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Why Happy Chickens Make For Great Taste And Good Health

Scan the news online and you’re bound to come across articles that warn against the dangers of eating meat and poultry, especially those pumped with hormones and antibiotics, made to grow too quickly in cramped quarters. Add to that the medical establishment espousing a more veggie-centric eating plan, plus numerous reports about livestock as a major contributor to global warming, and you may really want to forego eating meat altogether.

But for those who just can’t give up the gustatory pleasures of steak, lechon, and fried chicken, is there a way to enjoy meat without chucking your principles out the window? Or in other words, can we eat healthy and save the planet, without going totally meat free?

That was the topic of discussion at a panel titled “The Conscious Carnivore” held recently at the Philippine Sustainable Gastronomy event at World Food Expo. With farmers serving as panelists, the short answer to the question is a resounding “yes”—but only if the producers take proper care of their animals and farms. Among the panelists was Gael Papillon, COO of Pamora Farm well known for its free-range chicken. During the discussion, he said, “Being a conscious carnivore, it’s very important to know what you’re eating because it’ll affect your health and your lifestyle in the long run.” And that means, learning how farmers raise their livestock, making sure it’s done “cleanly” with the health of consumers, not to mention Mother Earth, in mind.

 

The sprawling Pamora Farm in Abra with lots of room for the chicken to range

 

It so happens that Pamora Farm recently hosted a special lunch at The Peninsula Manila where Gael, together with his mother and General Manager Tina Morados, shared their inspiring story as the country’s free-range chicken pioneers. Back in 2000, Pamora Farm was just a small backyard operation located in Pidigan, Abra, about an hour from Vigan, where Tina and her husband, Frenchman Gérard Papillon, would grow free-range chicken for their personal consumption, as well as for friends and family. But demand grew for this naturally-grown poultry and gradually, Pamora Farm developed into the fully integrated facility it is today, with dressing, packaging, and distribution capabilities, all inside their four-hectare farm in Abra.

 

General Manager Tina Morados at Pamora Farm

 

“With Pamora free-range chicken, you will eat 100% chicken. No hormones, no antibiotics, no chemicals,” guarantees Tina, as she presented slides of the family farm, showing just what it takes to raise naturally-grown chicken. The chickens have the space to roam, feasting on feed without any hormones or chemicals. Instead of antibiotics, the chickens take organic herbs like oregano, ginger, chili, lemongrass, kakawate, and charcoal powder which boost the immune system and therefore eliminate the need for synthetic medicine.

 

Chicken adobo with garlic rice prepared at The Peninsula Manila

 

“We grow the chickens the way a chicken normally should, scratching the ground to find food, to access natural vitamins, minerals and other nutrients available in the grass, insects, and from the soil. They are left roaming in the open—they run, they fight, they exercise,” describes Tina. This results in chicken meat that is firm, with only 8 to 10% fat content versus 19 to 29% in commercial chicken.

 

Chicken and waffles using Pamora chicken oysters

 

Pamora chicken grow up to 81 days, longer than most other free-range chicken, strictly adhering to the French Label Rouge standards. They’re dressed at the farm using an air-dry chilling system with its own blast freezer, in compliance with European standards. “We don’t want to use the water chilling process where the chickens are soaked in iced water with chlorine for 2 to 3 hours. Air-dry chilling maintains the freshness, meat quality, and taste of the chicken, and no water is absorbed by the chicken. Meaning, what we get is 100% chicken meat,” explains Tina.

Chicken roulade with sweet potato, French beans, and chicken jus

 

Pamora offers whole dressed chicken in different weights, from coquelet at 400 to 600 grams each, to premium chicken at 1 to 1.850 kilos, and even capon at 2 kilos. Pamora also produces chicken choice cuts, nuggets, tocino, eggs, and homemade chicken paté in six variants.

 

Chicken sliders with Pamora chicken burger patties, cucumber, Gouda, bacon, truffle aioli, pretzel bread, and French fries

 

Thanks to Tina’s presentation, we’re certainly convinced that Pamora chickens are “clean” and all natural. But the proof, in the end, is in the tasting. Free-range chicken is known for having firmer meat, compared to commercial chicken. However, the meat is not bland at all, flavored by the herbs and grass the chickens eat during their lifetimes.

 

Tandoori chicken with yogurt dip and cheese naan

 

At the lunch, The Peninsula Manila Executive Chef Franco Diaz and his team presented a veritable poultry feast to showcase the quality of Pamora chicken, which happens to be served at all the hotel’s outlets. From extra savory chicken adobo to spicy tandoori chicken, plus homemade patés from Pamora Farm, guests were regaled with the all-natural flavors of Pamora free-range chicken.

 

Pamora whole premium chicken, frozen and vaccum-packed

 

For a taste of Pamora free-range chicken, you can visit The Peninsula Manila, Sagana Restaurant (BGC), James & Daughters by Le Jardin (BGC), Guidivilla Inc. (Alabang), City of Dreams, Novotel Manila, Element Boutique Hotel, Marriott Hotel, and Makati Shangri-La Hotel.

 

Pamora choice cuts individually quick frozen and packed in resealable bags

 

At the end of the day, choosing to eat in a “conscious” manner means knowing and learning about where your food comes from. At the Philippine Sustainable Gastronomy panel, Gael Papillon put it simply, “In our farm, our motto is basically we have nothing to hide. You can come and visit, you’ll be welcome here!”

 

Pamora chicken is available at Säntis Delicatessen, Terry’s Bistro and Gourmet Store, Echostore, Jojiberry (Mother Ignacia, QC), Real Food (Molito, Alabang), L’Epicerie Gourmande (Festival Supermall), Billie O’ Naire Corp (Ayala Alabang Village), Mother Earth Deli Basket (Baguio), Rustan’s Supermarket, Marketplace By Rustan’s, Ayala Alabang Village Sunday Market, and online through gerald.ph and honestbee.ph.

Follow @pamorafarminc on Facebook, @pamora.farms on Instagram, or visit www.pamorafarm.com