discuss the pig meat hegemony in Spanish cuisine it seems a complicated task. Not in vain, the famous ‘from the pig, to the walks’ is a mantra that we do not oppose and that we find more than satisfactory.
However, when along the way we meet mavericks like david sueiro (Vila de Cruces, Pontevedra, 1975) and Patricia Lawrence (Toledo, 1980) it is impossible not to raise your ear, pay attention to his speech and verify that from the chicken to the clocares.
chicken sausages (capable of entering the Inditex Christmas basket), organic eggs shared by chefs such as Martin Berasategui and that dazzled Amancio Ortega or a horizon, already underway, to take advantage of everything from your chickens. So much so that it forms part of the Arteixo businessman’s breakfast, since these eggs are present in the staff canteens of the Galician multinational where Ortega begins the day.
In between, a television crush that made them cross their paths and that now serves as a business —and personal— tandem that has turned Galo Celta into a benchmark of the vaunted —never better said— circular economy.
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From TV to the farm
Raising a chicken is not the same as making a company profitable. For the first, David Sueiro was exceedingly capable. He only had to follow the example of how his family had proceeded with the raising of birds for generations.
Making the idea profitable, making it grow and not ‘self-imposing’ doors to the field is another story. In that song, TV had a lot to do and it has managed, Although they don’t eat partridges, David Sueiro and Patricia Lorenzo are happy.
farmer looking for wife a reality show of four, was the television kick-off where they met from Pontevedra and Toledo and, since then, what could have been limited to a television set, mutated into romance and now they share vicissitudes through Galo Celta.
Sueiro’s experience with the chicken comes from afar, since rode Galo Celta in 2010, but the incorporation of Patricia Lorenzo to the commercial and management part of the company was the definitive accolade.
A life beyond the egg
Although he came to the world of organic farming out of conviction, the reality is that David Sueiro also needed a impasse of luck. It was in 2015, despite taking several years raising his chickens organically in Vila de Cruces.
Martín Berasategui crossed his path, though David’s persistence did the rest. “I met him at Madrid Fusión, I told him about my eggs and he asked me for a sample,” he explains. Within a week, Berasategui made him a supplier of his three Michelin stars in Oria.
It’s not the only one. Its eggs can be enjoyed in other Michelin stars such as A Tafona, in Lucia Freitas or in Marcel House (both in Santiago de Compostela), as well as in other restaurants without stars such as NaDo (A Coruña and Madrid), where even Iván Domínguez dares to cook David’s chickens.
However, between eggs and meat, there is another path that David explored and for which he Inditex’s inquiry was required. “We understood that selling a rooster was very complicated, we had the restoration and we wanted to get to the food, but we couldn’t get the whole rooster”, sums up David.
Inditex on the horizon
Like a Christmas story, Inditex came his way and during an agricultural fair, David opened his eyes. The way was not to try to sell their laying and mature hens as just another chicken, but to expand the horizons to the world of sausages.
I had already achieved enter with their eggs in the dining rooms of the Arteixo headquarters of the group chaired by Amancio Ortega, being the only eggs that are consumed in this economic engine for the region.
“At that fair, a person in charge of Inditex told me ‘David, in five years, 70% of the products that are on the market now do not exist’ and I realized the possibilities of chicken sausages“, he comments.
For this awareness, there were tests and the conviction of the differential value of their product. “They are meat hens, they lay few eggs and they are raised with great care, that’s why we did not want to make another product“, illustrates.
After the well-known tests, in which there were also errors, as he assures “we tried to add the rooster fat, but it rancid, and we couldn’t go overboard with the spices either because they loaded the flavor”.
“We made the formula of the recipe at home, we tried different paprikas, we also tried different ways of stuffing it… It was not arriving and kissing the saint,” he recalls. They have now reached a balance in which They produce a fuet and a chicken chorizo, of about 120 grams each candle, and which are available in a 100% recyclable and plastic-free tin container.
In Amancio Ortega’s Christmas basket
“They have been cured for three months and we were also clear that we wanted to eliminate plastics. We believe that there was no good poultry sausage on the market and that in addition nutritionally this sausage is a great product“, he comments.
Not in vain, the kings of the purchase of these cans, in addition to the Gourmet Club of El Corte Inglés, are the Inditex offices themselves, which use it inside their Christmas baskets. “It was an idea that was in the air because not everyone ate pork, either for taste or religious beliefs, so these sausages came in handy,” he adds.
Now, with a fine seasoning that does not mask the flavor of the chicken, this couple of sausages are made with a 80% of the chicken itself and 20% duck fat, “just enough to give texture and not disguise with flavor”.
Chorizo and Fuet Gallo Celta
All this obtained from very pampered chickens and roosters. “They are all meat animals, of slow-growing and very long-lived breeds. In the end, we have hens with good infiltration, well-shaped carcasses and a quality meat that is difficult to spoil in the kitchen“, he adds. A speech that he reinforces with his actions and with the concern for animal and environmental welfare.
On the near horizon, some marinades with goosebumps and open stalls, like the one they already have in the Plaza de Abastos Santiago de Compostela, where sells fresh produce of their chickens such as breasts, drumsticks, whole chickens, sausages and hamburgers.
Happy chickens in a happy environment
“We understood that in order to grow as a brand, one of our pillars had to be sustainability,” he explains, although he denies that it is only due to fashion. “We do it with conviction. In fact, we were among the first to have the environmental footprint calculated, that we have been putting up for six years, and we never use it as a sales pitch”, he exemplifies.
A battle that also involves keeping the chickens as happy as possible and, above all, in do not devastate the place where they are. “The chickens live as they want, that is obvious, but it is not enough to treat them well: we must be aware of where we are,” he says.
“For this reason, our chicken coops are metallic and when you have finished producing in a certain part of the forest, You disassemble them and leave zero impact. If you set up a cement farm in the middle of the mountains, you are going to leave that residue there for 800 or 1,000 years,” he narrates.
“Our production concept is to spend ten years on a farm and, after that time, go to another field to let it rest and that it is regenerated to seek a zero impact”, he clarifies. In the same way, its traceability is once again key in understanding the evolution and future of Galo Celta.
“Being sustainable makes you competitive”
“In Toledo we produce the eggs that we serve in Madrid to be close to the point of consumption and to be as fresh as possible. In Galicia we produce meat for sausages and the eggs for Inditex”, he explains.
with those wickers, the diet of the animal also matters, which they control to the millimeter. “They feed on cereals such as corn, wheat, barley and we give them protein through peas. Before we gave them soybeans and Inditex recommended that we remove it,” he adds.
In this fight with food, they also pursue sustainability. “It’s about that proximity is also in what the chickens eat. For this reason, everything they eat comes from a maximum radius of 250 kilometers,” he comments in a fight with the industry.
“Cattle feed formulas are standard. If you tell a manufacturer to make your own feed, they tell you to walk away. We get a Asturian company to develop our own feed and we achieve this by buying the raw material at source, so we buy the product very cheap”, he indicates.
“We have the abandoned and unproductive Spanish countryside and we paid for the raw material at surreal prices. It was ridiculous that they raised the price of feed and that the land next to you was uncultivated,” he laments.
Under this conversion umbrella, he alludes to the need to be sustainable. “At the same time, it makes you more competitive because it makes you more efficient. Think of returnable egg cups because the water consumption of the carton is brutal, or what is spent with feed that does not come in bulk,” he demonstrates.
The first version of this article was originally published on February 1, 2022.
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