Monday, June 29, 2009

Mosefund's Rolling Pigs

Michael Clampffer of Mosefund sent me the picture above. Their pigs climb up the bales and roll down them, hitting the pigs below.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Mangalitsa listed by "Daily Fork" as one of 2009's in Vogue Foods

The Daily Fork lists Mangalitsa, along with things like fennel pollen and grass fed lamb as "In Vogue Food Items of 2009".

I'm happy that Mangalitsa attracted their attention.

There is a big difference between Mangalitsa and the other listed items like grass-fed lamb or fennel pollen: that other stuff has been around, but its popularity has recently increased. Mangalitsa, in contrast, is new to the Western Hemisphere. It is quite rare now, but there's reason to think, based on European lard-type pork production figures and the embrace of Mangalitsa by quality-sensitive consumers, that Mangalitsa can develop a lasting presence in America.

The stage we are at with Mangalitsa is something like Wagyu in the 1990s: appearing in high-end restaurants. Right now, The French Laundry (Yountville, CA), The Herbfarm (Woodinville, WA) and Monsoon (Seattle, WA) serve Mangalitsa regularly.

In the end, I think Mangalitsa will have a bigger impact on American eating habits than Wagyu, because we will process Mangalitsa into convenient foods like salami.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

More "Mangalica" PR

Hungarian stamp honoring the Mangalitsa breed.

As I mentioned before, LaTienda is marketing "Jamon Mangalica".

They have a new press release, which, in addition to making claims I've already discussed, says that "Mangalica" is pronounced "mahn-gah-lee-kah".

In Hungarian, the "c" sounds like "ts" - so the Hungarian spelling "Mangalica" sounds like the English spelling "Mangalitsa". You either choose the Hungarian spelling or the American spelling. Each has its tradeoffs - but they both sound the same.

I'm happy La Tienda will be promoting Mangalitsa products (although I've got some reservations), because the more they promote the breed, the more it will help Wooly Pigs and other American producers to sell our Mangalitsa.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"National Culinary Review" on Mangalitsa

Reprinted from The National Culinary Review, June 2009, Vol. 33, #6 ©2009 The American Culinary Federation, Inc. All rights reserved.

The National Culinary Review's June 2009 issue has a 4-page article on pigs. The Mangalitsa gets a lot of ink. The article mentions Michael Clampffer, CIA graduate, traveling to Europe to learn how to fatten and process Mangalitsa pigs from Chef Manfred Stockner of Zum Weissen Rauchfangkehrer.

I know Chef Stockner reads this blog sometimes. He will surely recognize the photo at the top as his own dish, photographed in Vienna. I've seen photos from Chef Stockner's kitchen all over the web. For example, the pig you see here is the same as the two carcass photos you see here.

Later in the article, the Mangalitsa gets close to a page about how special it is, and how promising its future in the USA:

Reprinted from The National Culinary Review, June 2009, Vol. 33, #6 ©2009 The American Culinary Federation, Inc. All rights reserved.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Mangalitsa Dinner in Princeton

Michael Clampffer told me that the restaurant Elements in Princeton is having a Mangalitsa dinner. The guest chefs are Aki Kamozawa, Alex Talbot. Aki and Alex run the interesting blog "Ideas in Food", which features things like powdered lardo,

Friday, June 19, 2009

Mosefund Farm Finds Market for Exotic Mangalitsas

Mosefund made their local ag paper: "Mosefund Farm Finds Market for Exotic Mangalitsas"

It will be neat to see how people respond to their first batch of pigs.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Small Farms in Spain in Trouble

When I discuss Spain's pig sector, I normally mention the Iberian Black, a breed similar to the Mangalitsa.

I saw an article today about Spain's small pig farms going under:

Alberto Herranz, director of pig traders' association Ancoporc, predicted that some of Spain's less profitable pig farms would close in a the next five years.

"What we need to watch out for is whether or not this shift will leave production in the hands of large concerns, and if slaughter rates will be the same," he said in an interview.

Ancoporc estimates that 33 percent of Spanish pig farms on average raise less than than five head per year, and 25 percent less than 120 per year.
5 head of pigs per year is a hobby. The returns someone can get from fattening 5 hogs is almost nothing, because it doesn't take much labor or land to do it.

They don't mention it in this article, but the transformation in Spain's pig sector is like that happening in Southeast Asia: smallholders are exiting the business as some producers modernize things. The modern producers are much more efficient than the small guys.

