A Spanish delicacy is at home on the Texas range
One of the most delicious foods in the world is trotting into Texas. Right in the middle of cattle country, Spanish pigs are making a land grab. It's a shock to many, who thought it was impossible to raise this melt-in-your-mouth meat in the United States. But against the odds, a Spanish delicacy is now grazing southeast of Austin.
If you want to know what happens when pigs actually do fly take a look around the Acornseekers farm. Manuel Murga flew 150 Iberian pigs over 5,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean. Almost no one thought the Spanish pigs would thrive on American soil.
"No, no, no. Absolutely not," said Murga, co-founder and COO of Acornseekers.
But after three years of keeping a watchful eye, a Spanish delicacy is at home on the Texas range.
"We love them," said Murga. "We are like an historic producer."
The first in America pig farm sits just outside Flatonia. It's where 3,000 pigs now outnumber the people two to one.
Murga and his business partner, Sergio Marsal, picked this place because the climate and landscape are a lot like southern Spain. But what really sets Central Texas apart, and has the pig population exploding, is getting cracked open one nut at a time.
"Those pigs love to eat acorns," said Marsal, co-founder and CEO of Acornseekers. "It makes a big difference."
Pastures dotted with live oaks and littered with acorns are bringing a European tradition to America. The Iberian pigs can eat up to 20 pounds of acorns a day.
"As soon as they see acorns, or they smell it, they go crazy looking for them," said Murga. "They cannot stop eating acorns."
All the free-range munching is what gives the Iberian hams their sweet, nutty taste and buttery texture.
"The color, the taste, the sensations in your mouth are different from a normal pig," said Marsal.
The CEO says the pork is even cooked differently.
"You can cook it rare. You can cook it like beef," said Marsal. "This is juicy, colorful and tasty and it's healthy, healthy meat."
Cuts of the organic pork are now being shipped to over 50 high-end restaurants. It's what happens when pigs fly and two Spaniards decide to go after the American dream.