Bordeaux and Rennes
The second leg of our excursion began with a visit to a duck and foie gras operation, Ferme du Moulinat, an hour south of Bordeaux. Here, the ducks free range until 12 days before slaughter. At that point the ducks are brought into a building where movement is minimalized and they are force fed a specific diet twice a day to help clean out the liver and fatten it to the consistency needed for foie gras.
The farm can process 500 birds every two weeks and uses every part of the duck. Legs and other meat are turned into confiett or a meat filling, the feathers become insulation, the heads are sent to be processed into pet food and the feet are dried and sent to China. All total they produce 40,000 ready to consume products per year.
We were able to sample foie gras served chilled with small pieces of fig. As a first time consumer I have to admit nervousness, but it was rich, a little sweet and very delicious!
Due to unfortunate turns of events (quite literally!) we missed the dairy farm tour and had to reschedule our visit to the organic bakery.
After an eight hour bus ride around the French country side we arrived just in time to meet with Dr. Louis Mahe, a prominent economist, and Bretagne Agricultural Chamber Chair Joseph Menard to discuss the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
Dr. Mahe has proposed changes for the 2013 CAP that would increase environmental protection, support incentive programs vs direct payments and rely more heavily on a split in funding between the European Union and member states. Providing tiers of support to producers that meet specific standards.
On the other side Mr. Menard, who is a farmer, supports stronger direct payments and more stability from CAP to weather hard times.
Global economic unrest has caused farmers in France to lose money and much like in the U.S., has raised concerns about the health of agriculture and the importance of supporting farmers.
Tomorrow we’ll pick up with the organic bakery visit, travel to a cidery and visit a farm in Normandy.