Pork, pork and more pork is the theme today. We are on a Meat Adventure to Long Ranch Inc. Long Ranch is a family run pork producer located in Manteca California This small family run business started in the 50’s and now processes 8,000 Duroc crossbreeds annually. It is located on a country road in the middle of Manteca farm land. This is a destination that you would probably never casually drive by. In fact I drove right by it the first pass. Once I was in the driveway I had two options for entrance. There was a big barn that said “Enter Here” and a small shed that said “Meat Market”. My nose pointed me away from the “Enter Here” barn and chose the Meat Market.
The door was locked but I could see the meat cases full of pork products calling me to purchase. I went to the barn and went inside. If you do visit Long Ranch be prepared for a sensory adventure. This is a pig farm and there are certain odors and sights that are unavoidable. I found two helpful yellow aproned employees and we returned to the retail part of the farm.
The retail store was not a whole lot to see except several refrigerator cases and a counter. This was a pork lover’s dream though. Sausage, bacon, ribs, roasts and even stuffed pork chops were available. I filled up my cart with multiple items. I asked the clerks numerous questions about the farm. They were more than happy to answer. They then brought me back to the barn for a small tour.
This section may not be for everyone. We are so used to seeing meat products clean and packaged that viewing and smelling live animals adds another dimension to the adventure. We went into the barn to see the holding pens. This is where customers can pick out a live animal for processing. The pigs seemed happy and actually approached us. They were separated into various sizes. There was a large scalding tank. Customers who want a whole pig pick one out and it is dispatched and cleaned immediately. It can be roasted whole or sent down to another butcher 10 miles down the road for cutting and wrapping.
Long Ranch Inc. is a great destination for fresh pork products. We just tried some spare ribs last night and they were fantastic. The Duroc Cross is flavorful and tender. We cannot wait to try the bacon, sausage and stuffed pork chops. Today’s adventure was a true meat experience. The sensory smells and sights of a real working farm makes it real and personal. I cannot wait for the next Meat Adventure. In fact we are driving 10 miles down the road to see the next butcher who cuts and wraps Long Ranch hogs.