Monday, December 28, 2009

So Sage, Sausage

So sensible, so wise.

It was a perfect time to bring out the sausage platters that we had developed from the Sunshine Chickens.

Why so? We were in the company of family and friends.

1st stop: In Santiago City, Isabela. Family on Doc Rey's side had the usual Christmas party. Served on the drinking table for pulutan. I didn't think it will be rated well and delicious as we centered on taste buds of the Metro folks. The men liked it.

Next stop: Last night's Cheese and Wine with my forever friends from Maryknoll high school yet. For a cross section, we invited my mother's best friend in her 70s, and Mr. Zac Sarian of Agriculture Magazine. It rated very well with Tita Pilar and Zac. I gifted Father Mon, our parish priest, some sauasages and fresh eggs last week, and Tita Pilar said that Father Mon raved about it infront of other parishioners.

My 20yr old son, Rocky, also joined the group. He is a health buff and watches his diet so well. His likes was taken into consideration when we developed this.

My friends...oh they will always be critical to a fault...but its always for the good of everyone :) They all said it was great, but lacking in blah blah black sheep hahahhahha. But, no negative reactions...,.,which means it was so good already, knowing them!

I was prepared with my camera, but as always in good times, I forget to take photos!

Discussion centered on the reasons for developing the product. It started with planning for value added products aside from the dressed chickens. Brainstorming about other business ideas, beyond the raising...where else and who else can earn from the endeavors? The clamor for healthy products. The segment of the ready to cook food had to be looked into.

Repeat. We had APDC of BAI develop these so sage sausages for us. We were both equally ecstatic about reinventing meat processing without preservatives.

I texted Salve of APDC first thing this morning to congratulate her as it met the taste buds of the cross section of our target market. It faired well with all ages and cultural slices.

So has a nice ring! I should use it as branding! ...what do you think?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Ready For 2010

Fully booked for the past months, so steps had been made and we are now ready to serve the additional demand on our dayold chicks and dressed chickens for 2010.

For January, we are hatching 2x a week.

Thank you for believing.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Noisy Morning

Am not complaining about the was fun yesterday. So good to have down to earth laughter, no politicizing, no put on smiles :)

This morning I was on the phone with a friend and I asked her how her 25th was...she replied "silent night". Let's look at it as no fights, no frills...but quiet and peace for them.

So today, first hour at work....we get orders already for roasted chickens for the next days. Advance orders as they didn't want to take the risk of not getting any. The ones who grew for their own tables came back today for dayold chicks as the proof was served for Noche Buena.

If you raised today, you will have good clean Sunshines for Valentines, graduations, Easter....

You should plan ahead.

Friday, December 25, 2009


This season was a barometer....and it showed good signs.

Sunshine had been around for 2 1/2yrs now. Initially, it was all educating the tastebuds, and the psyche of farmers and consumers. Others are just copying, following and reaping from our work, but that's ok. We strive and reinvent ourselves...they have lots to ape :)

By September, October this year, the sales of dayold chicks have been record breakers. We were happy for the growers and excitedly waited for the outcome of the December harvest from the backyard farmers. The ones who will serve the chickens on their tables...and the ones who's neighbors and family will await it as gifts.

Very good reviews. It snowballed to dressed chicken sales. Our rotisserie chicken earned new customers and orders from the regular ones ballooned, crediting to their family gatherings. Our Sunny staff was so busy that we decided to close the rostisserie outlet today.

Orders for dayold chicks and dressed have poured in, after the harvests and the gifts of Sunshines on the table.

We are now ready to introduce our sausages with no chemicals nor preservatives. First, we serve it today with relatives. Next week, we serve it to my critic friends with cheese and wine. My best gauge after all are my friends...they tell it as it is :)

We roll it in the market very soon.

Planting Trees

Five (5) yrs ago, we developed an area of 1hectare. First we did was dig half of the property to elevate the other half. It used to be a ricefield and the area was soggy. So to get dry land fast, we made the property higher. The soil we got from the dug up area went to the half that we planted with trees. We were prepared to be patient as the the soil was wasted and overused. We agreed to let the land rejuvenate on its own.

The holes were made into fishponds. We also plan to build poultry buildings on top so we can have more sustainability. Waste from the poultry can feed the fishes.

Now at 5yrs old, we have productive fruit trees. We harvest vegetables. Fish is fresh. Our table is almost filled by our farm.

No spraying of chemicals here. Our mango trees have started to flower...and we will keep it that way til fruiting....naturally. Grow your own food!

