Tina Morados’ laughter can easily fill a crowded room. She pokes fun at herself, mostly – at how she looks like the African-American singer Tina Turner (which she used as her Facebook name) but can’t carry a tune if her life depended on it; at how she danced her way out of poverty; and at how she personally castrates the male chickens at Pamora Farm when there are requests from clients for bigger-sized poultry meat.
Make no mistake about it: this Abra-born entrepreneur who had to start working at the tender age of 15 years is dead serious when it comes to making her business of organic free-range chicken farming grow.
Morados used her earnings as a professional dancer in Japan and as a former member of the local group Power Dance to buy a lot in her hometown. Together with her husband Gérard Papillon, she established Pamora Farm, a portmanteau of their family names Papillon and Morados. The couple started to raise free-range chickens in 2000 in just a 1,000-square-meter piece of land, with the initial objective of having their own source of organically grown chickens.
“I didn’t have money at first. I only knew how to dance,” she recalled during a private lunch with select journalists, chefs and restaurateurs at The Peninsula Manila, a client of Pamora Farm.
When friends and relatives heard of the couple’s free-range chicken and started ordering, that’s when Morados knew she had, so to speak, stumbled on the chicken that lays golden eggs.
Pamora Farm follows the French Label Rouge standards and grows their premium chicken (1 kg to 1.850 kg) for a minimum of 81 days, without injecting any hormones or other chemicals to hasten the growth process.
“We allow the body of the chicken to develop naturally so when you eat free-range chicken, you’ll notice that the bones are stronger and do not easily break,” Morados said.
To boost the immune system of the chicken, the couple use herbal concoctions from organic herbs and plants found in their farm such as oregano, ginger, chili, lemongrass and kakawate (madre de cacao).
“These prevent them from getting sick, thus eliminating the need for synthetic veterinary medicines,” she said.
Pamora free-range chickens have only eight to 10 percent fat content versus the 19 to 29 percent in commercial chicken.
“They’re also more flavorful because they eat more herbs and grass during the growing stages. You don’t need to use artificial flavorings like chicken cubes when cooking,” she said.
According to The Peninsula Manila’s executive chef Franco Diaz, partnering with Pamora Farms has resulted in delicious and healthy dishes served in all outlets of the hotel, including chicken adobo (using thigh and leg choice cuts), sesame chicken salad (using breast choice cuts), chicken and waffles (using chicken oysters), Tandoori chicken (using wing and lollipop choice cuts), chicken roulade (using whole chicken) and chicken sliders (using ready-made chicken burger).
Being a pioneer of free-range poultry farming in the Philippines and compliant with French standards, Morados’ innovations earned her a Knight in Order with Merits in Agriculture from the French Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries in 2008, a prestigious award that is rarely accorded to non-French nationals.
Her Pamora Farm journey likewise landed her a feature in Joey Concepcion’s 2013 Go Negosyo book, 50 Inspiring Stories of Agri-Entrepreneurs.
Pamora Farm has invested in production process standardization that complies with both local and international standards, being the only National Meat Inspection Services-accredited “AA” poultry dressing plant in the Cordillera region.
Class “AA” refers to farms with sufficiently adequate facilities and operational procedures such that the livestock or poultry slaughtered is suitable for sale in any market within the country.
It is also the only dressing plant in the Philippines that caters exclusively to free-range chickens using air-dry chilling process that is compliant with European Union standards on poultry dressing facilities.
“We don’t want to use the water chilling process where the chickens are soaked in iced-water with chlorine for two to three hours. Air-dry chilling maintains the freshness and taste of the chicken. Because no water is absorbed by the chicken, the meat does not shrink when cooked,” Morados said.
The dressing plant is also complete with blast freezing equipment and cold storage, with the meat packed in re-sealable bags.
Morados, who admits that the farm is still unable to supply the demand for free-range chickens despite distributing as much as 10,000 chickens monthly to supermarkets, restaurants, hotels, and gourmet stores, said there is still much room for expansion.
“We don’t want to take shortcuts just to meet the demand. We want to remain true to our principles,” she said.
“Chicken farming is not just a business for us. It is our passion. We eat what we produce,” Morados said.
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