The batipuertas (half-length doors used for protection when slaughtering animals outside the home) and the sprinklers reveal the meat-processing origins of Candelario, a town in the province of Salamanca that uses its surroundings to give a unique flavor to the ham. "The cold and hard climate of the Sierra de Candelario, at more than 1,100 meters of altitude, allows us to cure ham with little salt, thus lengthening its drying and curing time", says Antonio Redondo, Production Director of Redondo Iglesias. They also take advantage of weather phenomena: "depending on the prevailing wind, we open and close windows, thus promoting the curing of the ham, providing it with unique flavors such as rosemary, thyme or broomweed," adds José Antonio Fernández, factory manager.
"Instead of selling medicines, I prefer to work with ham. More than thirty years later I do not regret it”
Two visionary grandfathers
Antonio inherited not only the name but also the passion for hams from his grandfather. "My grandfather worked in a factory in Guijuelo and in 1920 he decided to start his own business buying a ham and cold meat factory in Valdelacasa (Salamanca)." Already in the 60's, Antonio's father, Gregorio, decided to move the offices to Quart de Poblet (Valencia), centralize the production of serranos in Utiel (Valencia) and move the ibericos to a plant in Candelario. "He bet on the future of his business and ours. He thought that in Valencia we would have more opportunities and that, from there, he could reach his main clients more easily". And so it was.
Antonio studied pharmacy, but when he finished he thought: "Instead of selling medicines, I prefer to work with ham. More than thirty years later I do not regret it," he explains smiling. He is proud to see that his daughter Inma is the fourth generation involved in this project his grandfather Antonio started in the 1920s, and that his father Gregorio, Inma's grandfather, gave him a boost in the 60s to become one of two Spanish companies which obtained an authorization to sell ham in the US in 1997.
In the hands of the millennial generation
Inma Redondo (29), who graduated in International Business Management and Administration, landed in the company two and a half years ago after having worked for a tax consultancy in Madrid. "The company's policy is that you must have experience in other sectors before entering." After learning about the business in different departments, she is now responsible for online sales. Amazon arrived with her. "We started in 2015 with the desire to venture into e-commerce. The results are being very good: our sales have grown and with Amazon's logistics(the FBA program, Fulfillment by Amazon), we are selling to places in Spain and Europe which would’ve been impossible to reach for us”.
A six-year creation in one click
The introduction of new technologies to market their products contrasts with the traditional way of curing ham. "We try to stay true to the roots: we raise pigs in freedom, as happily as possible, eating good acorns. With such a first class raw material we then move on to the slow process of drying and curing with an ideal climatology at a high altitude ", explains Antonio. It takes six years for a ham to go from the birth of the pig until it reaches the table.
Redondo Iglesias slaughters 40,000 pigs per year. In addition to sausages, they produce 80,000 pieces of ham, of which 30% are Ibericos. "40% of our production is exported and 60% is consumed in Spain", says Inma. "Selling through Amazon we have also been involved in the Foods & Wines from Spain program", an initiative of ICEX (a public entity that promotes Spanish companies abroad) and Amazon to stimulate the internationalization of the Spanish agri-food sector online”