Anti-Microbials in the News

Anti-Microbials are in the news. I'm happily surprised the Chronicle quoted so many people - vets, scientists and farmers explaining that treating animals improves their welfare:
"Our experience in veterinary medicine is that the use of measured, extremely small amounts of these compounds actually lowers mortality rates and reduces pain and suffering of livestock and poultry."
People who raise animals under regimes that forbid treating them with modern methods are in a jam: they know their animals suffer unnecessary morbidity and mortality, but the rules forbid them from taking steps to prevent unnecessary suffering and death.

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All siblings, the wormy pigs are 12 and 15 pounds, while the uninfected one is 90 pounds.
Yearbook By United States Dept. of Agriculture

There's nothing romantic about dead, sick or stunted animals - yet that's what you get if you don't give them what they need to be healthy.

In the end, I think the tide will turn against standards like "Naturally Raised" when consumers come to understand the toll they take on the animals and the producers (who have to deal with the sick, dead or stunted animals on a daily basis).

Whidbey Island Mangalitsa

Are there people who live on Whidbey Island and want to eat Mangalitsa pigs raised and slaughtered on Whidbey Island?

I got an inquiry today from a farmer there. He'll buy more pigs if there's more demand. If you are interested, please send me an email -

His case is interesting: a friend gave him a pie whose crust was made with Mangalitsa fat. The fat quality was so outstanding he wound up calling me to see about getting some pigs. This is another example of someone being exceptionally impressed by our fat quality.

I hope that one day it will be possible to go out and get tamales made from Mangalitsa lard, filled with Mangalitsa pork. That's a pig-based dish that uses up the meat and the fat.

Animal Byproducts Good for Little Pigs

Wild boars - big and small, prefer carrion.

A customer asked me if my pigs are fed a vegetarian diet. I explained that they aren't - because the best way to take care of little pigs is to make sure that they get the animal protein they need to develop well. Of course, pigs being fattened for slaughter have entirely different needs (even though they fight over meat).

I've written about this before. The reason I bring it up yet again is that in the course of doing nutrition research, I came across the following studies which suggest that denying weaner pigs animal protein (to please certain customers) could be bad for the pigs' health - just as traditional outdoor farrowing leads to unnecessary mortality:
Influence of a Vegetarian Diet Versus a Diet with Fishmeal on Bone in Growing Pigs

The effects of spray-dried blood meal on growth performance of the early-weaned pig
Pigs wag their tails when chicken is for dinner.

Most consumers who say they want vegetarian pigs probably don't know how unnatural vegetarian diets are for pigs. If they knew how denying piglets animal protein can hurt the piglets' development (without making humans any safer), they'd probably start insisting that piglets be fed appropriate (and traditional) nutrients like cooked chicken heads.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Rye and Triticale - Excellent for Fat Quality

Master Butcher Marcel Kropf

One Austrian expert I know swears by the addition of rye or triticale to a barley-based ration. He is a custom butcher, so he's killed countless pigs, finished different ways on different farms. He's been able, over the years, to learn what feed makes fat that is hard, white and without off flavors.

One American Mangalitsa producer asked why wheat, rye and triticale improve fat quality in pigs over a barley-based diet. He wanted a scientific justification for our advice.

I couldn't find any information in English (to be expected). I did find a German-language PDF that explains why rye is such a great thing to feed pigs. In a nutshell:

Rye is low in PUFA, so the resulting fat keeps and doesn't taste off.

Rye is low fat, so the pigs have to synthesize the fat. That gives the fat a neutral taste.

Wooly Pigs and other Mangalitsa producers take fat quality very seriously. If you read reports from Mangalitsa consumers, they often bring up the incredible fat:
Fat in desserts - The Magic of Mangalitsa Pork

"But the other night my final tablespoon of mangalitsa fat transformed an ordinary ..."

"Porcine Foie Gras"

"But even the fat is special..."

"Creamy and intensely flavored this is beyond any bacon you’ve ever tasted."
and so on.

Of course, some people also bring up the incredible meaty flavor of Mangalitsa - but it is the fat that usually impresses them so much.

After writing this, I ate a bit of my own Mangalitsa lard and was struck by how light and clean-tasting it was.

Mangalitsa Production in USA as of June 2009

The map shows farms who are either fattening Mangalitsa pigs or about to take delivery of pigs.

