By Vina Medenilla
Found in Lipa, Batangas, Esguerra Farms & Stud. Inc. is a private vacation house that evolved into a thriving farm enterprise and “birthplace of some of the country’s premier race horses.”
It is owned by Herminio “Hermie” Esguerra, a race horse owner and breeder who was recognized multiple times for his contributions to the local horse racing scene.
Esguerra Farms boasts a scenic view of animals grazing on a large expanse of pasture with Mt. Malarayat or Malepunyo in the background. But not only guests and farm people get to relax on it because even the farm pigs are provided with exceptional care and treatment by means of classical music, a steady water and food supply, a roomy pigpen, a paddock, and a mini swimming pool.
The farm believes that happy pigs equate to healthy pigs, which also translates to high-quality meat. Therefore, their hogs are naturally grown in pastures and are free from the use of antibiotics and hormones.
It houses 150 Kurobuta pigs or pure Berkshire swine that are nourished with plant-based feed made up of fruits, veggies, and grasses. The word “Kurobuta” is a Japanese term that refers to “black pig.”
Their pork brand line, Esguerra Kurobuta, is named after the founding family’s surname and the pork they specialize in.
Since the farm initially started from horse breeding, it was a challenge to expand into livestock production, said Merci Porsuelo, the farm manager. He added that despite this, they continuously learn and seek advice from professionals.
ASF-free livestock farm
With the crisis that the local hog industry faces today due to African swine fever (ASF), the farm employs strict biosecurity protocols and coordinates with the LGU for a regular ASF inspection to ensure the safety of the animals. Thankfully, the farm has not recorded any cases of ASF.
To prevent the entry of hog disease, all workers who reside on the farm are required to take a bath and change clothes and footwear before entering the livestock section. The farm has different sets of staff assigned to specific animal groups, which also means they do not mix the workers and their duties for biosecurity purposes and animal welfare.
Esguerra Farms uses a disinfectant to shield the pigs from contracting the ASF virus, too.
“We make our own probiotic which we use as an anti-odor, compost enhancer, and as a supplement for the animals,” Porsuelo added.
From their healthy and “happy pigs,” Esguerra Kurobuta offers all cuts of fresh pork meat. They also have value-added goodies such as ham (pata ham, round ham, and premium shoulder ham), sausage (classic, Italian, and schublig), smoked bacon (belly and jowl), liver pate, and lard.
Other essential farm components
Aside from pigs, Esguerra Farms is also home to 50 thoroughbred and Taal-rescued horses, 200 Dorper sheep, and 200 goats.
Fruits and vegetables also grow on this family farm. Some of the crops are dragon fruit, calamansi, golden queen mango, abiu fruit (Pouteria caimito), and melon (Hami and Ilocos gold variety).
The farm manager says, “When it comes to growing our crops, we try to be as natural as possible. We enhance our soil using our grass clippings, leaf cuttings, and manure. We make our own organic sprays from plants.”
The price range of their products and services is from P530 to P2,650.
For over 20 years in the business, their market has grown and so are their sales channels. Besides directly selling to regular consumers, Esguerra Farms’ pork meat and other products can be purchased in huge retail stores, resellers, as well as hotel and restaurant partners.
Photos courtesy of Esguerra Farms.