The Independent Hatch
Pangasinan, known for its yearly delight of varieties of bangus, holds another niche for small time backyard farmers.
By Hans Audric B. Estialbo
“The secrets to our salted eggs are strictly confidential,” says AKCE Marketing owner Alex Estialbo, one of the only independent salted egg raisers and sellers in Pangasinan, “I guess normal naman ‘yun at understandable for other businessmen to give out the ingredients to their business di ba?”
Alex, at 40, looks too quiet, if not secretive, for a businessman. He says he stumbled upon the potential of the salted egg business in a casual fashion. He was working for his brother who owned a full-sized bakery, also in Pangasinan, for over a year; and after some time, felt the urge to venture to another line of commerce. After leaving the life of making sweets, pastries and cakes, and swinging from one gig to another to make a decent buck, he stopped and deemed the promise of turning soil to investment.
The perfect spot to jumpstart the business was the backyard. Their modest residence hid a spacious backyard where two more houses could be built. And the brainchild instantly materialized.
As everyone knows, egg is one of the poultry products that cannot be stored for a long time. It made him think of how he could solve this problem, especially when the production is big and the prices are low. With simple processing and cheap materials, the salted eggs proved to be a great demand and can be stored longer. But first things first - how exactly are salted eggs made? He replied, “The basic takes 90 minutes to finish. Make available a basket of eggs about 50 and select 20 eggs that are not cracked or damaged. Clean and scour the eggs with sand paper, preferably no. 0. Weigh 500 grams of salt and 1000 grams of brick powder. Mix the brick powder and salt in a bowl and add ¾ glass pure water/tanned water until it becomes a batter.
“Cover the egg uniformly with 1 cm of the batter around the egg. Store the eggs covered with paste in the box with stacks and place it in right upward position in a safer place.”
It’s a must as well to check them twice. Eggs to be salted must not be cracked, rotten, containing embryo, must still be fresh and uncooked. Alex continued, “Some simple methods to select good eggs include electric candling as well as candling using a rolled up paper. By candling it is possible to see whether the eggs are still fresh or not. If the air space is big, the egg is old; if the air space is small the egg is fresh. Besides this a fresh egg has also a viscose albumen and a yolk that has not a visible image when candling, and even it is visible the yolk will not move when you shake the egg. If the egg is a hatched egg you can see blood vessels. An egg with blood vessels or blood spots won’t be suitable.”
For safe keeping, he suggests that on the storage of the eggs during 15-20 days, ratio of salt to brick powder should be 1:3. So for 10 eggs 200 grams of salt and 600 grams of brick powder are needed. In fact, the result is better if eggs are stored longer. If you prefer the color of the yolk to be yellow, use dark tanned water, which is very good as tea contains preservation chemical tannin. When making a lot of salted eggs, one can use more liquid batter of salt and clay and put the eggs inside this batter, which will accelerate the process of salting. Instead of brick powder, also acid loam and scouring sand (fine ash) can be used. The taste of the really depends on the length of time the eggs are stored and the amount of salt and brick powder used.
AKCE, a name he patterned from his two children’s names: Allister Kaye and Allison Kim C. Estialbo, makes 10,000 to 15,000 eggs in a month, which they also deliver themselves to the stores they now call their sukis, which they sell at P8.50 each. The remaining eggs, if there will be any left, are left to his other helpers to sell themselves in the nearby market at P6.50 a piece.
“With a small investment, all that anybody needs actually is just perseverance. It’s better for smalltime businessmen like me to do the work and oversee everything. By doing so, I pick up firsthand experience and information. At ‘dun ko natututunan ‘yung mga sikreto ng good businesses,” said Alex. Smalltime backyard farmers and entrepreneurs like him play good examples to those who want to be their own line of specialty.
source:Marid Agribusiness, July 2007