The ones offering pigs to the public are listed on the website.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Google Books on Fat Quality

Laurence Mate, in his post about Stan Schutte's Mangalitsa market hogs, quotes "Swine in America", a book written in 1910, when lard-type breeds like the Mangalitsa were very popular:

Since about the beginning of the present century there has been much written and printed in advocacy of what the writers term ‘bacon’ hogs, and the importance if not necessity of giving more attention to their production and less to what are disparagingly designated a ‘lard’ hogs; extolling the higher prices and the virtues of lean pork and the superiority of the lean or non-fattening breeds and types, including Razor-Backs, all claimed as yielding the much-coveted streak of lean and streak of fat.

I suspect he got that material from Google Books. Google Books is useful to people who raise lard-type breeds or who want to produce pork ideally suited for cured products, because it has complete books from the 1800s and early 1900s, when lard-type hogs and fat quality were important topics.

If you just use Google Books to search for "quality of bacon", you can find all sorts of useful information, which is consistent with our modern understanding of fat quality. To demonstrate this, here are some excerpts from various books available via Google Books. Some are from the 1800s and some from the 1900s:

Text not available
Experiment Station Record By U.S. Office of Experiment Stations

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The Irish Industrial Exhibition of 1853 A Detailed Catalogue of Its Contents ... By Dublin. Great Industrial Exhibition (1853), John Sproule

Text not available
Swine husbandry in Canada By F. C. Elford, James Burns Spencer

Text not available
Treatise on the Breeding and Managemnt of Live Stock In which the Principals and Proceedings of the New School of Breeders are Fully and Experimently Discussed By Richard Parkinson

Text not available
First principles of feeding farm animals a practical treatise on the feeding of farm animals: discussiing the fundamental principles and reviewing the best practices of feeding for largest returns By Charles William Burkett

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Bulletin By Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station

Google Books is one of my favorite Google services. I appreciate it more than my local public library. It took minutes for me to round up that information. It didn't cost me anything. If one didn't have Google Books, you'd have to pay researchers to visit libraries and find the information manually, which would be completely impractical.

Triple-S Farms in Illinois (Stan Schutte)

Stan Schutte of Triple-S Farms bought some Mangalitsa pigs a while back. He sells a lot of meat in Chicago. Here's some media references I found:
Stan Schutte's Triple S Farms in Stewardson shows off the benefits of going organic

Schutte's Sustainable Success

Chicago Reader on Schutte

Laurence Mate blogged about his Mangalitsa market hogs (75% Mangalitsa), including a nice photograph. I wonder who those special customers are:
Unfortunately, none of this Mangalitsa will be making it to the local market yet. These pigs have all been purchased in advance, and their owners are planning to come down to Stan’s farm in the fall In the fall, with a group of interested chefs, to slaughter, butcher, and start cooking and curing these pigs right there on the farm...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Lard Cake, Lard

I found a cake recipe that calls for lard.

Text not available
The art of German cooking and baking By Lina Wachtelborn Meier

In general, I suspect that if a recipe calls for vegetable shortening, one can probably substitute lard. I'm not a pastry chef though, so I recommend consulting food scientists or perhaps doing some experiments.

There's a bias against using lard in pastry, yet as this old book says:

Text not available
Good lard is far better than poor butter...

It sounds believable to me that good lard would be better than poor butter. I'd rather eat wonderful Mangalitsa lard than lousy butter.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Wild Boar Documentary

German TV made a documentary about wild boar. I've written about wild boar before. In this video clip below, you can see a sow stealing carrion from a boar. She manages to make off with some of the meat without getting bit:

Pigs love meat.

When the females are in heat, the boars focus on the females, not the food. When they aren't in heat, the pecking order decides who gets the good stuff.

Domesticated pigs like the Mangalitsa behave the similarly. The little guys try to get a piece of the good stuff (in this case, a bag). The big guys normally get what they want, without much fighting:

If you watch the video of the boar eating, you'll see that he steps on his food and pulls with his head. Pigs don't have hands, so that's how they eat. The same happens in this video:

Here's some scared wild boar running from humans:

I think these Mangalitsa pigs run a lot slower, perhaps because they are so fat:

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Meat Processor Acquires Mangalitsa PIgs

Your days are numbered, piggy!

