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  Beyond our curious minds: How are plants processed to form products? Last October 2, we had a fieldtrip in Agronomy to know the 5 major agricultural products the University is producing. These products are cocoa, coffee, coconut, abaca and rubber. The processes by which these products undergone were explained by Sir Fred and Sir Danny. The first product was cocoa. After 170 days from flowering, which is almost 5 months, the coffee berries are now ready for harvesting. There are three varieties of cocoa  –  Criollo, Trinitario and Forastero. A device or the material to be used in harvesting the pods is called lilik. It was also told to us that, the color of the pods are almost yellow or orange before they are harvested. Their seeds were fermented for 3-4 days in 35-40 0 C to enhance its aroma and to kill the embryo. After the fermentation, the seeds were washed and dried. The seeds must contain, 12%-18% moisture. From the dried seeds, it is now ready to be processed into different chocolate form. It can be in chocolate nibs.  And one of the most in demand product coming from cocoa is the cocoa butter used in cosmetics and other beauty products. It is also the ingredient used to make white chocolate. For the next products which is the coffee beans, four types of coffee were introduced  –  arabica, robusta, liberica, and excelsa. According to Sir Freddy, there are two types of how to harvest coffee. The first type is priming while the other one is stripping. Priming is the one in which mature berries are the only one to be picked. After the harvest, the berries will be depulped using a depulper wherein the parchment will be separated from the pulp. The beans produced will be fermented and dried. Dehalling and winnowing will occur after. The beans will also be roasted into different roast types  –  cinnamon, Italian, and French. For the coconut, once the inflorescence opened, 7 months to 12 months is the waiting time after they are ready for harvesting. After harvesting is the dehusking using tapasang or the dehusker. Then the coconut will be splitted into two and will be dried in a tapahang or drier which used charcoal. After the drying, the kopra would be produced where cooking oils are coming from. Another products of the coconut are fibers, gata, latik and many more.  After planting, 11 to 18 months will be waited for the plants to be harvested. As the smallest leaf appeared which is also called flag leaf, the abaca is now ready for harvesting. With a topping knife, the tree would be cut down. The pseudostems are the  source of taxi or ribbon to make abaca fibers. The upper part is called the balones which can be a growing media for mushrooms and can be used to make paper from its pulp. The lower part is the taxi. After gathering the taxi, the fibers would be gathered using two types of knife  –  serrated and unserrated. After getting the fibers, is their drying. After drying, the abaca fibers are now ready for other process to make it into another products.  And the last is the rubber tree. The tree would be ready to produce rubber after almost 7 years. The tree would be scarred in a counter clockwise direction to form a way into which the sap or rubber would ooze out. It was also instructed that to harvest more, it must be done in morning, almost 4 before the sun would rise. Rubber is used to make tire and slippers. It is also inserted into bridges to increase earthquake absorbance.  All in all, the trip is very informative and fun. We get to know some of the products we are able to produce. Our curiosity on how they are processed were already explained by the experts. How this products were formed into other products.
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