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Creamy, porky Sqirl-made lard for great summer pies, biscuits on sale at farmers market

April 24, 2013|By Betty Hallock
  • Sqirl makes lard from the Mangalitsa pigs of Oliver Woolley, who then sells the jars of it at his stand at the Santa Monica Farmers Market.
Sqirl makes lard from the Mangalitsa pigs of Oliver Woolley, who then sells… (Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles…)

Oliver Woolley raises pigs north of San Diego and has been selling Mangalitsa pork at his tiny Peads & Barnettsafter stall at the Santa Monica Farmers Market. That includes Mangalitsa pork chops, shoulder, leg roast, ground pork and spare ribs, among other parts. Now he'll be selling jars of lard rendered by Jessica Koslow's Sqirl cafe. 

The Mangalitsa pig is a Hungarian breed known for the quality of its fat (the name means "hog with a lot of lard"), and Koslow has been making Mangalitsa lard -- creamy, porky lard -- for her East Hollywood cafe since she received her first half-pig from Woolley.

Koslow (who is also in the midst of expanding the tiny cafe) says she and her chef, Ria Wilson, use every part of the monthly half-pigs they order from Woolley. "We've made terrines, pate, hand pies with Bleu Mont cheddar and sausage, ham hocks, cured bacon, head cheese, heart tartare." (Koslow is known for her Sqirl line of jams, but before she became a master preserver, she had worked at Bacchanalia and Abattoir in Atlanta, the latter specializing in a butcher-centric menu.)

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Woolley recently has been selling Mangalitsa fatback, but that requires customers to render it into lard themselves.

At Sqirl, the Mangalitsa fat is melted and carefully skimmed, the pale lard then poured into jars. It's great for baking -- in pies and biscuits -- and as a cooking fat. Sqirl has prepared 100 jars for Woolley to sell at the market on Wednesdays, available for $9 a jar.

Santa Monica Farmers Market, Arizona Avenue at 3rd Street, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays.

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