Leaf lard lends to traditional cooking style

By Carl Clutchey
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Chronicle-Journal

Conmee, Ont. — A cooking additive that was likely a staple in your grandmother’s pantry appears to be making a comeback close to home.

Conmee hog farmer Shaun Groulx has begun selling leaf lard, a dairy-free, pork fat that can be added to pie crusts and used in pan frying.

“More and more, people are becoming interested in traditional ways of doing things, which includes cooking with lard,” Groulx said on Friday.

While opinions among experts about the health-related aspects of leaf lard differ, it is free of harmful trans fat, which are banned in Canada, and is believed to contain less saturated fat than butter.

Leaf lard fell out of fashion in the 1960s, displaced by hydrogenated vegetable oils now known to cause heart and blood-sugar problems.

Leaf lard doesn’t taste like pork because it’s taken from areas around a pig’s kidneys and loins.
For Groulx, production of the additive on his family’s farm adds another locally-made product to the Thunder Bay-area food market, and also allows for less waste.

“We aim to use the whole hog,” he said.

At their Enders Road farm, Groulx and his wife Melissa raise about 50 Landrace-Duroc cross-breed pigs between spring and fall before they are ready to be processed. The pigs roam around free-range, “digging in the dirt” for roots and insects.

“They have really long snouts,” Groulx said.

Product and ordering information can be found on Groulx’s Facebook page — Sunset Country Farms.