PURONG BLACK PEPPER
The principal agricultural product (by value) grown by the farmers of Sto. Niño,
Lipa Batangas is black pepper (Piper Nigrum). We estimate that total annual
production of dry pepper corns harvested by farmers living in this Barangay is
4000 Kilograms. Historically all the farmers in Sto. Niño have sold their crop
locally to traders in Lipa City. The farmers have never sold directly to
consumers. In 2015 this black pepper generated gross income of around Php 2
million at prices ranging from Php 480 to Php 500 per kilo. This is a
substantial amount of income for the local community.
In 2016 Villa Fuscagna Farms began to market `direct to consumer` its own harvest of Black Pepper as well as that produced by two other families living in Sto. Niño. The production of the DeCastro, Leyesa and Mendoza extended families is approximately 2000 kilograms per year. The objective of this effort is to raise both the quality of the product (100% pure pepper corns) and the extended families’ incomes.
When you buy “Purong” black pepper you will know that the income you have provided is going directly to these hard working people.
In many part of the world farming is a difficult and low income business. This is also true in the Philippines. Often a large percentage of the final sales price is earned by processors or distributors. Although black pepper requires little processing beyond the product delivered by the farmer (primarily removal of impurities and packaging), a significant margin is typically left with the trader and end distributor. We distribute directly to restaurants, hotels and a small number of distributors that are `one step before the spoon`. These are businesses that share our desire to lift the income of hardworking Philippine farming families.
We identify the pepper under the “Purong” name. Purong is Tagalog for Pure. This is because the product has all impurities removed prior to packaging. Often 4% approximately of impurities are included within the packaging, especially cracked or ground product. However, whether you are buying Purong whole, cracked or ground pepper corns, you will know you’re buying 100% pepper corns. This is also reflected in the aroma of the essential oils and strength of the taste remaining after cooking your dish. If you compare the product with other packagers at the supermarket you should see and smell the difference.
There are a number of high end black pepper products available in the market place typically sold by companies that specialize in spices. True black pepper is Piper Nigrum irrespective of its brand name. These brands on occasion identify a region where the pepper is grown. For example “Malabar” is grown in the Western Ghats, Kerala State, India. “Kampot” in Kampot Province, Cambodia, “Sarawak Black” in Malaysia, “Lampong” in Sumatra, Indonesia. Szechuan” pepper (which is actually not pepper but the husk of the Chinese prickly ash tree) is grown in a number of provinces in China.
To the best of our knowledge “Purong” is the only brand of black pepper available where the buyer can identify the specific locality and the families who actually grow the product.