Yesterday I took some clients from Thailand on my Iberian ham tour to the Sierra of Aracena, a mountainous area to the northwest of Seville. Even though it was 11 April, it was 6ºC when we got to the Iberian pig farm! This is not normal for the month of April. In fact, in Seville where I live I can’t remember such a mild start to the month and I have lived here for 30 years. The maximum, temperature today has been 15ºC in the city. Anyway, back to the tour. Due to the rain we have had over the last 6 weeks or so, the countryside where we went was as green as it has been for quite a while as can be seen in the photo of Iberian pigs below. This gret for the farmers as there is plenty for the pigs to eat and so depend on less feed.
The pigs in the photograph above will be gorging on acorns for around 3 to 4 months from October onwrds. The acorns come pricipally from 2 trees, the holm oak and the cork oak, with the holm being the most important. The trees are starting to bud at the moment (see photo below) and if the weather doesn’t mess things up there should be a plenitful supply of acorns come the autumn. When the acorn crop is large this means that a farmer can have more acorn-fed pigs and therefore benefit economically.
As with all my Iberian ham tours we also went to a curing facility where there are more than 200,000 hams being cured. We then went for a fantastic lunch in Aracena. If you look back through older posts there are quite a few about the Iberian ha tour.