Sheep tongue, that quirky main ingredient of a souse of the same name; that Bahamian soup that is a prized part of post-junkanoo mornings and laid-back weekend gatherings has made its way on the shelves of numerous food stores after a local business-man found a way to make it consumer friendly.
David Turnquest, the owner of Premium Processed Foods, explains that the idea of Premium Processed Sheep Tongue, came from watching his mother, Rachel Turnquest, ‘battle’ with the meat for over 20 years. He decided he was going to gift Bahamian cooks with an easier way to prepare the much-favored dish. Turnquest approached the task with a personal philosophy he applies constantly to his goals:
“Uncover a problem, create a solution, you can create wealth.”
He looked at the sheep tongue preparation process as a problem and decided to go after reducing the prep time from three hours to 30 minutes.
He explained that when the idea of Premium processed sheep tongue came to light, he had no money.
“I was told to formulate the idea. Someone saw the potential and they were moved to give me my company, they helped get me started.”
Premium Processed Sheep Tongue became a reality.
“There is no more boiling, peeling or cutting up. You can go from my package straight to the pot to cook,” Mr Turnquest said.
He explains that the raw sheep tongue form has to be de-skinned, which calls for an hour and a half to two hours of boiling, which eases the removal of the coarse out covering of the tongue. After the sheep tongue has been peeled and cut up, the meat then goes through a vacuum process where the thick layer of fat produced in the cooking is stripped off. Reduced fat and cholesterol will be welcomed by the more weight conscious.
Turnquest says that all of the heavy work is done for the consumer, so in minutes they are able to enjoy ‘a nice steaming hot delicious sheep tongue souse’.
The idea for this ‘ready to cook in minutes’ meal, which started September 2009, took three years to be developed and reach the stage it’s to now where it is being distributed by D’Albenas Ltd and sold in food stores throughout Nassau, Freeport and Abaco.
In addition to the health aspect Premium Processed Foods’ Sheep Tongue is also cost effective. Turnquest says, “One package costs $35 and serves five 16- ounce cups of souse. “You save from $20- 40, because the average price for one 16 ounce cup is anywhere from $12-15, depending on where you buy it.”
Mr. Turnquest is pleased to report that, “the product is getting good reviews now,” though he does admit that the market has plenty room to grow. He reveals that the hardest part of trying to promote his product, is getting people to try it. Nevertheless, Mr. Turnquest aims to have the pre-packaged sheep tongue accepted and enjoyed worldwide. The challenge ahead is to achieve product certification by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). A born entrepreneur, Mr. Turnquest describes The Bahamas as a country with great potential. “Sheep tongue has allowed me to have a sustainable cash flow. We now have other products, Bahamian products that have been identified that can do 10 times more.” Mr. Turnquest is also determined to empower young people. His advice to upcoming business persons? “You first have to understand what your objectives are and then always remember that, “your business is as successful as the plans you have for it; your life is as successful as the plans you have for it.”

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