I just saw an article about a meat processor, already well-known for Mangalitsa products, acquiring a bunch of Mangalitsa pigs. They've got 50.

The article mentions him buying 40 pigs from Hungary, but some of them farrowed two days later. You wonder why the seller didn't hold on to them and farrow them himself. I'd guess the seller is getting out of the Mangalitsa business in a hurry. Hungary is really hurting.

Buying the pigs allows the meat processor to have control over what the pigs eat. For instance, his won't be eating any soy.

Wild Boar in Iraq

I found a neat story about wild boar and their pork in Iraq.

Mosefund Update

Mosefund - - has a new website, including photos, testimonials, etc. They have a nice facebook page too.

I just spoke with Mosefund's Michael Clampffer. Their first batch of pigs is sold out - every piece is either going to high-end restaurants or individuals who want to eat Mangalitsa.

They'll kill more pigs in August. Now is the time to call Michael if you want some.

Their big event is in January 2010 - 3-day classes where people will kill, butcher and process their own very fat Mangalitsa pigs.

Hungary: Bargain Tourist Destination

I've written before about food-oriented tourism in Hungary. Hungary's currency has depreciated by 30% in the last few months, so it is an incredible bargain. Airfares are cheap.

I found that picture above on flickr. There are so many places in Hungary where you can eat great food. The idea of being able to do it at bargain prices is very appealing. You can probably just visit Budapest and get all the good stuff (including "mangalica") - but if you are interested in seeing live Mangalitsa, you'll need to get out of the city to see them.

I'm hoping that one day, it will be possible to go to a casual restaurant (not just one of the USA's best) and get a plate of cold cuts like the one shown above.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

El Cerdo Mangalica - corrected the link

Here's the correct link to "El Cerdo Mangalica". When I made this last post, I got it wrong.

I really like the antique drawings at the end of the presentation, showing that Hungarians, in the 1800s, were leading the way in modern farming technology: farrowing houses and automatic feeders.

An English-lanaguage book full of this stuff is Harris on the Pig - from 1870. if you read it, it is clear that confinement has been considered the ideal way to raise pigs for at least 130 years. If you click and read the text, for example, you'll see that crowded dark barns (with fresh air) are the best for fattening hogs - because they "do not require much exercise":

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Harris on the pig breeding, rearing, management, and improvement By Joseph Harris

Here's an old-school farrowing house, along the lines of the one Mr. Toth includes in his presentation:

Text not available
Harris on the pig breeding, rearing, management, and improvement By Joseph Harris

El Cerdo Mangalica

There's a presentation online about Mangalitsa pigs - "El Cerdo Mangalica", or the Mangalitsa pig (in Spanish).

As this slide shows, there are lots of problems with purebred Mangalitsa. Essentially, the pigs are too fat and too expensive, because the sows produce so few pigs a year:

The presentation explains that F1 Mangalitsa x Durocs (50/50) help because they've got desirable carcasses and decent daily gain figures. As the slide explains, they use Mangalitsa sows and Duroc boars. That is not efficient: Duroc sows would give them more pigs per litter. But requiring the use of purebred sows ensures that producers maintain the genetic diversity.
The presentation continues, explaining that the purebred and F1 producers are symbiotically helping each other. I myself am very skeptical of this. The guys who raise purebreds probably hate the "brand dilution" inherent in F1 producers calling their pigs "mangalica". It explains why the people who bought purebred Mangalitsa pigs from me are bothered about the Hungarian standards allowing F1s to be sold as purebred - even though the F1 product tastes exceptionally good.

To try to gauge the possibilities for purebred Mangalitsa in the USA, I'm trying to find out more about the Lampino market in Spain. The Lampino is the variety of iberico most like Mangalitsa: fat, unprofligate and producing the best meat. I suspect there is a small market in America for purebred Mangalitsa. Just as some will pay a lot for purebred Iberico products, some will pay a lot for purebred Mangalitsa products.

The presentation has some nice photos of Pick's products and includes a lot more information - including reprints from Playboy that described Mangalitsa in very positive terms.

Anyone interested in Mangalitsa production ought to look at this closely.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Poulsbo - The Loft

I just delivered a lot of Mangalitsa-sired pork to The Loft (Poulsbo, WA) today. They are right on the marina. They'll make pulled pork sandwiches and sell them to tourists.

Hopefully it will work out well for them - Poulsbo gets tourists from Bainbridge Island and from the boating crowd. The boating crowd likes to eat and drink well.