How to Monitor

I have written several topics on the monitor ( you may want to use the "search" button). Remember how I wrote also about eventually graduating to sturdier housing. Sure, let's start small and cheap and grow with the business. We also did. So now we are building notch higher.

Because of the demand for the dressed Sunshines, we have to grow some to make sure the supply and quality is met. Everything fell into place as we are now developing another 3hectares in the farm and have more room to play and rotate ranging areas.

I took these pictures yesterday and when reviewing today for filing, Doc Rey got a bright idea on including building expenses in his seminars. Since he has just received receipts and paid labor, he has a good grasp of expenses.

He now thinks like me....a lay, dummy, non-technical mind. We have developed the seminars from my point of view....I hope it had helped you too :)

The foundations are now cemented, strong and posts are weather proof. See the wood to be used? We saved them from an old beach house in Cavite that we demolished. The beachline was eating it up and we thought that instead of losing it to the sea, we can make good use of the wood. This is great material as time and salt had aged it well. As always and in all cases, foundation is most important.

It gets the morning sun. You know how we expose babies to the morning sun for the vitamins we get and the health benefits? Of course it is good for all too! It also dries up the pens, the natural way :) The wind directions in your property is also taken into consideration. We oriented the side that the wind won't run into the roofs. The resistance with the wind can let the roofs fly away.

Notice also that the buildings are not too high to fight the wind, but not too low that it is difficult for the caretaker to clean. Keep in mind that we need to make it easy for the caretaker to feed and clean around. If it is convenient and easy, plus the fact that he should love what he is doing...then it won''t be work.

Don't worry about predators...yes, it still needs to have steel matting all around. Maybe we won't have that budget for now, then we can have poultry wire or green plastic screen as walls.

See the dog? He is there now to get used to the new area to guard.

Your range fences, are ideally nets.

Breakast At The Farm

Yesterday, we had to pick up our eggs for the week's delivery to Manila. The demand had doubled, maybe it went as gifts. This batch was the last delivery for the week.

As I went egg hunting, we dunked some in boiling water and came up with one of the best breakfasts one can need for salt. The freshness was all it took.

That's a good new idea. Business of cooked eggs....soft boiled, hard boiled, poached, sandwich filling etc.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I had written back that a supermarket chain contacted us to sell dressed Sunshines. Felt elated that we didn't offer to them, but they seeked for us.

Christmas rush made us forget that...or maybe...we didn't want to do the December rush for that as we had been on the planning for 2nd Q of 2010 already.

Today we get a call that they had been waiting for a delivery and we can start whenever and what branches we wanted. 2010, we will be available in SM Supermarket :)

We will select the branches first where we can do personal retailing.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Busy Chicks

We are looking forward to having Jojie and Andry Lim (natural farming in the Philippines fame) in Santiago City, Isabela end of January.

Perfect that we are fixing a new location of 3hectares. Good time for them to comment as it won't be just Sunshines there. We will integrate farming to feed ourselves in the coming days, from rice to fruits.

Andry will do seminars and I will post details here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I had been hearing a lot of this "protocol" term from natural farmer, Jojie. Whatever usage the word has, it still connotes ways and means, propriety and decorum.

Yesterday, there was an impromptu meeting of three (3) childhood friends. I haven't seen them in like more than 30yrs! Childhood ways never leave you and just get louder when thrown in that company. We picked up and its as if we have always seen one another. I brought another friend with me, and she fitted right away :)

One of us got a text from another childhood neighbor too, that the father of another neighbor passed away. We decided to go.

We got there to an empty room. Just Boying, our friend, who also just got there. He was so surprised to see us, out of the basketball courts and not eating BBQ from the grocery. His sister was there. We felt we were all in Philam and hanging around in our corner Kalachuchi tree!

I remember their father working with UN or something foreign post. At that age, we were more interested in the food stuff the homecomings were sending to our corner in the banketa. Now we were served korpek from Brunei, Chocolate Cake that the Sultan of Brunei loves....the stories were not interesting, it was the eating and cheap thrills of being together.

As we were making kwento amidts the giggling, she came home from her tour or Brunei and was now protocol officer. At that point still small talk for me...the kropek was good.

A lady in a cane, who just sprained her ankle, walked in. She was introduced as Ambassador XXX of XXX. Ok, a new face. Good looking gentleman walks in. Introduced as Ambassador YYY of YYY, whom she replaced as protocol officer. Ok, so they were very friendly and nice. Geez....I am no smiling and chika chika person. Next ones to walk in were all introduced as Ambassador so and so....At first you think it was a joke. It didn't dawn on us that YES they were really our Ambassadors. And YES, they are so amiable and nice. Greeting us. Us, the noisy kids. But she was so personal and enjoyed introducing her childood neighbors.

