Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pateria de Sousa: Ethical Foie Gras?

Can foie gras be produced without force feeding ducks and geese? If force feeding were eliminated, then there would be little reason to oppose foie gras. Well, at least one Spanish farmer believes it is possible and he is producing what some call "ethical foie gras."

Pateria de Sousa is a Spanish company owned by Eduardo Sousa. The 30-acre farm is located in the Badajoz province of the Extremadura region, about fifty miles north of Seville. The company has been producing foie gras for almost two-hundred years. It lacks a website so it is not easy to find information about the company.

Sousa raises only geese, not ducks, and they are allowed to wander all across the farm, which they share with pigs, which Sousa raises for their meat. The geese are referred to as Ganso Iberico, or Iberian Geese. The geese are not force fed at all. Instead, Sousa waits for the geese to naturally eat enough food to enlarge their livers, which occurs at the time when they would be ready to migrate. Depending on the weather, this will occur sometime between December and February.

The livers generally though do not enlargen as much as would through force feeding. Plus, this means that foie gras can only be produced once a year, making it much rarer, and thus more expensive, than other foie. Most of the foie gras produced by Sousa is pasteurized and then made into parfaits. I am unsure whether Sousa's products are available in the U.S. or not. They are available in Europe, including Britain. There is some question too whether it tastes as good as regular foie.

What are your thoughts on this "ethical" foie gras?


ryan said...

I assume you saw the video on TED talks about this guy. Great video if you haven't. Since we saw it we've been trying to find a place to buy this stuff, so far to no avail. That said we've also tried to call him, still no response. I so want to try this and hear more of the story!

Richard A. said...

I have not seen the video but will definitely check it out. Have you tried to find some restaurants that might serve it? I would love to hear if you are able sometime to try this.

buyfoiegras said...

do you know where you can buy la pateria de sousa foie gras? Been looking where to source some