Orcas Island Pigs

Click photo to see the greedy climbing pig.

Geddes at the Inn at Ship Bay sent me these photos of the pigs I delivered a while back to Maple Rock Farm.

The photo at top is neat - the climbing pig on the left is very hard to see with his stripes.

They've rooted the grass.

Pretty pigs.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Mosefund's Rooting Pigs

Mosefund has one area with 30 small pigs - 75% Mangalitsa genetics.

They figured they'd be able to grow some pasture, then quickly rotate the pigs from pasture to pasture, allowing the plants to regrow. Bill Vingelen at the Herbfarm thought the same thing.

As pictures from Michael show, it is easy to underestimate the destructive capability of pigs. They don't just graze - they dig up the roots and eat them.

Mangalitsa pigs, according to the Iowa herdsman, are the "rootinest" pigs he's ever experienced. In his 40 years of working with pigs, he's never experienced ones that root so much.

Here's an untouched pasture:

Here is a pasture with the pigs on a little bit. Notice that they really destroy certain parts more than others:

Pigs crowd the fence.

Here's a pasture with the pigs on it less than 5 hours (adjacent is one they wiped out):

Here's a wiped out pasture. It tooks the pigs 24 hours to accomplish this:

One method to stop pigs from rooting is to ring them. Putting rings in their noses allows them to graze, but stops them from destroying things as much.

Although most iberico finish in pens, some of them spend 90 or so days running around outside, eating special feed. In order to stop them from destroying the environment, the get ringed. Here you can see a stock photo showing the process of ringing an iberico.

The ringing phenomenon illustrates something I've brought up before: when you run pigs indoors, there's no need to ring or spay them; when you want to do things outdoors, you either mutilate the pigs more or produce much less efficiently.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Mosefund Pictures

Michael at Mosefund sent me some pictures of their Mangalitsa pigs cooling off in wallows. The pig with its eyes covered looks ridiculous to me.

Michigan Mangalitsa Pig Slaughter

Mark Baker (Bakers Green Acres) killed one of their Mangalitsa pigs for a customer in Ann Arbor who ordered one. They sent me some pictures that show much of the process.

Mark with the bell scrapers.
The dual-purpose cauldron. Used to scald pigs and also cook up food to feed them.

Mark is a state-licensed slaughterer and processor, so he can kill pigs for people who want to buy them.

Because he does the kill on the farm, he's able to arrange everything so that the animals are minimally stressed. That ensures the meat is of the highest quality, in addition to making it easier on the pig, who doesn't have to be loaded on a truck and sent away to slaughter.

Ready for the Ann Arbor pig roast!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Small Farm Story in New York Times

There's an article in the New York Times about some people running a farm on which they have some pigs.
They traded the fairway view for Nature’s Harmony Farm in Elberton, Ga., 76 acres of rolling fields and woods that had become overgrown with weeds. Once they started reading about how to restore the land without using the pesticides recommended by their county extension agent, they learned that they needed to create an entire ecosystem. Before they could get any horses, they’d have to employ cows, chickens, sheep and pigs. “Between the manure they deposit and what they graze, the land comes back to great health,” Tim explained.
The primary focus for these farmers is on how they produce things, not what they produce. Wooly Pigs exists to provide consumers (starting with me) with a unique and delicious food. To that end, the company imported the Mangalitsa and associated production methods. If it was possible to get the pork without the pigs, I'd be all for it.
The Youngs know that most people will choose to buy the cheapest meat at Wal-Mart, but they were determined to preserve rare breeds. As they walked the farm on a February afternoon, they were alternately surrounded by Ossabaw and Berkshire hogs rooting through the woods (the endangered Ossabaw descended from Iberian pigs abandoned by Spanish settlers on a Georgia island 400 years ago); noisy heritage-breed turkeys perched on a log; movable pens of sheep and docile Murray Grey cattle (one of two breeds recognized as Kobe beef in Japan);
Details: Berkshires aren't rare. Also, Murray Grey are often crossed with Wagyu - but they themselves aren't recognized as Wagyu - those are two separate breeds.

More importantly, small farmers can't do a lot to preserve breeds, because they have to focus their limited resources on producing and staying in business, not breed preservation. The small amount of demand they create for rare breeds isn't enough to keep those breeds going. This is unfortunate.

