Sunday, February 15, 2015

Is There Such a Thing as Ethical Foie Gras?

By Cecily Costa.

Yes. There is a farmer in Spain that does not force feed his geese. His name is Eduardo Sousa. This story was told at a TED talk by chef Dan Barber of Blue Hill back in 2008 and again by This American Life on public radio in 2011. It is an awesome story...Eduardo Sousa’s family has been operating the farm and adjacent restaurant since 1812. For years, the family had produced only enough natural foie gras for family and friends. When Eduardo took over the farm several years ago, he decided it was time for the rest of the world to enjoy it too. Their farm is along the fall migration of geese, in the Extremadura area of Spain, famous for the Iberico pig. Many of the geese would come down and graze on his organic figs, acorns and herbs. They even “communicated” to more geese flying above to come down and stay. Never caged, always free-range, the geese naturally gorged themselves to get ready for the long flight. The flight they never took because they stayed.

In the fall of 2006, he turned the foie gras world upside down by being awarded the Coup de Coeur award at the SIAL (Salon International d’Alimention) in Paris—think of it as a SOFI award from the Fancy Food Show. He won for his organic Iberian goose foie gras. The first time a non-French company won for foie gras. In disbelief, the French thought he cheated and sent spies to check on him. Soon after, he met and partnered up with Diego Labourdette, who has a PhD in Ecology & extensive experience with migratory patterns of European birds from the far north to the wetlands of Andalucia and Extremadura in Spain (where, coincidently, Eduardo’s farm is). Now, Sousa & Labourdette foie gras is available thru pre-order direct (not in US) and seasonally in the family restaurant. You can find out more about Sousa & Labourdette at There are videos and links to other press regarding ethical foie gras. Going back to Dan Barber, he actually tried to mimic growing ethical foie gras at his farm in NY, but couldn’t.