Sunday, January 30, 2011

I Like Them Wild....

...veggies, flowers... :)

One of the wild vegetables we have a lot in the farm is this miniature cucumbers.  They grow everywhere and love to hang and wrap around trees and these wire fence that protects some of our vegetables from our pastured chickens.

The time I took this photo, I got a handful and blew on them...just a psychological getting rid of dust...then popped them in my mouth.  The beauty of chemical free farming. 

Very refreshing, sweetish and juicy.  Great to have mixed in salads for that minute crunch :)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

While I Was At The Market

Saturday is my Mercato Centrale@BGC, selling day.  That is the newest weekend organic market in Metro Manila, located beside Bonifacio High Street and Serendra.

I knew too that Mag Agri Tayo will show today, the 1st of the series of instructional segments we will assist Mag Agri Tayo with.  The market makes me forget...and I got surprised when we were bombarded with texts that really gave super positive feedbacks.  

Yesterday Mag Agri Tayo told me that what we shot was too long for one episode (which was supposed to cover Azolla, FPJ and OHN) but was too short for two.  So, on Monday, we shoot again to make up for the 2nd episode for February  5, Saturday, Channel 4, 9am.

That will still be a market day for watch it ahead of me...before they send me my copy :)

Let us know what topics you want to listen to and watch :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Bugs Are Welcome Here

For some years, we were happy to have tons of Water Lily in our ponds as we saw the Sunshines eating them....til we were introduced to Azolla :)  Last week, we decided to clear two more ponds to make room for more Azolla propagation.

The cleared plants were laid on the edges of the ponds and it wasn't a nice sight to pass while going through the farm.  Why don't we lay them on the thickly weeded areas and around the fruit trees?  Spray IMO (Indigenous Micro Organisms) on them, let it be our green fertilizer!

As they were being forked to the adjacent grassy areas, clouds of insects were lifted!  It was like heaven on earth....dragon files, lady bugs, beetles, grasshoppers, spiders etc....  Then butterflies of several colors decided to dance with them :)

I am thankful we are not spraying chemicals.  My mind is very micro in thinks small.  I know I have secured food on our own tables, with some to share with family and friends.  

Think about securing your own too.  Grow your own food.

Monday, January 17, 2011

After These, What Is Next?

Agri Plain Talk, Manila Bulletin, December 11 2010

Agri Plain Talk, Manila Bulletin, Jan 08 2011
Agriculture Magazine, Jan 2011, Page7
Panorama, Jan 02 2011, Page 20 and 21

In December 25 2010, Mag Agri Tayo, shown every Saturday at 9am over Channel 4 had featured the white pastured chickens too.  We are now partnering with them in given a school on the air and will be showing in several episodes our farming practices.  In early 2010 they did a 2part feature on us already, but they are now interested in the whites and the natural farming.  Watch out for the January 29 2011 episode.

Can you guess what the next stories of Mr. Zac Sarian will be focusing on? 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Making Things Lighter

We have always been on the look out for ways and means to make work load lighter for our workers.  The recipe for making Fermented Plant Juice (FPJ) seems easy of you will read it at 2kgs plants and 1k Molasses.  With that, you will harvest about 2.5liters of FPJ.  That amount is OK if you have a backyard of vegetables to tend and spray.  But if you are doing commercial farming of pastured chickens, we ferment about 20kgs of plants almost every other day.

Preparing for an instructional video on making the different concoctions, made me see how our staff is making FPJ, OHN etc on a close up view.  

I took photographs recently on a very sad moment and after that I told Doc Rey that it pays to get a professional photographer in times of grief.  I experienced and saw the sadness of everyone as you frame them in your camera's lens and create a subject.

To cut on time, we had gotten a shredder/chopper for the preparation of the materials for FPJ.  But now that I was taking photos and video for the movie we will make, I saw how difficult it was to harvest  and press the sludge to extract the FPJ, OHN etc, manually.  The OHN was very hot to the touch...imagine all that garlic, onions, ginger, chili etc.  Doc Rey commented on it too, and he was just seeing the photos and the raw videos.  He wasn't present during the harvest.

