A Guided Tour to the Real Fresh Dairy Farm of Carmen’s Best Ice Cream
After travelling for less than two hours from Makati, I found myself in a quiet, 27-hectare farm in Bay, Laguna. This large farm, full of Holstein breed of cows, is where milk is harvested and processed freshly, to create only the best ice cream in the land— Carmen’s Best Ice Cream.
I had a half-day tour, together with several other food writers, to the Real Fresh Dairy Farm and Laguna Creamery Processing Plant in Bay, Laguna. We were toured by a team, and they shared to us the history and achievements of Carmen’s Best Ice Cream, as well as the step-by-step procedures occurring behind the curtains to produce their fresh dairy products daily. Here’s how my tour went.
We writers were gathered in an area before entering the farm and the Milk Processing Plant. We were briefly given an introduction of the tour, and I remember Paco Magsaysay, owner of Carmen’s Best Ice Cream, say how “Quality means taking no shortcuts”. I would only realize the meaning of what he said later, when we were taken to plant and after showing the delicate intricacies of fresh milk farming.
I was amazed at how devoted they are to maintaining the quality of their products, as well as applying that motto in every step of the way. Carmen’s Best Ice Cream is the only local ice cream maker that uses fresh milk, so I figured one can’t expect less. The ice cream they produce don’t rely on artificial flavorings, colorings, thickeners, or powders, and they have been producing fresh products since the Cow Farm conception in the year 2007. We were told by Mr. Magsaysay that the dairy farm was established after Ramon Magsaysay Jr. retired from the senate in 2007.
The Real Fresh Dairy Farm, also known as Holly’s Milk Farm, was originally just a milk farm; it only produced milk! There came a time, however, when there was too much milk to handle. Paco Magsaysay then came up with an idea to help deal with the surplus milk without putting it to waste. He decided to make ice cream from the freshly-produced milk, and introduced it to the market. In 2011, the ice cream Paco produced was only available in his small village in Alabang.
It was only two years later, in 2013, when the ice cream—soon to be called Carmen’s Best (named after her daughter) — became available in Valero Street, Salcedo Village Makati. Paco Magsaysay’s clever idea (and hobby) of making ice cream from fresh milk became such a success that he even got awarded with the Keeney Award, the same award given to the makers of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream after taking Ice Cream Making short course of Pennsylvania State University College of Agricultural Sciences in the US. Today, Carmen’s Best continues to be known for its quality.
The plant supervisor proceeded to guide us into the safe zones of the plants. We were shown the equipment and machineries being used by the farm, which are all imported from Israel. We also saw how the milk, freshly harvested from the Holstein cows, are subjected to a “sweet spot” temperature—a temperature that is hot to kill the so-called “bad” microorganisms, but just hot enough to keep the so-called “good” bacteria alive, to preserve the milk’s healthy composition and creamy taste.
Mr. Paco shared to us that most milk brands in the local supermarkets that claim they’re “fresh” are actually not, as most of them are either made from powdered milk, or cow milk that go through Ultra High Temperature (UHT) processing, or Extended Shelf Life (ESL) processing. Milk that undergo UHT and ESL are not as healthy or as fresh as actual cow milk. In exchange for extended shelf life, the quality of the milk and the majority of good bacteria are killed by UHT. In exchange for extended shelf life, the milk loses its taste, and its mostly healthy components.
As our tour goest on, Paco shared that the they source their ingredients from different parts of the world. Vanilla beans are from Madagascar, and malted milk powder are imported exclusively from the finest plants in England. That meant that each spoon I was indulging myself in was made with tremendous effort.
“Mr. Paco’s “Quality means taking no shortcuts” motto from the beginning of the tour echoed inside my head. My experience in Carmen’s Best Real Fresh Dairy Farm is definitely a life-changing experience for a foodie like me.”
Carmen’s Best Ice Cream Flavors
Carmen’s Best Ice Cream currently has over 37 flavors to choose from. Their best sellers include the Salted Caramel (one of my personal favorites), Butter Pecan, Malted Milk, and the Brazilian Coffee. If you desire traditional, local flavors, you’re in luck because they have Coconut, Ube, Cheese, Macapuno, 4 Melon Sherbet, and Pineapple Sherbet for you to choose from.
For Classic Flavors, they have Butter Pecan, Cookies and Cream, Honey, Milk Chocolate, Rocky Road, Cookie Dough, Dark Chocolate, Maple Walnut, Salted Caramel, Strawberry and Hazelnut Fudge.
Carmen’s Best also offers wackily named International Flavors, which include Cereal Milk, Hokey Pokey, Madagascar Vanilla, Tres Leches, Butterscotch Pecan, Coffee Almond Fudge, Mexican Vanilla, Pralines and Cream, Kahlua Coffee with Alcohol, Malted Milk, Brazilian Coffee, Pistachio, He’s Not Worth It, Brown Butter Almond Brittle, Peanut Butter Clutter, StroopWafel, Noccio-La-La-La, Nuts About You, Pistachio and Almond Fudge, Twix Swirl, Almond Rush, Secret Breakfast with Alcohol and Turkish Baklava.
Don’t just try one flavor, try them all! For more information, visit www.carmensbest.com, or call/text at these numbers: (+632) 8092042 or +63 917 567 BEST (2378).