1. COVAP: Valley of Los Pedroches Farming Cooperative 

COVAP is the Valley of Los Pedroches Farming Cooperative. This cooperative was founded in 1959 under the name “Breeder’s Cooperative of Pozoblanco”, however, after some months it changed the name to its current name. Nowadays, it is still located in Pozoblanco, a village in the province of Córdoba. COVAP makes and sell all types of product of breeder origin, related with the milk industry, the meat industry and from animal feed. The aim of this cooperative always has been to offer products of high quality from the beginning. Now it has near 4500 cooperating partners and it is one of the biggest Spanish cooperatives in terms of production.

2. Iberian COVAP: Hams from Los Pedroches

COVAP has different sections, depending on the type of product. Ibéricos COVAP is the cooperative’s section which refers to hams, ham shoulders and pieces of sausage that come from the pig. All the pieces come from pigs of 100% ibérico Bellota and nowadays, it represents the 15% of the production in Spain of products derived from pure Iberian pigs.

60 years ago, when the cooperative was founded, the first breeders coming from small farms of Iberian pigs joined to start up a common initiative, in order to obtain products of the best possible quality and create a new concept of food and agriculture cooperative. The main distinctive of Ibéricos COVAP on its elaboration method is the creation of the “White Room”. This has a space inside the slaughterhouses whose purpose is to guarantee the products manipulation in unique conditions of temperature and sterilization. In addition to having a next generation technology and highly-qualified professionals of the sector, it is an essential requirement for the exportation of food products to some countries, which only allow processed products treated in this type of places.

hams shoulders ibéricos covap

3. Story of Ibéricos Pata Negra COVAP

COVAP, as a cooperative, was founded in 1950 under the name of Breeder’s Cooperative of Pozoblanco. However, after some months it changed the name for its current name: the Cooperative of Breeders from the Valley of los Pedroches. Ricardo Delgado Vizcaíno was the founder of the cooperative, and he became its first president. During the creation process, some little farms of Iberian pigs joined the cooperative with the aim of transforming its products in order to market them.

In 1986 the cooperative begins its activity in the sector of the Iberian pig. The first slaughterhouse is built, which has a room for cutting and some curing dryers. It continues its national activity until the year 2000, when it begins its process of internationalization in trade relations. However, it is not until 2010 that it obtains the type approval to export its products to the United States. In 2005 it is opened a new Centre of Meat Transformation where all type of meat products are treated, expanding its reach in the Iberico industry. Products of Ibéricos COVAP have always been marked by its excellent quality however it is not until 2016 when they receive the Superior Taste Award to the quality of its ham High Expression with Designation of Origin Los Pedroches.

4. Fattening and curing in the Pastures of Valley of los Pedroches

The Pasture from the Valley of los Pedroches is considered the biggest extension of centenary holm oaks because it has more than 300.000 hectares of pastures. They are located in the north of the province of Córdoba, in a medium altitude of near 300 meters over the sea level. The field altitude, its fauna composed of a huge variety of holm oaks and its terrain make the perfect microclimate for the curing of Iberian pigs.

The holm oaks variety present in the Valley of Los Pedroches contributes in a very positive way in the animal alimentation. This adds a wide variety of acorns typical of the area and nature pastures, resulting in pieces with a widely nuance richness. All the pigs are raised in freedom and each one enjoys a total of 10.000 square meters. Also they are feed with natural resources from the pastures, which make each piece unique. Most of the pigs are of breed 100% Iberian and all of them are registered in the genealogical tree in order to ensure their origins.

These pastures are composed by Mediterranean forests. The climate of the area is mediterranean, however it has strong influences of the continental climate due to its proximity to the valley of Guadalquivir and to the plateau. It has cold winters and slightly rainy and dry hot summers. The continental Mediterranean climate and the ecosystem in the pastures are key factors in the process of curing and drying of the pieces. 

fattening curing pastures valle pedroches covap

5. Products Ibéricos COVAP: Ibéricos de Bellota from Los Pedroches

We can find different types of products related to Ibéricos COVAP. These varieties can range depending on the type of product or quality certification like the Designation of Origin Los Pedroches, among others.

  • Products “Alta Expresión Pata Negra”: The products under the line Alta Expresión are hams and shoulder hams 100% pure Iberian of cebo de campo or Bellota pata negra. The pigs from which the products are extracted are raised in freedom and have been feed with products that come from the pastures. If the products are from acorn, its alimentation is based on grass, thyme, brooms and acorns during the fattening period. However the alimentation’s base of the products of Cebo de Campo is wheat, corn and barley, rose in partial freedom. The salt used in the salting of the pieces comes from the salt flats in Odiel, located in the natural park of the marsh of Huelva. This salt is from the vicinity in order to guarantee a better curing process.

  • Products “Alta Expresión de Los Pedroches”: The products under the line High Expression Los Pedroches have the certification Designation of Origin Los Pedroches, one of the four D.O. which nowadays exist in Spain. This is a guarantee symbol of the quality and exclusivity of the piece, which comes from 100% Iberian pigs.

  • Products “Selección Ibérica de Montanera”: These are products elaborated with nobles’ meats of 100% Ibérico Bellota pigs. Its breeding and fattening is like the others that come from the products High Expression, however different parts of the pig are used in the elaboration.

  • Esencia Única: The products under the line Esencia Única are a selection of products derived from Iberian pigs, however they can be 50% Iberian or 100% Iberian. They can be presented sliced, boneless or with bone and can be of bellota or of cebo de campo. The elaboration process is emphasized in order to guarantee the highest quality.

  • Delicias Artesanas: The products under the line Delicias Artesanas are products of sausages delicatessen elaborated with the traditional recipe. All of them come from Iberian pigs of acorn and they are ready to be consumed.

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