About This Producer:
Aljomar is a family-owned and operated company specializing in the finest quality Iberico pork products from Spain. Although the company is relatively young, 20 at present, its founders, with Mr. Alfonso Sánchez Bernal at the head, have an extensive and varied background in the food industry, upon which they have forged an authentic specialisation in ham, meat, cheese and pork cold cuts in Spain.
Way back in 1972, Don Alfonso founded his first business, 'LA SALAMANTINA,' located where it still stands today on San Jacinto 73 in Seville, in the popular district of Triana. He went on to open another establishment at number 61 on the same street, which, after various extensions and remodelling, now covers a surface area of 800 m2.
Don Alfonso's entrepreneurial spirit drove him to create a similar complex to this one on Villegas Marmolejo Street, in the same city, called 'JAMONES Y CARNES,' with a surface area spanning 1,200 m2.
At this point, in order to supply the incredible demand for Iberian products from his businesses in Seville, he decided to open a plant in Guijuelo in 1989 called 'JAMONES ALJOMAR.' So Don Alfonso rented some facilities that would help to turn his entrepreneurial idea into a reality, by ensuring the required level of stocks, profitability and quality.
Towards the end of 1990, DON ALFONSO began planning a project to build his own plant in Guijuelo, which was inaugurated on 12 December 1992.
The growth that ALJOMAR experienced was so significant that 8 years later, in 2000, plans had to be drawn up to expand the facilities. This project was finished in early 2002 and brought the total surface area to 18,000 m2.
Today, JAMONES ALJOMAR is equipped with advanced, state-of-the-art facilities for preparing and processing Iberian products, which conform to the strict EEC standards and have the capacity to slaughter, process and store 50,000 pigs a year.
Protected from the central mountainous region of the Iberian Peninsula, the privileged microclimate in this area with its cold, dry winters and its short, mild summers is an ideal setting for our hams to dry and mature perfectly. In this area, with its unbeatable microclimate, every day hundreds of artisans, who are sons and grandsons of artisans, slowly and masterfully create the Guijuelo Iberian Ham, which is a 'one-of-a-kind in the world.'
Starting in the 15th century, news began to spread of the appearance of mule drivers, who would go on to play a bigger role in the economy of this municipality, which had until then been linked to the name of Salvatierra, which was the county seat. So in the Land Registry for Ensenada, 19 mule drivers were registered in Guijuelo, while in the county seat for the Council there were none. Guijuelo, however, was still shown in this Land Registry as a farm and stock town.
Up until the War of Independence, these mule drivers (traders) traded grain; afterwards, they began picking up hams in the area of Sayago and Benavente. By replacing the mules for carts, they increased their mobility and could make longer journeys, and this is how they were able to reach the North of Zamora and Galicia.
This situation continued until the last quarter of the previous century, when in 1880 pigs began to be slaughtered through industrial processes, which was supported by the construction of the National Motorway and the railroad. A famous saying in Spanish refers to the dates when the matanza or slaughtering would traditionally take place throughout Spain: 'A cada cerdo le llega su San Martín,' which literally means 'You reap what you sow' but it also refers to the date of 11 November or St. Martin's Day. From 1880 onwards, however, the need for food converted the traditional slaughtering, which had been carried out in a rural setting in Spain towards the end of October and early November, into a routine and repetitive task that was carried out from October through to May. So this event of slaughtering and searing the pigs on the street could be witnessed throughout these months of the year.
All of this, along with its climatic and geographical conditions, allowed Guijuelo to relegate the farming and stock sector to a less prominent position and to set up a framework for further economic development, which saved it to some degree from the rural decline that was witnessed in the rest of Spain.
This emerging industry drew the attention of numerous farmers from towns in this area. Many decided to move to Guijuelo in search of a better future. Logically, this immigration boosted the Town in population and in manpower, which were factors that also contributed to its economic and social development at that time.
The boom that Guijuelo underwent at the beginning of this century influenced the decision to set up the Weekly Market and the Annual Fair there, as well as granting it the title of Villa de Guijuelo, whereby giving it certain privileges over other villages.
The weekly market and annual fair became the perfect occasion to trade in the region and to introduce the farming and stock products grown there, as well as to sell products elaborated in the town.
Another important event in the consolidation of the pork industry was the inauguration of the Municipal Slaughterhouse in 1935. That year 30,000 pigs were slaughtered at these works. The slaughterhouse modified the slaughtering system explained above, making it more profitable.
After the Spanish Civil War, industry in Guijuelo, along with the rest of the country, underwent a quite serious crisis, from which it was able to recover.
From the 1960's onward, Guijuelo and its pork industry have grown considerably and today our town is one of the top Spanish producers of Iberian pigs throughout the world.
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