If a small operation wants to help breed preservation most efficiently, they should probably specialize on one breed, due to the high cost of keeping a genetically diverse herd. That's why breeders (private sector or otherwise) specialize: running one program with 6 boars is better than running two separate programs with 3 boars.
But nothing could prepare the Youngs for the realities of full-time farming — like finding 25 dead piglets that had been abandoned by their mothers... Their decision to raise animals without the use of antibiotics or medication means that some get sick and die. “You have to have values to get through those kinds of days and those kinds of conditions,” Tim said, “to say: ‘I’m sorry that that animal died, probably because we didn’t feed her any worming medication. But she shouldn’t be here.’ And that’s a really harsh thing to say. But you really set out of a love of the land, not a lack of love for the animals.”
If you run pigs outdoors, you have to count on losses - particularly in cold weather. Someone who farrows outdoors might wean 5 to 9 pigs, depending on the weather.

That's why many animal-centric producers like indoor farrowing; it prevents needless mortality. People focused on the animals will tend to make more and more environmental modifications, in an effort to optimize conditions for the animals.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Mangalitsa-Sired Pork at The Loft, Bryce Lamb

I'll soon deliver a bunch of Mangalitsa-Sired pork to The Loft in Poulsbo, WA. Chef Bryce Lamb - Mangalitsa enthusiast - hooked me up with them.

When Bryce was at Brix 25 in Gig Harbor, he used Mangalitsa pork, particularly in ravioli. He is going to visit the Wiesners this Fall and process pigs with them. By the time he's been there a month, he ought to be pretty good at it. I heard he's also going to Spain.

The Loft will probably be making pulled Mangalitsa-sired pork sandwiches. As Mangalitsa supplies expand in the coming months, more restaurants will be able to serve Mangalitsa.

Nov 28, 2010 Edit: Bryce ultimately became America's first Mangalitsa Chef - as explained on that page, he spent several months in Europe, learning all he could about lard-type pigs from Europe's experts. Article on Pig Breeds

Mangalitsa and Gloucester Old Spot

There's an article in about pig breeds. It features the Gloucester Old Spot.

I refer often to a study that compared different kinds of breed-specific pork. The Gloucester Old Spot scored very high on eating quality. The Mangalitsa, being an extreme lard-type hog, isn't like the others. Among other things, in the study, it had the darkest meat and the most marbling (in one case, an astounding 11.8%, where 2.3% is average for the USA).

Ranked by principle components, the Mangalitsa was in its own category, while the GOS placed next to Berkshire pork from the UK and the Hampshire.

When I read the article, I had a number of thoughts.
The pork we sell at Marlow & Daughters is all from heritage-breed pigs, but while most chefs agree that these animals taste better, no one seems to be able to say why they do or even why some breeds are more popular than others

Scientists study why some breeds taste better than others. Their explanations involve genetics and chemistry.

It is important to keep in mind that pork doesn't need to be purebred to taste great (even if some purebreds do taste the best). Europe produced 2 million head of lard-type hogs last year, most of them crossbred. Those crossbred hogs probably all tasted better than any purebred Pietrain hogs. Genetics are the primary factor determining meat quality, but that doesn't mean purebreds offer optimal eating quality, or even the optimal price to performance ratio.
Yezzi relates a story get rid of a particularly aggressive Ossabaw boar that chased him around the barnyard one day.
That's one reason why that feral breed is doomed.
Perhaps Yezzi sums it up for all heritage-breed farmers when he says, “Pasture-raised, rare, heritage-breed pigs just taste the best.”
Looking at the domination of the super-premium cured products market by 75% Iberico crosses, most of them raised entirely indoors, I'd disagree. Taste is a function of chemistry. Things like genetics, feed, sex and age at slaughter matter more than whether or not the pigs spend time on pasture.

Whether you talk about mass produced Iberico products, or small-scale Mangalitsa, pasture isn't very important.

E.g. these Mangalitsa, in Austria don't have any pasture. They have a small piece of hillside and a bunch of muck. But due to their genetics, feed, age at slaughter and stress-free slaughter, they taste incredible:

On the mass-production side, you've got food pornography like this:
"INTRICATELY marbled dark mahogany folds of ham, each with a generous edge of satiny cured fat, peel off the antique slicer at the Cheese Store of Beverly Hills."
You should keep in mind it probably comes from pen-raised Iberico like the ones pictured.