LOCAL SUCKLING PIG WITH GLOBAL FAME
Alexandre Aubin, Nicolas Aubin and Bernard Giguère, co-owners
Gaspor, a family farm
A suckling pig exclusively fed on milk, with no antibiotics or growth hormones, under conditions that respect the animal
There was a time when the members of the Aubin family were conventional pig farmers. Since breeding piglets became increasingly important in the farm’s activities, the “young ones” Alex and Nicolas decided to devote themselves to it. Today, they are co-owners of the Gaspor farm with Bernard Giguère, and they raise only piglets in the Lower Laurentians. Their parents, Céline Brosseau and Marc Aubin, still work on the farm, along with 17 other employees who make this company a success that is spreading across Canada, the United States, the Caribbean and Japan, where prestigious restaurants, hotels, specialty chains and fine butcher shops share these exceptional products.
Treated with special care
The Gaspor Farm takes every possible care in raising their piglets. The milk recipe that these little pigs are fed is fully balanced and has all the elements required for their growth, ensuring that the meat has a unique tenderness, flavour and taste. The piglets are also treated with special care. The well-being of each animal is ensured at every stage of production, earning the farm a Canadian Quality Assurance (CQA®) accreditation, which recognizes food safety and respectful methods for raising pigs.
From Saskatchewan to the Gaspé (then to the Lower Laurentians…)
For the record, it all started during World War II, on the other side of the country. Young Norbert Aubin, son of a Saskatchewan farmer, did not escape conscription and went to Montreal to prepare for his imminent departure for Europe to fight with the Canadian army. However, Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945. Norbert then decided to go to the Gaspé region, where he met his wife Raymonde in Bonaventure. He then settled down near Montreal, bringing a part of the Gaspé (his wife) back with him. His son Marc, seeking to revive the Aubin family tradition of farming, enrolled in agronomy in Saint-Hyacinthe, with a view to raising and producing pigs. At the same time, a certain Céline Brosseau enrolled in horticulture. Her father had founded a chicken rotisserie that rivalled St-Hubert rotisseries at the time. They got married and honeymooned in Spain. AND THAT IS WHEN LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT HAPPENED BETWEEN THE AUBIN FAMILY AND WHAT THEY CALL “CULINARY CULTURE!” “In Quebec, we were used to mass production in the pork industry… My parents discovered that there could be a genuine link between producer and consumer, that production could be done on a small scale, and that this was immediately reflected in the flavour of the product,” says Alex Aubin. Marc Aubin and Céline Brosseau went on to build a farm in the Lower Laurentians, where they raised pigs in the traditional way for several years, until they could devote themselves to their passion, suckling pigs, 90% of which were destined for restaurants.
And the rest is history, as they say.
Nicolas has a bachelor’s degree in administration from Université Laval. Alex has a technical diploma in farm management and operation from Cégep de Joliette.
Having been raised on the farm, Alex and Nicolas don’t have to look far to find the initial spark in their adventure with piglets. “We had the fortune to grow up surrounded by love, from our parents and the workers who are now part of the family. We were also surrounded by animals. It’s a dream life that Nico and I have tried to reproduce. It’s simple!”
Cutting, marketing and distribution are entirely done by Gaspor. This makes it possible to offer customers numerous cuts adapted to their needs while ensuring consistent product quality. But there is also a very big challenge that the farmers face: making sure all the parts of the piglets are sold, not just the rear end!
The warm welcome of restaurant chefs, which has helped the company grow and succeed.
Alex Aubin is very happy. He says he is totally satisfied with his life and the way things are going at the Gaspor Farm. His aspiration? To keep it that way! It must be said that the Gaspor suckling pig is remarkable. It has a much more generous marbling than other pork products. Its fat is whiter and firmer. After cooking, it retains a creamier appearance and a lovely consistency in the mouth. Its fat is similar to duck fat and olive oil in terms of oleic acid, omega-3 and omega-6 compounds. And how about its thin skin: so crispy, colourful and tasty!
The speed at which Gaspor suckling pigs have made their way to the gourmet public, first in Quebec and then beyond! “A special thank you to Simon at Les Entants Terribles, whose advice and co-operation have been instrumental in our success,” Alex says gratefully.
One brother (Alex) loves eating octopus. On the other hand, the second brother (Nicolas) likes lobster. Their Gaspé origins are clearly visible, despite the world of pork they live in! However, the third co-owner, Bernard, prefers pepper steak.