You just have to ask others, as surely, they have encountered the same problems.  How do we extract and press the sludge, aside from manually?  One said go to a machine shop and have a presser made.  One said they used an old washing machine that only the spinner is left working.  Bright idea!

I told my staff right away and she said she had thought about that too and that she thought of using the plastic net bags to portion them well so not to heavy load for the spinner and no mess as the sludge will be in the net bags.  Yes, just as Jojie said...spinner and net bags :)

Doc Rey keeps old things well...after I called him, he came back with an old , working washing machine.  They set it up high so it will be easy to harvest and drain from the hose.

Ask...don't be shy!  Natural farmers are very generous with time, effort and knowledge :)

FPJ, Natural Growth Promotant

How do you choose what plants to use?  What is the proportion and recipe?

We use Fermented Plant Juice (FPJ) for our chickens.

Try using them on your animals,  and plants :)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


First harvest of the year, the first batch that fed on Azolla, first taste test....and I wasn't around!

Some things had to be done in Manila and so it was Doc Rey who went for a quick visit to the farm.  It just so happened that the harvest was scheduled today, for the Oct7 batch.

Verdict:  Very tasty and lean.  He had a Tinola done.  Soup was really good, even if there was hardly any fat rendered.  Tasted the way chickens should.

We Can't Have Too Much Of Azolla

Check out pictures on instant holding areas for Azolla, using inverted mosquito nets.

You don't need a deep fishpond to multiply Azolla.  Shallow ponds are doable and cheap for this project.  Line them with thick pond liners, or used billboard tarpaulins.  Prepare the pond with your IMO and beddings.

We can't have too much of Azolla as it may be fed to animals, used as green manure, and shared with others :)

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Good Start, Pay Forward

January 2 2011, Panorama of the Manila Bulletin had a two page spread on our pasturing white chickens. January 7 2011, Mag Agri Tayo (Every Saturday, 9am, Channel 4) set an appointment for another shoot next week covering Azolla, fPJ and OHN....this was just after they featured us on white pastured chickens in their December 25 2010 episode.   January 8 2011, Agripage of Manila Bulletin played up the use of Azolla as an alternative feeds for animals.  By mid morning, Channel 5 did a chance interview on us at Mercato Centrale for the Sunshine Chicken and we had another chance to highlight Azolla.

Today, I was also asked how much would Azolla cost?  "It multiplies so fast that I think it is a sin to sell it...besides, we were taught and given time and Azolla, it has to be paid forward to others".

These were the two photos that were used by Mr. Zac Sarian's Agripage, Jan 8, 2011:

AZOLLA IS CHEAP CHICKEN FEED - If you want to economize on feeds for your free range chicken, you should try growing Azolla even if you have just a small fishpond.  Just like what Dr. Rey Itchon is doing in their farm in Santiago City, Isabela.  They raise Azolla in their Tilapia ponds and harvest the water plant for feeding their white chickens which are raised as free range chickens.  The Itchons say that the chickens just love to eat Azolla which is rich in protein.  They only feed their chickens once a day with commercial feeds that is without any antibiotics.  Instead, they enhance the health of their fowls by adding fermented plant juice, which they themselves make, in their drinking water.  Photo above shows the Itchons' pond full of Azolla while at the lower photo, the chickens are relishing the Azolla given them.

Close up of Azolla:
We are now harvesting 50kgs a day, that translates to savings of PHP1500 a day.  That is what we feed the Sunshines.  We haven't even counted our Pangasius and Tilapia that live on Azolla alone.  We did a sampling recently and the growth is comparable to commercial fishponds that are fed with commercial feeds.   

Setting up additional holding areas to bring up the harvest to 100kgs a day :)