The Basque Country
From 140 000 pigs in 1929, the number of Cochon Basque pigs had dropped to just 20 in 1981 when it was designated an endangered species. A few years later a group of Basque farmers led by Pierre Oteiza decided to save the pig and return to traditional methods of breeding and curing. The breed is now in the process of obtaining AOC status and numbers are back up to 5000. The piglets are weaned at 2 months and, from 4 months, live outside all year round, foraging for food on the wooded hillsides of the Aldudes Valley, some 6km from the French/ Spanish border. Their diet of nuts and roots is supplemented by a daily helping of grains to stop them straying too far from the farm.