When Laura the Butcher decided to make jamon a pinnacle fixture of MEATBAR, you better
believe there was an arduous selection process involved. When the decision was made to hang
cured meat in this Lincoln Avenue window, you can trust that only the highest quality product
Fermin is a family-owned business with a rich history spanning 65 years of curing the world’s
finest Iberico products. You’ll find the roots of this tradition in La Alberca, Spain, in the province
of Salamanca within the Sierra de Francia. Resting at more than 1,000 meters above sea level in
the heart of a preserved National Park, this small village has the perfect microclimate for cured
meat products to dry and age naturally.
What started as a necessary way to preserve meat for the sake of family survival has since
turned into an artisanal craft. But don’t be fooled into thinking that the globalization of the
Fermin family’s industry has turned them into a careless conglomerate. Not by a long shot. The
entire production process is still conducted in the traditional process and strictly controlled by
scrupulous Ham Masters.
In 2005, Fermin became the first company authorized to export Iberico products to the United
States. Fermin later went on to prove compliance with the world’s strictest legal and sanitary
requirements on their way to breaking into the markets of 20 different countries worldwide.
Fermin is proud to boast that they have been the first Iberico supplier to homes and restaurants
in countries such as Japan, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Australia, Puerto Rico,
and Latin America. All the while, Fermin’s Iberico pigs are still raised and lovingly tended among
the magical landscapes of Spain’s Salamanca region. The company is now operated by Fermin
Martin’s two children, Santiago and Francisca.
In October 2016, following an innovative vision pursued over the course of many years, Fermin
obtained the Certification of Organic Industry. This distinction makes them the first company
able to export organic Iberico pork meat to the United States. Go figure that you can now find
these hand-crafted meats in little ‘ol Steamboat Springs!
So what’s all the fuss over Iberico pigs?
The magnificent Iberico pig is a unique breed that is a direct descendant of the wild boars that
used to freely roam the Mediterranean basin. Allowed to openly graze the wide pastures of the
Dehesa (a unique ecosystem found along the Iberian Peninsula), Iberico pigs are favored for
their specific body chemistry. These animals have the ability to develop fat infiltrations within
their main muscle groups, creating the perfect marbling effect you’ll find in the finished meat.
Moving freely and comfortably between the trees and shrubs of the Dehesa, these Iberico pigs
spend the last 3-4 months of their lives gorging on acorns. The acorns are found growing
naturally within this region and the pigs are left unrestricted from eating as many as they want.
During this period of their lives, these animals are known to consume between 6 to 10 kilos of
acorns and will typically double their body weight.
This extensive grazing also requires these pigs to widely roam the ecosystem in search of food,
which in turn naturally develops their overall physical condition. Known to walk upwards of
15km daily, the subsequent physical conditioning of the pigs initially slows their fattening but
facilitates the production of more natural fats. This free-range, nurtured grazing process is what
ultimately provides the amazing juiciness and perfect texture of the jamon you’ll find at