One thing that characterises the best Iberian ham is, without doubt, the fact that it comes from the dehesa or oak meadow. Life on the oak meadow means much more than allowing the pig to graze freely. We can provide a thousand examples of farm animals simply raised outdoors, but this will not always guarantee excellent breeding, something the dehesa ensures.
What is a dehesa and what are its key features?
Dehesas are large tracts of land, of which at least half must be assigned to grazing. They should also have acorn-producing trees (cork oaks, holm oaks and gall oaks) and highly diverse grasses and shrubs, chiefly of a Mediterranean type.
At least 5% of the area must provide roofed or covered shelter to protect and safeguard the livestock in the event of adverse weather conditions.
Dehesas are designed to allow animals to graze freely. And not just the emblematic Iberian pig; in dehesas you can also admire the beauty of the fighting bull, the thoroughbred Spanish horse and some breeds of sheep.
In addition to supporting this large number of animals, the dehesa also contributes to the conservation of several species of game and wildlife in general.
Benefits of Iberian ham from pigs reared in a dehesa
At Josep Llorens we are convinced that the best ham we can offer you comes from pigs reared in a dehesa. The diet, based on acorns, roots and wild herbs, fulfils its function, but the muscular development and the characteristic interspersing of the fat developed by the pigs during the montanera or fattening season is what ultimately defines the character and flavour of Iberian ham.
The dehesa produces meat of excellent quality with a high protein content, which is only possible if the animal can live freely, with a natural diet and in contact with biodiversity.