...is it possible to make ethical foie gras?
In the heart of Gascony “La Contesse Auzanaise” owned by Franck Kirighin has been rearing ducks by hand to make ethical foie gras, pate and conserve for over ten years. Franck is both a traditionalist and a purist in his approach to farming and the preparation of the produce. He likes to control as much of the process as possible, even growing his own organic corn to feed the ducks and sitting up until 4am to protect them from predators.
The ducks live up to 125 days, which is much longer then other producers. During this time, they are kept in large fields free to roam where they like, with access to water and shelter from rain. During the last 13 days of their lives, when conventional producers would have already been force feeding the ducks by inserting a tube into their stomachs, the ducks are fed by hand for approximately 20 seconds once or twice a day. This, of course results in a less commercially beneficial yield for the producer but means that the birds existence is significantly more comfortable which is reflected in the taste of the end product.
97% of today's foie gras production is carried out on an industrial basis and most retailers stock these cheap brands. This foie gras is sometimes labelled as free-range which is true, up until points of intensive feeding where the ducks are then taken indoors and often caged.
So... is it possible to make foie gras without harming or causing discomfort to the birds? The answer to the question is YES and this is the only type we stock.