Negrenses like pickled fruits and vegetables.
This is the story of how one woman built
her pickling business called T Flavors.
Teresita Hom always liked to cook good food for her loved ones and the friends dearest to her. But she never got into the business of food until she was almost 60 and ready to retire from her office job back then. While others went mainstream with food business, Teresita chose the pickling path. And the rest, they say, is history.
Mrs. Hom started her pickling by using quail eggs. Then she made mango chutney and the local candy made primarily of sugar, called the “butong-butong”. That was the year 1991. On that same year, she also became a member of the Association of Negros Producers, and she would continue to add at least one product to her brand each year, trying them out for market acceptance. Eventually, she had to drop the sugar candy because it was too tedious to prepare. Instead, she focused more on the pickling business because Bacolodnons loved their sour appetizers
It was needless to say then that Mrs. Hom’s appetizers, which she marketed under the name T Flavors, became a hit. She now has 10 different lines of bottled picked products that she regularly puts out plus more than 10 more salted bottled products of our local seafood. She also has toasted garlic and garlic chips. And of course, she also sells the “sinamak” — the spicy vinegar dip that I think most Filipino love. All of T Flavors offerings are meant as appetizers or side dishes, so it can perhaps be concluded that Filipinos crave so much for these products with their meals that one woman has built and sustained an enterprise out of it.
What makes T Flavors atchara special is the pickling solution. The ingredients are simple, says Mrs. Hom, but the ration matters a lot. And of course, the process should not be rushed, from the preparation of the solution, to the slicing of the produce, to the actual pickling process–everything takes time to get the perfect flavor, texture, and crispness of the pickles. You can buy them for your own consumption or as pasalubong. They are perfect with meals or eaten by themselves, to satisfy some cravings.
Today, Mrs. Hom’s brand is perhaps the largest manufacturer of bottled pickled products. She has distribution in Manila, Iloilo, Roxas, Antique, and in supermarkets and pasalubong centers in Bacolod, especially the Negros Showroom, both at the Robinsons City Walk and at 9th-Lacson Streets. The pickles can last for several months or even up to one year. However, Mrs. Hom would like to keep selling them freshly-made so she makes sure that production happens when there is a demand. She does not stock up so much of her products to maintain freshness.
T Flavors accepts export orders but only for their achara, the only product that they can supply regularly because papaya is available all-year round. All the other fruits and vegetables are seasonal so the indefatigable Mrs. Hom could not assure steady supply. For inquiries, please call T Flavors at (034) 433-1712.
The products of T Flavors go well with most Ilonggo dishes. You can have to enliven your meals of grilled, fried, or steamed dishes. Or you can also use them to enhance the flavor of a dish that you are cooking. Check out my recipe below: