In the Words of a Foie Gras Farmer: An Interview with Guillermo Gonzalez of Sonoma Artisan Foie Gras
June 29, 2012
Amongst all of the current discussion surrounding California’s ban on foie gras, what seems to have gotten lost is the fact that there is a family business involved. Owned and operated by Guillermo Gonzalez, California's only foie gras farm, Sonoma Artisan Foie Gras, has been operating quietly and producing fattened duck livers for almost 27 years. Read full article.
With Foie Gras Ban, Chefs Say State is Force-Feeding Morality
June 27, 2012
A law against serving the fatted liver of ducks and geese goes into effect Sunday. As some restaurants host farewell dinners, a gaggle of chefs, farmers and connoisseurs sees it as a feather-headed intrusion on culinary freedom. Read thefull article.
THE NEW YORKER
Foie Gras: An Old Delicacy, an Old Guilt Dana Goodyear
June 19, 2012
A visit to Sonoma-Artisan Foie Gras farm in the last days before the ban in California puts them out of business reveals sadness, disappointment and also some facts not usually discussed in articles about foie gras. Read morehere.
CA Foie Gras Ban Ends Farmer's 'American Dream' Michael Thurston
June 15, 2012
When Guillermo Gonzalez closes his 26-year-old farm in Sonoma, CA, it will be the end of more than just the only foie gras farm in the state. It will be the end of his American dream. Read the full article here.
Clarified: Is foie gras fair game or fowl play?
Sarah Le Trent
June 13, 2012
CNN blogger Sarah Le Trent joined around 200 chefs on a field trip to Hudson Valley Foie Gras farm to see the way ducks are raised, fed and processed. Read her post here.
Chefs lead fight against CA ban on foie gras delicacy
May 22, 2012
Diners are lining up to get their last bit of foie gras at Santa Monica's Mélisse restaurant, where chef Josiah Citrin is offering a "Foie for All" five-course tasting menu. "We're super busy," maitre d' Matthew Greenberg says. "About 30% of our guests are ordering foie gras." Other California restaurants are also seeing a rise in orders of the gourmet duck liver, a delicacy that will become illegal to sell in the state on July 1. Read full article.
FOOD ARTS Foie and Its Discontents
With California’s foie gras ban set to take effect July 1, a slew of the state’s chefs hold last-hurrah dinners as protesters howl. And behind the scenes, a stir to amend or repeal the law. Read the article, which tells the whole story of the CA banhere.
When you ask a chef, you get a forthright and intelligent answer. See what chefs across the country say about the California ban on foie gras.
NATION'S RESTAURANT NEWS
Chef Russell Jackson speaks out against San Francisco foie gras ban
April 9, 2012
San Francisco chef Russell Jackson has attracted a lot of attention for his pro-foie gras stance as the CA ban approaches. Bret Thorn interviews the chef about taking a strong stand, his popular foie gras dinners and views on animal husbandry. Read article here.
BITE CLUB EATS
Chefs Ponder Life Without Foie Gras
January 23, 2012
If you want to upset some of the area’s top chefs, bring up the subject of the California foie gras ban scheduled to take effect on July 1. Then stand back and watch the fireworks. Read more.
What is the Artisan Farmers Alliance?
Artisan Farmers Alliance (AFA) is a not-for-profit organization which represents America's foie gras farmers and others involved in bringing artisanal agricultural products to the American table. Artisan farmers use traditional, small-scale, sustainable farming techniques to produce the finest food products possible and reconnect American consumers with our rich agricultural heritage. The AFA is working both to educate the public about our centuries-old farming practices and to defend the rights of consumers to make their own decisions about food.
What is Foie Gras?
Foie gras is French for "fatty liver." While it can come from both geese and ducks, duck foie gras prevails in the United States.
Foie gras has an alluring, buttery flavor with a soft and velvety texture. It is a delicate dish, prepared in many ways and often accompanied by fruit.
How is Foie Gras Produced?
Foie gras is produced by a hand-feeding process called gavage in which the waterfowl are given a measured amount of food at meal time, rather than having constant access to food. The process, carried out for between 14 and 28 days, takes a few seconds and is repeated 2-3 times each day. The ducks are fed by the same person throughout the entire process.
Is this Production Humane? Yes. Independent veterinarians and scientists have concluded that the hand-feeding of ducks for foie gras causes no harm to them. Foie gras is an extension of naturally occurring processes. A duck's physiology is very different from that of a human. These differences between ducks and humans allow ducks to eat by swallowing wriggling, spiny fish, and storing extra energy (fat) in their livers for migration.
First, ducks lack a gag reflex. Their esophagi have an insensitive lining, allowing them to swallow large fish and other prey in the wild. This ensures pain-free hand-feeding for the birds.
Second, in nature, ducks gorge themselves before migration, storing extra energy by fattening their livers. This effect is reversible, both in the wild and foie gras farming.
Finally, several studies have been conducted by Dr. Daniel Guemene, the leading expert on the physiological effects of gavage. The studies have shown that foie gras production does not cause stress, pain, fear or disease in the ducks.
Where Can I Find Out More? To learn more about foie gras, read History and Facts.
THE FOIE GRAS CHRONICLES
Reason.tv: The Foie Gras Fight - Animal Cruelty or Animal Rights Propaganda?
Restaurant Stands Up for Foie Gras--and the Right to Serve it Restaurant Eugene blog post reveals the truth about activists
Atlanta (July 22, 2011)
Chef Linton Hopkins of Restaurant Eugene in Atlanta, GA, was targeted and harassed by the animal rights activists because he had foie gras on his menu. His account of the interaction between a conscientious chef and the activists gives insight into the methods they use to coerce restaurants into doing their bidding. This chef takes an eloquent stand and explains why he will continue to serve foie gras at his restaurants. Read the entire story here.
California without foie gras? San Francisco (September 7, 2011)
California passed a law in 2004 to ban the production and sale of foie gras starting in July 2012. No other government or jurisdiction in the world has banned the sale of foie gras, with the exception of the brief period of Chicago's embarrassment and correction. Many other states have considered and rejected bans against either production or sales. The California law was passed as a personal project of the retiring California Senate president, John Burton. The passage of the bill was a travesty. A powerful politician championed a little understood issue and pushed the bill's passage without a reasonable hearing of the facts about foie gras farming.
Shock & Foie: The War Against Dietary Self-Determinism
San Francisco (February 20, 2011)
Mark Pastore, owner of San Francisco restaurant Incanto, responding to recent foie gras protests in the Northwest, published a critical essay on the foie gras issue on his website.
From Shock and Foie: The War Against Dietary Self-Determinism: "Working to ban something that 99% of people never eat is not an act requiring great moral or physical courage ... the anti-foie gras movement is - at best - founded upon a shrewd political calculation in which the professed indignation of a few is used to harness the indifference of the many to the inherent political cowardice of elected officials, in order to achieve a desired political outcome. In essence, it's a confidence game in which participating meat-eaters, by agreeing to condemn something that they don't care about, receive the equivalent of a get-out-of-jail card, i.e., the right to feel slightly less guilty as they bite into that factory-farmed McNugget."
Pastore is correct. The question for foie gras farmers is how to win against this "shrewd political calculation."
The Foie Gras Wars: How a 5,000-Year-Old Delicacy Inspired the World's Fiercest Food Fight
New York (March 9, 2009)
Mark Caro, Chicago Tribune reporter, became fascinated with the enfolding foie gras drama in Chicago.He set out to tell the greater story of animal rights activists, foie gras farmers and the story of foie gras.His book, “The Foie Gras Wars: How a 5,000-Year-Old Delicacy Inspired the World’s Fiercest Food Fight”, was released this week.
His book is very complete and very entertaining, recommended by Michael Ruhlman, Anthony Bourdain, Roger Ebert, and Dr. Temple Grandin.
Foie gras farmers are loving the book. As foie gras is such a small part of animal agriculture, people have no experience with foie gras. Caro visited 10 foie gras farms and talked to numerous activists, scientists and veterinarians.His honest presentation is the most comprehensive to date on foie gras farming and its challenges.
The Artisan Famers Alliance recommends that if you are interested in foie gras and how it is made, read this book.
Village Voice Foie Gras Report New York (February 17, 2009) Foie gras farmers got a boost today. “Is Foie Gras Torture?”, an extensive investigative report by Sarah DiGregorio, was the cover article in this week’s “Village Voice,” America’s largest circulation weekly paper.
Farmers at Hudson Valley Foie Gras, the focus of DiGregorio’s investigation of foie gras, report that she was surprisingly thorough and well prepared. She required that she be accompanied by a photographer and have complete access. Hudson Valley Foie Gras agreed. She arrived at the farm in the early morning, as ducks were being sent to processing and spent hours in every part of the farm. As you can read, she was armed with information on what to look for by Dr. Temple Grandin, noted animal welfare expert, and Dr. Holly Cheever, a primary foie gras opponent.
DiGregorio’s article concludes: “If I had seen with my own eyes that Hudson Valley produced foie gras by abusing ducks, this article would have turned out very differently. But that just wasn't the case.”
For those interested in foie gras and the controversy surrounding it, this is a must read.