“Our meat has a traceable lineage” says Mr.O.K.Sanjit, CEO and Chairman of DLG, the parent company of RANCH PORK.
I was drawn to the On Flea K solely because of news from foodies far and wide about a rather exciting stall that was wooing everyone with their amazing pork barbecue! I wound up at the Ranch Pork stall with the tantalizing aroma of barbecue being my sole guide! Tending the pit and dishing out plate upon plate of glistening, barbecued pork chops, succulent grilled ham and juicy ribs, (all smothered in a house made barbecue sauce that was beyond mind blowing) was a rather jovial individual whose excitement and energy was quite contagious. Ranch Pork sold out on both days during lunch and dinner; which was of course no surprise! The people crowding the stall fell in love with the tender, delicious meat and the pure effervescence that was O.K!
The following Saturday found me in conversation with Mr. Sanjit at the swanky DLG office in Tripunithura. As an individual who was well travelled, he did have some exciting tales to share with me…about the time he became a cook at a mutual friend’s house in the US when his visa expired or how about the time he turned from cook to accounts manager due to his prowess with numbers or how about the time the accounts manager turned owner of several companies…yes…Mr.Sanjit had some fantastic tales to share!
A farmer by choice, Mr.Sanjit had his beginnings in the field of electronics, then sales, real estate and finally into farming. “Money doesn’t excite me. The excitement and challenges of new ventures is what I enjoy. My work chart is like a rocket…it rises and drops…but I do that on purpose because I need a constant sense of challenge.” Explains Mr.Sanjit.
|In action at their food stall|
Ranch Pork was a venture that was entered into solely for the reason of trying something new. With a deep rooted love for animals, Mr.Sanjit decided to try a hand at farming and livestock breeding. From breeding the company moved to sale of pork meat and products sensing a wide opening for the same. “Goa, Kerala and the North East are the largest consumers of Pork. Till 25 years back, only black pigs was available for consumption. These pigs have no ancestry to trace and their meat is not of the best quality. Pork meat should be rose in colour with good marbelling” Ranch Pork provides consumers with top quality cuts and products made from white pigs that are grown in the most hygiene of environments and can be traced back to their great-greats in France!
When the common man thinks of livestock breeding, the used to concept of mating a random animal with another surfaces. That’s not the procedure at DLG. Here, they go down to the DNA level to ensure that the resultant offspring is in every way perfect. This is possible through the use of a rather fascinating software (yes, software!) into which data of the pig in question and its relatives are manually entered. The software then does its share of mix and match to arrive at which boar and which gilt (a female pig that has not birthed) or sow would produce the ideal set of piglets. There are mainly three strains of dominant pig genes in the world: Land Race, from Europe, Large White, again from Europe and the Duroc from the US; most of the offspring are a mix between the three strains.
To explain the software to me, Mr. Sanjit brings in Dr.C.P.Gopakumar, Managing Director of DLG and a pioneer in pig breeding. Prior to DLG, Dr.Gopakumar was working with the Kerala Government in the Livestock Development Board for 18 years. Credited with introducing the Duroc breed in India, Dr.Gopakumar gets right down to business and shows me a hands on run through of the software. “Each of our piglets has a tag which gives every details possible about it; right from its mother and father, grandparents and great grandparents to when it was last vaccinated, its weight etc” shares Dr.Gopakumar. He then proceeds to show me details of a piglet’s grand uncle in the UK and I was beside myself with wonder. The breeders, farmers and sales outlets that handle Ranch pork is also traceable right to who processed the meat and where! This ensures that a safety net is thrown on the product with reference to good quality and hygiene.
The pork farms are located in Mysore, spread across a 100 acres. This farm is the largest producer of Traceable pork in India. The farms upholds international standards through its computerized breeding and feeding programs, management systems and hygiene practices. After birthing, the piglets are fed concentrated feed, corn, rice, ragi and maize. After they reach 20kgs, they are handed over to documented farmers for fattening. When the offspring reaches a desirable weight of 120kgs, they are bought back from the farmers by DLG. “120 kgs is the standard/ideal weight for a pig. At this weight, the meat to fat ratio is pretty much even. After 120 kgs, the fat ratio increases and the ensuing product becomes less than desirable.” Says Dr.Gopakumar
“Our hygiene conditions at the farm are extremely stringent. Even if I want to visit the breeding area, I will be put under quarantine on a resort located in the farm for 48 hours. On the 49th hour, I will be allowed to visit the breeding area, after a chemical cleanse and appropriate attire!” shares Mr. Sanjit. Ranch Pork supplies portioned meat- Prime cuts, chops, ribs, around 10 types of loins and baby back ribs and processed meat products such as sausages, bacon, ham and salami all throughout India.
There are several non vegetarians who have an aversion to consuming pork. This stems from the belief that pigs are unclean animals. The gentlemen at DLG believe that the knowing the pedigree of an animal helps dispel many of the quality and hygeiene rumours surrounding the animal. Around 90% of the animals that come to Kerala are from the roadside but DLG provides meat that is traceable and high in quality.
“The time at which meat is cooked and consumed is quite crucial. For the meat to be juicy after cooking, it should be able to hold water. The best time for consumption is 2-4 hours after the meat I processed. Do not put the meat into the fridge fresh from the butchers as this reduces water holding capacity. This makes the meat dry and mealy once cooked” Says Dr.Gopakumar. DLG thus does not sell pork wholesale to suppliers. The meat stored at the right time and temperature is packaged and branded and then sold to various suppliers. The product has been such a hit that advertising was not really deemed necessary for the time being. Word of mouth has been their greatest ally, what with satisfied customers spreading the word across town.
“It took 7-8 years to build up Ranch Pork. The first two years were dedicated to the set up. No business becomes successful without a solid base and that is what we did to get a strong stand in the market. We are sure we can keep our customers happy and thusly we can be assured of a positive future for Ranch Pork” says Mr. Sanjit in conclusion. Letsstalkfood wishes you more success for the years to come!
Visit: Ranch Pork Farms to read up about the company. You can also purchase products online, home delivery available.