This isn't a norm at wakes. I didn't even get introduced to all my sister's friends during our mom's wake. Neither did I do that to her.

But then...of course they are protocol officers. It is a way of life for them. It was so nice to see them in a big bunch in the element of being friends also. They were not there for work. They were like us, just a step higher as they were prim and proper in their laughter ahahahhha.

Signing out....we thought HOW? Do we go around everyone again and say proper goodbyes?

Well....we remained ourselves and just said goodbyes and waved...much like after a game at the court.

Protocol is proper. It is designed and set in place for a reason. It is tried and tested over time. Let's learn from experienced ones. I have to reread Jojie's protocol for Sunshines. It is changing and being improved always. But that is dictates that there are basic things we do.

Juggle Bells

The time juggling is not about shopping. Seeing friends yes, that makes up for not getting material wants :)

What we are balancing now are schedules of hatching, importation, deliveries and seminars....yes, at this season and days when most suppliers are texting about their Christmas Season break and vacations....we are endlessly on the phone and emails.

For seminars, we took into account that some people are only able to attend during breaks.

Friday, December 11, 2009


Its now what you thought... "holding hands while walking"!

My work in marketing takes me to working with so many people from different agencies and offices. Met a lot of great minds that inspire you. We always shun from walking into government agencies...but hey....there a lot of them who really do work hard and beyond the call of duty.

One such agency is the Animal Products Development Center under Bureau of Animal Industry.

Because of distance and schedules, I am late in the pick up for sensory analysis (taste test in simpler terms) of my requested products to be developed. We had scheduled already a date for processing but they want to us to do several taste tests before going final on volume quantities. Again, I had to beg off till Monday the 14th.

Today I get a text that since we have a schedule for production and they want to make sure also that the products pass the sensory analysis for both parties, I can pick up the products tomorrow. I had to reread the text message and confirm that "tomorrow" is a Saturday.

"Yes" was the reply. Thank you. Open your heart to good service of civil servants. They are there to assist.... "helping hands while working".

Natural Gifts

I am no gift giver during events. Treats I give go when least expected, but surely those will be items I will want to keep or use for myself.

Christmas is no hurried time for me because the traffic and shopping frenzy doesn't engulf me :) This week is different! Nope, didn't catch the traffic stress.

From a riceland that didn't use chemicals nor pesticides, just organic fertilizers, there was a good harvest. That was sometime ago. There will be new sprouts and fruits from that field. See how some people go through harvested fields? Its like picking up the leftover.

What we got are not leftovers from the previous harvest. These are the ones that grew after! This crop didn't even get any fertilizing. Just the rain, the sun and fresh air. From there we got about three (3) sacks. One for my sister, one for my mother's bestfriend and one for me. The thought of giving came because I had a good product to give. It just dawned on me later that it was timely for Christmas.

For neighbors, think I will give fresh eggs from our grass fed Sunshines. Now. Why now and not on Christmas? So they have time to use it for their special flans.

What else? Fruits from our farm, we really give that to Manila friends....on regular days, when no ribbons go around beating red lights.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


We had commissioned a group to develop chemical free ham for our Sunshines. Let me share with you our initial recipe. They are working on several sausages and patties, aside from the HAManok :) Great gift and business idea. No curing period needed :)

Again....the income is not just in the raising....look beyond the cages.


I. Meat Material

Chicken , whole, dressed 1 pc

II. Brine Solution for 10 kg meat)

Water 1250.00 g

Refined salt 180.00 g

Refined sugar 2.50 g

Smoke flavor 3.00 g

Oil of Anise (1 drop) .06 g

Oil of Cloves (1 drop) .08 g

Maplein (2 drops) .12 g

III. Dry cure mixture

Refined sugar 35.00 g

Refined salt 18.00 g


Brown sugar 150.00 g

Pineapple juice 125.00 g

Anisado wine 60.00 g

Bay leaf (as desired) at least 2 pc

Cloves (as desired) at least 2 pc

Oregano leaves few strands

Water just enough to cover the meat


CLEAN whole chicken

REMOVE oil gland and neck

WEIGH Cleaned chicken

PREPARE brine by mixing cold water with other ingredients
BRINE mix cold water with other ingredients

INJECT 20% (or 1/2 cup brine) per kg of meat using a brine pump
APPLY dry cure mixture inside and outside the carcass. Let stand for

overnight in the refrigerator.

WASH Chicken with tap water, drain and tie with abaca twine or

cotton thread to maintain the shape.

