¿Qué es la montanera? La última y más importante etapa del cerdo ibérico

What is the mountain? The last and most important stage of the Iberian pig

In the breeding of the Iberian pig there is a period of special relevance in which the animals acquire the specific characteristics that finally give rise to our magnificent Torreón acorn-fed Iberian hams . We are talking about the Montanera, the final stage of its growth, in which the Iberian pigs live freely in the pasture and feed on acorns (of holm oak, cork oak and other varieties of the quercus family) and natural resources .

Our Iberian pigs spend these days in the best pastures of the Iberian Peninsula, which extend through Extremadura, Seville, Huelva and Córdoba. The shepherds of each farm closely follow the development of the Iberian pigs in Montanera to monitor their health and to guarantee that the nutrition is adequate and the animals develop naturally.

In Torreón we supervise the entire growth process of the pig , from its first days of rearing until the pigs enter Montanera. This means that we control the genetics and characteristics of the entire herd to guarantee homogeneity in our pieces.

Montanera period

The Montanera phase takes place between October and March, the months in which the acorns are at their optimum ripeness. For this reason, this fruit provides valuable organoleptic characteristics to Iberian pork meat , contributing unmistakable peculiarities to the flavor, texture and nutritional content of Iberian ham.

During this time, the life of the Iberian pigs goes by in a placid way, their day consists of eating, walking and sleeping, all enjoying an ideal natural environment. This practice has been maintained over time thanks to the traditional breeding of Iberian pigs.

pigs in Montanera Torreón

Pig feeding in Montanera

Regarding the feeding of the animals, it should be noted that fresh acorns are a great source of healthy fat, such as oleic acid, and are complemented with grass, wild herbs, roots and fungi that provide antioxidants , freshness and variety to their diet. All this results in the authentic flavor of Iberian meat, while more nutritious and healthy foods are achieved. Every day, our pigs eat around 10 kilos of acorns and about 4 kilos of other natural resources, but this varied menu is not free for them.

La Montanera, therefore, is a fattening period for the Iberian pig, and the animals usually double their starting weight, reaching around 170 kilos.

The physical exercise of the animals during the Montanera

On their walks, the pigs in Montanera usually take walks of about 12 kilometers a day in search of food. Precisely, the exercise they carry out in their daily life is what allows them to develop their muscle fiber correctly , with an adequate infiltration of fat in the lean meats to provide the juiciness typical of acorn-fed Iberian ham.

pigs in Montanera Torreón

Sustainability and natural habitat

The Torreón Iberian pigs enjoy 2 square hectares each to roam freely in the meadow during the Montanera. In addition to the nutritional benefits that this offers them, this tradition also contributes to the conservation of the Iberian fauna and the protection of its natural habitat. It allows native species to be maintained and the natural areas surrounding the mountains to be preserved.

Pigs do not simply swallow every acorn they find, their instinct and fine sense of smell allow them to select the ones that are ripe, discarding the still green fruits that will continue their natural process; then, with their mouths, they extract the fruit and leave the shells on the ground, with the benefit that this entails for nature.

In short, the Montanera is the most important stage in the development of Iberian pigs. Each day that they spend freely in the pasture, as well as the peculiarities or the natural resources available in this typically Mediterranean forest, influence the quality and nuances of flavor, aroma and texture of the acorn-fed Iberian ham.