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Foie Gras Production

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Linguafood pointed out an article that Kenji Lopez of seriouseats.com posted today. He and some other folks went on an all-access tour of a duck farm where foie gras is produced. He talks about the conditions there, the production methods, and the ethical issues that have been raised. IMO it's well worth a read...

http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/12/th...

  1. Makes it taste soooo much better!!!!

    1. I recall a write up of Hudson Valley Foie Gras at least a year ago, with very parallel content. The writer concluded with a comment I enjoyed and I paraphrase, "Ignoring for the moment the destiny of the duck, they live a pretty good life. "

      3 Replies
      1. re: Veggo

        It was a well researched and well written article, although some may interpret as being a little biased but the information it contained is mainly accurate. I did find the comments more interesting than the article, lots of opinionated people with agendas out there!

        I visited a foie gras farm in Perigord last year, a small family run operation. The farmers genuinely seemed to care for their ducks and treated them quite gently. Plenty of room in the barn to waddle around, plus they had access to an open field. They certainly looked a lot more comfortable than caged chickens. From all the videos I have seen the ducks didn't seem to be averse to the feedings (unless they have zero memory and are not "intelligent" enough to avoid it)

        It is in the farmer's best interest to keep the ducks as comfortable and healthy as possible to maximize the quality of the product (therefore getting the best price for each liver).

        1. re: doctorandchef

          A bit deflating that the price begins at $30 /lb wholesale and escalates to $129 /lb retail at my local fancy store for whole cryovac'd frozen lobes.

          1. re: Veggo

            Once in my life -- ONE TIME! -- I tried to create my own foie gras by force feeding a goose, then having him for Christmas dinner as well. Believe me, paying the retail price is easier! On the other hand, you don't end up with enough down to to make a king size comforter and three pillows! I'm glad I did it. Once! I will not do it again. Ever! Besides, it didn't work very well and it's a royal pain to have to keep force feeding the damned goose. But Christmas dinner was delicious.

      2. Terrific article. Thanks, alan and lingua. I'm going to show my ignorance by admitting that I always thought foie gras was from geese. Learned LOTS of new things here.

        3 Replies
        1. re: c oliver

          hey if you'll feel better, you ain't wrong, foie gras can be made with either duck or goose liver!

          in fact it used to be much more commonly made from goose liver, i just think that ducks are the more commercially viable option these days in america (meat aside from liver more popular). geese also are also some cranky sons, ducks make more sense for a bigger operation.

          1. re: soupkitten

            Oh whew. I feel better. I AM pretty old.

          2. re: c oliver

            Foie gras just means "fatty liver." Duck, goose, whatev...

          3. Just read the Lopez article and felt that it was as thorough as any I've seen elsewhere

            1. btw the article states that there are only 3 foie gras farms in the country. *error.* perhaps "3 foie gras farms that distribute nationally" would be a better way to avoid not glossing over the smaller producers. smaller producers may have a limited area of distribution, but they are also quite likely to be humane and ethical (and very traditional) in their animal husbandry practices.