The economy of Extremadura has been based for centuries on the supply of the different products below. The website www.extremadura.com contains a list of the main agriculture products of the region. It illustrated particularly gastronomic routes, wines and bodegas, ham and chorizos, cheeses and olive oil.
The Finca provides information for visits to nearby:
The slopes around Finca Santa Marta used to be renowned for their home made 14 degree “pitarra” wines (see wikipedia). Though winegrowing still remains a favourite pastime for farmers in the vicinity of the Finca, enotourism is now the buzzword activated by the association of professionals. The Extremadura wineries are asserting themselves through modern production technoques and marketing methods. The saturation of the wine market has not dented the dynamism of upcoming and optimistic entrepreneurs.
See links and blogspots:
www.extremadura10.com (ten best wines)
The local bar of Pago San Clemente, Bar la Higuera, serves the traditional pitarra wine, just one kilometre away from the Finca on foot.
Among the foodstuffs mentioned in the Alimentos de Extremadura, the brand name under which the the regional authorities promote the local produce, olive oil remains one of the most important. Its production of 50,000 tonnes (2011) of olive oil, in a country with a total of 1.3 million tonnes (the main area being the five Andalucian provinces), appears rather modest. The average weight perecentage olive to olive oil is the same.
“Almazaras” with traditional grinding and pressing installations are attached to larger farmhouses like Finca Santa Marta, and were the end-of-the-day destination of olive harvesting farmers. Gone are the burros (donkeys), and most of the wooden doors of their village homes now have solid steel frames.
Cooperatives with modern machinery now boast adjoining laboratories to produce the different varieties of olive oil, from the Virgen extra (lower than 1% acidity), Virgen, Virgen corriente, down to Lampante (more than 3% acidity) .
See more info at about Extremaduran olive oil at http://alimentosextremadura.com/oliveoils/?lang=en
See also www.extremaduraguide.com/olive.htm
It takes only a few minutes to peel the bark the cork trees, but its regeneration takes 9 years. 500,000 hectares of cork groves cover the Spanish-Portugese borders, moistened by an Atlantic breeze. The cork-oak barks are primarily treated in 150 companies devoted to the industry on the Spanish side. The truckloads on the Madrid -Lisbon motorway are a traditional sight. The first bark produced by a tree 25 years after its planting is only fit for insulation material. Only 2 x 9 years later, does the quality of the bark prove to be fit for topping the bottles. As the tree has a normal lifespan of around 150 years, it can’t provide more than 9 times useful quantities. Despite competition from the plastic industry, the manufacturers remain optimistic. The oaks are object of careful scrutiny by the conservation minded authorities: no oak can be felled without permission, not so for olive trees.
The hill with splendid views above the Finca Santa Marta has two patches of century old cork oaks, ideal shady spots for picknicking. The walkers notice however how every 3 to 4 olive tree shelters a slow-growing cork-oak: at its root, squirrels and birds hide the acorns for winter foraging.
The Extremadura cheese varieties enjoy an increasing reputation. In Trujillo during the traditional feast of May, many national and international cheese producers gather to display their delights in a festive atmosphere.
The following link contains information about the essential gastronomical items in the region: Migas, Frite, Zorongollos, Sausages:
Pigs and Ham
Foreigners are confused at the amazing price differences of the 5-8 kgs hams (called paletas) hanging at Spain’s meatshops, local-products outlets and bars: between 15 and 50 Euros the kilo.
- Extremadura produces….
- Many “Extremeños” have set up speciality bars in Madrid and elsewehere, offering rich chorizo “tapas” (see Internet site).
- The most favoured hams come form the area around Jabugo, Monetserio and Jerez de los Caballeros (between Trujillo and Sevilla); or from the Salamanca area. An important provider of “embutidos” (various types of cold-meat and sausages), Navidul (now belonging to the Campofrío chain) has its factory in the outskirts of Trujillo.
- Only recently, the true “iberia ham” producers from mainly Andalucia, Extremadura and Salamanca, whose pigs are fed in the country side on acorns, have succeeded in imposing a new regulation that distinguishes their hams from those from the “white” duroc “low-cost” cross-breed pigs.
- As more than 70% of the Spanish hams exported under the denomination of “iberic hams” were products of these less valued cross-pigs nourished with cereal fodder in industrial- scale barns, the authentic countryside farmers, subject to strict quantity/per hectare rules were bound to feel discriminated.
- Innovative label and brand rules are soon expected along the following lines: the denomination “100% iberian ham” is reserved to the elite of “pata negra”, or pure acorns eaten from the ground in the oak-estates or dehesas during their last 3 autumn months before slaughter (in winter); the hams produced from the half-breeds are only entitled to the label “iberian ham”.
More than 60% of the renowned Extremadura tomatoes comes from an are 50 km south of the Finca. Guests often mention the exquisite flavour and colour of these tomatoes which are produced and processed in nearby towns of Miajadas, Villanueva and further down near Merida. They are truck transported to faraway markets, even to Milan in Italy. The processing of “triturado” and “frito” is in hands of 2 rival tomato growers’ associations covering 59 cooperatives with 8500 members, producing between 60 to 80 million tonnes, at 74 euros the ton.
The recent introduction, however, of tomatoes from Morocco at 46 cents the kilo has produced alarm.