From extinction to France’s top jambon

Bigorre Noir pigs can flourish where other pigs struggle, and thrive in woodland grazing areas

Porc Noir de Bigorre is France’s top-table pork. The Connexion reports on the rare breed’s rise to ham 

The Porc Noir de Bigorre is the story of a race of pig which nearly disappeared.

Yet there is a happy ending, as there are now 60 producers with 1,200 sows and 10,000 males selling their top quality meat and hams – which each have an AOP label.

The pig comes from Bigorre, an historic area which is now mostly in the Hautes-Pyrénées department with a small part in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques.

In 1981, there were just 34 sows and two males left. During the second half of the 20th century their numbers dwindled because they did not meet the required standards for industrial farming. 

In the 1980s, a group of producers was determined the race should not die out, and with the support of artisanal charcutiers and help from specialists, they decided to carry on farming the Noir de Bigorres and prove it was worth doing.

They created a consortium to look after all aspects of production, from farm to table, and Alexandre Fonseca from the Noir de Bigorre consortium says it was necessary because ...

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