A farmer from Lorca 25 years ago insisted on recovering the breed that his parents raised
The Murcian flatbread, whose pig meats raised under its characteristic black fur are now eaten in good restaurants, was not so flat, not so black or so rich until not much more than a century ago, because at the end of the 19th century, in fact, nor did it exist. And more recently, in the middle of the 20th century, it almost ceased to exist after having emerged as the protagonist of the huertanos’ protein reserves, since at that time a decline began that almost made it disappear. Until now, 25 years ago, José Reverte Navarro, from Lorca, set out to recover that breed that his parents raised decades before.
Returning to its origin, more than 120 years ago, what then enriched the meat diet were black specimens that grew too slowly and barely had young, which logically was not very profitable. Those animals were crossed well into the twentieth century with other more productive varieties, such as the York or the Berkshire, and gave rise to new specimens identified by the naked eye by their snout sunk inward by the central part. These yes, they were already known as ‘flat’ precisely for this reason. The color, at that time, could be dark or light, depending on which genes of your ancestors of different races were predominant. The new animal, whose origin experts place in the Lorca area, fed Murcians for decades until the new American breeds arrived in the 1950s and, as an allegory of the geopolitics of the time, took over the command. and they almost wiped out our Murcian flats. The Landrace, Large or White, among other of these races, were more profitable, and the producers took good account.
The Imida keeps samples of a score of flats to ensure their survival
Our native pig was doomed to extinction, until in recent years, and with the prominent role of Reverte Navarro, it has been rescued for its high-quality culinary qualities. Not everything is already high production, now other things are also interesting, such as its particular soft and strong flavor at the same time. And those things are what the Livestock Ministry has transferred to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to be protected under the classification of ‘Native Breed in Danger of Extinction’. In its official breed catalog, the Central Administration points out that more than 98% of the copies of Murcian flatbreads are currently found “in their Community of origin, Murcia”, although the existence of two small lots has been “located of females in Andalusia and Catalonia.
Hundreds of specimens
Now work continues to develop a breed that still represents only a few hundred delicate and not very productive specimens (a Murcian flatbread takes three times to grow than the typical white pig that now abounds). The Animal Genetic Improvement Team of the Murcian Institute for Agricultural Research and Development (Imida) has worked to guarantee the recovery and survival of the animal, which is now raised on just a handful of farms.
The arrival of American breeds in the fifties was about to end this animal
If all goes wrong, the Imida germplasm bank (known by the acronym Bagerim), conserves the samples of more than twenty boars to ensure that they are not lost and avoid inbreeding problems. The future of the Murcian flat seems assured.