Raza ovina lojeña o Rabuda
The Lojan or Rabuda breed is a breed of sheep on the verge of extinction. Lojan sheep live in Sierra de Loja and Sierra de Parapanda areas in south central Spain as free-range animals in communal pastures with an exclusively organic diet. The sheep’s rusticity stands out in their adaptations to their natural surroundings. Their appearance is representative of their environment, featuring fine limbs and a small frame. Females weigh approximately 40 kilograms, while males grow to around 60 kilograms. These animals are raised for their meat, which is commonly traded in the form of ternasco (lamb) weighing 8 to 10 kilograms. The lamb is a seasonal product that is mainly offered when there is enough pasture to guarantee an adequate amount of nutrition for the growing lambs. Generally, they are available in the markets at the end of spring and fall. Due to a completely natural diet during all phases of production, the Lojan lamb has distinctive meat that is deep red in colour with only a small amount of fat. It has an aroma reminiscent of the grassy fields that is quite recognizable and is highly valued in the region. When carved, it offers meat of superior quality in popular cuts like the shoulder, the leg, and the ribs that are used for barbeques, cooking on a skillet, and in the oven. There are also many more cuts that can be used for stews, a dish that has its own special regional identity. The production of this lamb is well integrated in the local gastronomic culture, as it is often served in restaurants of the area and it is present in gastronomic tasting events that occur in the region. The historical area of production includes the Sierra Gorda and Sierra de Loja, with about 20,000 hectares that extend to the end of the cities of Alhama de Granada, Zafarraya, Salar, and Loja. The Sierra has rich pastures full of indigenous flora including multiple varieties of thyme, rosemary, and other indigenous plants. The Lojan sheep breed is central to the economy of some of the towns where it is produced, being the main source of income for many of the people that have settled this rural area. Meat is sold in the local restaurants and shops, and there are currently 32 organic breeders of the Lojan sheep. They are all certified by the Andalusian Committee of Organic Agriculture.