COOK meat with cooking ingredients until tender

CARAMELIZE by applying brown sugar applied on the surface by using blow

torch or in oven

PACK in paperlyne (plastic wrap) and store in freezer

Proud Hen

Cheap thrills for me.

The calls I got today that made me happy.... several calls from different Chefs. Chefs/foodies/baking school owners who are product endorsers for big food companies. They can't openly use Sunshines as they are endorsing big companies.

Why did they order today? They each got about 5-10 pieces, for their family's consumption and for giving away as a roast or ham that they will prepare themselves.

That is really a nice touch. Prepare your own gifts.

To Each Its Own Housing

The designs of housing/pens can be adapted from big ones to small ones. You may have it in concrete or in wood. Fixed and posted firm, or movable structures.

Depends on what is convenient and easy for you to handle. Your needs should be met so that it will be a doable project.

For me I like brooders that are in cages. It seems easier for me to clean and pullout trays that catch their waste. Brooding bulbs are for me so I don't need the heat from the beddings. Doc Rey wants litter type. He sees it more convenient to scrape the beddings in one big load. Also, he likes preaching about the heat and moisture sponge from the beddings used. For smaller scale, the most practical will be Jojie's Crib (search on that topic in this blog).

Housing on the range, I like portable pens, or semi movable ones. It gives me the flexibility to be fickle minded and ever changing and change locations....much like moving a loveseat and a candlestick around the house. I don't think its expensive to be constantly changing, as you learn and amend designs, materials and locations with time. You need to change anyway as it wears :)

Location: Brooders have to be near water and electricity source. Water is most important. I like it near the caretaker as he has to give 25hrs attention, 8days a least for 22days :) Ranging: Anywhere fresh, a lot of grasses, clean air....

When ready to slaughter, we move it near the road/driveway - transport logistics.

This Is The Monitor

There are some people that you like working with or socially. I am one person that the liking for work and socially has to go together. I can't just like you for work. If I was to work with you, I have to like you socially first. A pair we like is Andry and Jojie Lim.

Remember the monitor that I described as a lopsided "T"? As I was going through my Facebook, I saw this in Jojie's photos posted recently.

Maybe the frames that Andry used were ready made and didn't touch it as it may be intended for use again for other applications. If I was to build this now, I will not make it that tall, as Sunshines nor caretakers aren't that tall :) The free flowing air had been answered by the screened walls and monitor.

You need all the fresh air and sunshine to dry and disinfect naturally. Much like you ferment good fruits and veggies to fertilize your fruits trees and veggie need to give sunshine to your Sunshines!

I remember hearing Doc Rey discussing about what side faces the afternoon sun and he was considering the wind direction. I am not into that data...but will inquire about those again and post it as another topic.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Where To Build?

Woke up real early as ground breaking for new pens....opportunity to walk at sunrise, taking in fresh air and donning my boots :)

Do we build pens at the end of the property? Midway near the caretaker's house? Or front near the road?

Good I decided to go as Doc Rey marked the ground for foundations already and it was at the end of the property.

I thought this way: brooders will be midway, close to the caretaker's house and near to the sources of water. Ranging pens will be set up at the front near the road. For one, the areas there are virgin...we have never used that area before. For two, easier to harvest and have holding areas near the road, where it is close to parking and the hauling vehicles can drive through.

We have to keep it simple and easy for work to be sustainable for manpower.

Next to plan: farm tools and implements to make work like play :)

Monday, December 07, 2009

Windbreakers And Shades

Have trees all around your ranging areas.

They act as shade and at the same time sways with the wind to give fresh air. Also acts as wind breaker :)

The curtain used acts as primary wind breakers for the building. It is not wrapped around the walls as that will prevent good air circulation. Wind breakers should be installed in such a distance that it catches the strong cold wind, but allows free flowing air.


Quick trip to Isabela farm to check on new shelters being built. The trip is to monitor the construction and for a monitor constructed :)

Summer is approaching so the planning has to take into consideration that monitors are in order.

For the lay and the non-technical person like me, the first time I heard that a grower installed a monitor in his Sunshines' shelter...I was like "wow"...I thought it was CCTV and cameras. He must love the Sunshines that much.

A monitor in poultry buildings means air outlet/ventilation :)

Last night I was listening to Doc Rey as he was giving instructions and drawing his several buildings. Don't let the term "several buildings" impress you. Shelters that are built with cement foundation, wood from a demolished old house, slightly elevated to plan against wet ground etc, nothing fancy, but fully utilitarian.

