To Market, To Market to Buy a Fancy Pig

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To Market, To Market to Buy a Fancy Pig


Ibérico Fresco -- traditionally produced 100 percent pure Ibérico de Bellota pork -- makes it debut on the East Coast at the NASFT Summer Fancy Food Show this week.

The annual trade show runs today through July 12 in Washington D.C.

Following its West Coast premiere at the 2011 Winter Fancy Food Show, food professionals from San Francisco to Los Angeles are embracing the prized, acorn-fed pork from Spain. Ibérico Fresco is also being distributed in select major markets by Los Angeles-based importer Lighthouse Trade Inc., which is also seeking additional qualified distribution partners.

Less than 10 percent of all Ibérico pork is certified pure Ibérico de Bellota, the gold standard for pork. The meat of the purebred Ibérico has health benefits so similar to olive oil that the Spanish call this pig "the four-legged olive tree." During the finishing period, or montanera, free-range Ibérico pigs have a diet that consists of mainly freshly fallen acorns in the "dehesa" (holm oak forest), which are rich in complex carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins and which give the meat a nutty flavor and health benefits for the consumer. The pork is thus high in healthy omega-3 fatty and oleic acids -- a monounsaturated fat known to lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and raise high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.

Fully traceable from farm to table, the pampered Ibérico porkers are all born onsite and raised by members of the Farmers Cooperative of the Valley of the Pedroches (COVAP) in southwestern Spain and certified humanely raised. The pigs are never injected with antibiotics or hormones and are never fed genetically modified organisms. With only one animal per hectare (2.47 acres) -- over twice the minimum required for certification -- there is plenty of room for the pigs to roam, root and exercise. The state-of-the-art processing facilities are inspected and certified by the USDA and are located onsite.

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