Continuing the work on the farms where the Monte Nevado Iberian pigs are in the height of the montanera (mast-feeding) season, we find ourselves at the optimal and key moment of this incredible period during which the animals graze in the fields and feed on a diet of acorns and grass.
Midway through the month of January, the assessment of the farms in Los Pedroches Valley containing 70% Holm and 30% Gall oaks, is that they have developed favorably due to the climate of the previous weeks.
One of the Monte Nevado Iberian pigs under an oak tree in the farm of Los Pedroches Valle.
The acorn from the Gall oak has ripened and now the oak takes center stage as it provides the pigs with their much appreciated food. The animals have consumed 50% of the fruit of this tree. An uncharacteristic 15-20% of ripe fruit still remains on the branches, which means that between what lies on the ground and in the crown of the tree, there is more than enough to get through the final months of the montanera.
Sweeping view ofLos Pedroches Valley where we can see the grass beginning to grow.
Rainfall over the last few weeks and the end of the bitter cold that ravaged the early part of December has favored the growth of grass over this level and deep surface. This will now help produce a good montanera season.
In Los Pedroches Valley, the animals are surrounded by vast farmland and must do a lot of exercise, which is a very good thing since it is one of the factors that most contributes to the development of good meat.
Animals feeding on acorn and grass in the meadows of Los Pedroches Valley.
The farms in the region of Ronda have high quantities of acorns because they include three species of the Quercus genus: Gall, Cork and Holm. With the presence of the three species, the fruit germinates on different schedules and ripens progressively among the three different types. The growth of the grass in these fields is a bit more difficult, with greater growth concentrating in the lower and cooler areas.
The Iberian pigs of Monte Nevado feeding at the farm in Ronda.
As we can see, there is an abundance of acorns in all the farms, exceeding the amount produced during last year’s montanera season.
Given the intense cold from the early part of December, the acorn has now ripened properly and is in full splendor. With the recent rainfall and the end of the extreme cold, the montanera season may turn out to be exceptional.