Where can I buy pigeon in Seattle?
- gingershelley Sep 1, 2011 04:25 PM
Available all over Europe... I never see pigeon for sale in even good markets here. Anyone know where I can find them?
I feel certain I've seen them at both Uwajimaya and at 99 Ranch, but you might want to call and check. Possibly also Don & Joe's at Pike Place.
600 5th Ave S, Seattle, WA
University Seafood and Poultry will probably have it. I'm guessing Don and Joe's will as well.
Ranch 99 in Kent, and at Viet Wah on Sunset Blvd in Renton and MLK in Seattle keep it in stock all the time. It's really expensive. Problem is that not many people raise them around here.
A lot of upscale grocers and butchers will carry it under the name of squab. In addition to those and the markets mentioned above, you can order a variety of kinds from online retailers like D'Artagnan. In the winter months the latter will even provide Scottish Wood Pigeon which will probably be in a more similar vein to what you had in Europe.
The main reason pigeon and so many other game birds are rare and expensive over here is due to the very strict regulations forbidding the sale of wild game in the US. This is mostly from overblown health concerns, similar to the rules concerning dairy pasteurization. So unless you or a friend hunt, you're not going to see the explosion of game meats that you would see in Europe when Fall begins. Nor will the birds likely match the quality you experienced overseas. But hey, at least we have better salmon!
From the book "Making Pigeons Pay" by Wendell M. Levi.
Squab is a young pigeon, four weeks old, who is just about to leave the nest. At that point in their lives, they weigh more than their parents.
Due to the age at slaughter, pigeons have a really fast turnover. You're going from an egg to a dinner in four weeks! Best ducks can do is 9 weeks, and chickens maybe about the same, although there are 6 week birds offered for sale. Quite a difference from the six months needed to raise a 20/lb turkey.
There are pigeon breeds like the Giant Runt (weird!) and French Gros Mondain that are specially bred for their meat.
Pigeons only raise two chicks at a time, the flip side of that four-week turnover. They're also quite active birds, so feed overhead is quite high compared to a chicken who can provide nearly 400 chicken dinners a year without any need to feed anyone but herself.
In a place like Egypt, where pigeon raising has been the norm for 8,000 years or so, the birds fly free and are trained to nest in special places, called dovecotes, where they raise their young. Since they feed on the wing, their food costs are kept low. In the US, we'd never permit our farm stock to fly free anymore, with the exception of cows, buffalo and sheep, and then only in a minority of situations. (Much more beef is raised in the tall grass prairie than the Far West. It's just that in the Far West cattle raising is the only profitable enterprise)
Pigeon breeding is very labor and feed intensive, so squab is expensive here.
But it goes on. You can contact the American Pigeon Journal for information on a local meat pigeon breeder who might be able to keep you supplied.