The main reason for a unique product
If there is a protagonist in this history, the culprit for everything we have created, that is the Iberian pork. He is the one behind all our Iberian Hams, Shoulders and Cold Meats.
It is impossible to talk about Iberian without talking about this animal. For this reason, it deserves a separate chapter.
As its name indicates, the pork is born and raised in the Iberian Peninsula. Its production is exclusive in Spain and Portugal, but not all regions are lucky enough to have this specimens!
In Spain, only Andalucía, Extremadura and Castilla y León raise the true Iberian pork in their pastures. That is why Iberian Ham is a product so deeply rooted in our country, our costumes and is already one of the foods par excellence of our gastronomy.
And why is such an exquisite product so exclusive?
Although Iberian Ham is nowadays within reach of almost everyone, it is still considered an exclusive product. This exclusivity is precisely due to the breed itself.
In Spain there are about 4,000,000 specimens, and only about 600,000 of them feed on acorns. It may seems like a lot, but 600,000 specimens are nothing compare to the number of palates ready to taste this exquisite.
We are not going to go into details of Iberian Ham, by now you probably already know it and, if not, it will always be better to try it than to read about it, right?
In addition, its nuances vary according to purity, feed and breeding site:
Acorn-fed Pork: The one who has the whole pasture at his feet. He grazes freely and loves to walk and travel several kilometers to eat acorns during the Montanera. It is strong and robust, which is why its fat infiltrates and results in such an intense flavor.
Free-range Grain-fed Pork: first cousins acorn-fed pork. They walk freely in the countryside, but they do so outside the Montanera season, so they feed on feeds and cereals.
Grain-fed Pork: the most “homemade” species. They are raised in barns and on farms and, like cereal-fed porks, are also fed on feeds, cereals and leguminous plants.
However, not all of the above are purebred: 100% Iberian are those that come from 100% Iberian breed father and mother; 75% Iberian refers to a 100% Iberian mother and 50% Iberian father; 50% Iberian porks come from a 100% Iberian mother and a Duroc father.
Acorn-Fed Ham 100% Iberian
Iberian Acorn-Fed Ham
Iberian Free-Range Grain-Fed Ham
Iberian Grain-Fed Ham
VALLE FERREIROS FARMHOUSE
Our porks are raised free-range on natural feed.
Welcome to the pastures of Alentejo, in Portugal!
This is where our Valle Ferreiros property is located, which is part of our essence, and where we raise Alentejana breed.
Imagine… A pasture of more than 500 hectares. Can you imagine how much it is?
All this space for our Alentejana breed porks… can only results in a sublime product!
In this case, we do not seek to fatten the porks, but rather to strengthen their muscles and bones so that they can take better advantage of the Montanera. The stronger and healthy they are, more kilometers they will travel in search of acorns and, the more acorns, more intense flavor in each piece!
And this is how, under the oaks and cork oaks of our Valle Ferreiros farmhouse, our four-legged friends walk, and walk, and walk, always looking for their favorite food, the acorn.
The porks of “The Royalty”. They are considered one of the purest breed in the Iberian Peninsula.
They are direct descendants of the Southern Boar (or Sus Mediterranean, if we get more technical).
But, what makes this breed so special?
Well, let’s say they have good genetics. It is robust and has a great capacity to store intramuscular fat (responsible for the infiltration of the ham).
He has not crossbreeding with other breeds and adapts wonderfully to life in the wild. With all the Alentejo pasture within reach, no wonder he loves to walk!
Currently, the Alentejano pork stud book has only 9,000 breeding animals registered, and at Julián Martín we are fortunate to have some of them.