There was something about it that didn't seem fit for me. There will be two roofs side by side, the tip won't meet up there!? Like an lopsided "T". I had to butt in and ask to be briefed on the design. He looked quizzically at me as if I had to know that it was a monitor and it was for ventilation :)

Having been briefed and reminded about fresh air entering and allowing hot air to escape, now I know and understand the simple design of the open roof top and lopsided "T" design. Hey, how come the monitors I see on the large commercial buildings look like lofts? He said the lopsided "T" is the old and simple design in poultry management. The new loft designs (no relation to the furniture retailer) is a product already of intelligent architecture :)

Great that mind is activated by forced creativity when budget is constrained. We are all learning here. We need to find ways to make it easy for us and for them.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Why The Tests?

Blood tests are done to monitor the health and condition of the Certified Parent Stocks. Aside from us owners wanting to make sure they are healthy, the government, namely the Bureau of Animal Industry of the Department of Agriculture monitors to make sure they know the history of the flocks that are given local shipping permits.

They do testings at about 2months old and at 6months old when the local shipping permits will be applicable to that particular batch. When there is a problem on poultry in a particular area, records will show what were shipped to that area on a particular time. Records are very important. They can refer to the history of the breeders that shipped on the particular date of chick-ins.

Say hello to our September2009 batch. They eagerly awaited BAI's arrival.

There were looking as Doc Arlene and Hermie were preparing.

They patiently waited for their turn.

Be Nosey

For biosecurity reasons, we rarely go to the site of the breeders. The capitalization is no cough, so we try to keep the place clean to the best of our abilities.

Aside from marketing, documentations are part of my job, so government testing trips is one of my rare visits to the breeders.

It was a nippy comfortably cool morning. I thought morning still as we started real early from Manila. Looking at my watch it was towards noon already. Still cool. Sure, it is December. But aside from that, our buildings are surrounded by trees.

In today's blood testing by BAI's team of Doc Arlene and Hermie, they commented that our farm is one of the rare ones that has no odor at It actually smells fresh. No flies too!

If only you can smell through photos....

And if you can see the multi colored butterflies....

You will know the place is clean :)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Industry Wide

Grateful that most of the regular growers started loading for the Christmas season as early as August and September. I remember posting about loading in August for the really matured taste of a slowly developed chicken :)

What came to us in September in terms of typhoons is known to all. Now, most breeder farms had been affected in terms of stress that translates to lower production, add to that the normal anticipated increase in demands for dayold the perceived shortage.

Several times I had been asked of the demand for Sunshine Chicks are that much? Thank you, it brought a smile to me. But, the shortage and increase in demand is industry wide....the colored, the whites....united colors of chicken!

The government, the respected agencies involved, and am sure all the bigger breeder farms are doing what they can to correct the situation.

We are one in doing steps to ease up the shortage/demand. It is not good for everyone if this continues. SASSO of France is one with us in making sure the demand is met.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Walking Around

I didn't want to discuss this beforehand, but someone said that it was written about in the newspaper about us developing products for the free range better you hear it from me.

Immerse, be one, learn, walk around.

Product development is the same. You have to use your senses in all manners. We are so excited to be in the middle of developing products: Our hamanok, patties, bbq and sausages that comes - sweet skinless, Vigan style (garlicky), Italian (spicy, herbs) and Polish (herbs).

We have remained focused to our niche market. That is the group of consumers we are targeting here. The ones who want food seasoned with natural ingredients, no preservatives. Taste wise? I was my gauge :)

It took me several days also to search for the ingredients to be used. Walking around, asking, talking and tasting. We didn't scrimp. Its the quality that we are after, since we have to rely on the natural flavors to bring out the best.

We had to debone...and do we just sell the wings as is? Nope, now we have tried on a recipe for wings too :) I didn't want to get into the special cuts anyway. Too tedious.

Really excited about this. Now how to cook...broil, grill, turbo etc....healthy ways to do it.

Thank you to Animal Products Development Center (APDC) of BAI for being all agog with us.

How Did You Start Today?

We had a hospital bed that we decided to donate. My sister found the organization to give it to. They were supposed to pick it up last week....but surely its not lack of interest, but more likely short on was taking them quite a while.

I offered to have the big truck deliver it. After Doc Rey made some estimates on the load, he said "let's do it".

I was glad we did. The moment he said so, we changed from night shirts to walking shirts :) and drove down E. Rodriguez.

Hate going to hospitals, but this was a different feeling delivering to one of the hospitals that Kythe Foundation works with.

Talking with the guard, while waiting for the coordinator, I learned about the foundation's work with children. You may want to know more too about Kythe Foundation.

They were so happy with our hospital bed and suction pump. You might have some materials you may donate :)