If you like ham, the Spanish food company La Tienda is betting you'll just love the meat from the Hungarian Mangalica pig, a rare breed that almost disappeared less than 20 years ago.Any endangered species that can easily be farmed and that tastes good seems up for salvation this way. I look forward to the day that New Zealand's Department of Conservation wakes up and allows weka farming. They look delicious.
The distinctive Mangalica pig—known as much for its curly hair as for its fatty flesh—was saved so it can be sold and eaten.
At one time, only 198 purebred pigs remained in the world. Farmers preferred other breeds. "The corpulent Mangalica grows very slowly and cannot be kept in closed quarters. It is therefore poorly suited to modern industrial pig farms, and it has been gradually replaced by modern breeds," according to the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity in Florence, Italy.
The resurrection of the Mangalica has been the mission of Juan Vicente Olmos, the head of Spain's Monte Nevado ham company, and geneticist Peter Tóth, who tracked and purchased the last pigs from farms scattered throughout Hungary. After less than two decades of intense breeding, the Mangalica population has now increased one-hundred-fold, with 20,000 pigs living in Spain and Hungary.
If you're hungry for Mangalica ham, it’ll cost you, though. A nine-pound ham goes for $490.
Thursday, 25 June 2009
Save them by eating them
Boing Boing today points to the heartening story of the Mangalica pig, saved from the brink of extinction by a breeder rightly convinced that they could become a delicacy.