Rare Birds & About Our New Duck Producer

Unfortunately, we lost our primary supplier of truly pasture-raised, heritage biodynamic ducks as they closed down operations for the next year in order to move to a new property and, if all goes as planned, to develop a biodynamic duck program there. This is why we’ve had some issue with duck supply the past few weeks.

Over the years, we’ve sourced and purchased some incredible duck from a number of very speciality pature-raised duck producers such as Salmon Creek, Victorian Farmstead, Tara Firma, Moore Natural, Pastoral Plate (now closed) and others, but becasue of their scale and pricing, they were not able to produce what we needed for duck on a weekly basis. Those were for holiday centerpiece birds and special buys only.

BIODYNAMIC LOCAL DUCKS UNAVAILABLE (ON EXTENDED HIATUS)
We were absolutely thrilled and incredibly fortunate to be connected with the fine and incredible producers at a local farm for the past year and a half. We used their biodynamic (this is EXCEPTIONAL – -incredibly rare manner in which they raise the animals and care for the ecosystem/land = the highest standard!) heritage breed, organic, TRULY pasture-raised whole ducks exclusively in the SFRAW Grinds & Formulas. We hope to someday get them again because they were so incredibly special and, honestly, like nothing else available – especially at the volume and pricing we needed. Their duck was the BEST duck. It is very sad that we can’t get it anymore, nor have we been able to find anyone producing at their standards in the quantity/price that we need.

We have worked with our main local fresh duck supplier since 2003. We love them – they’re an outstanding family owned farm that is now being managed by the founder’s enterprising and dedicated daughter – which is very cool. We love their slow-grown, GMO-free (sometimes certified organic) well-raised ducks for many reasons. But because they are a small duck producer, we have needed to rely on a few other sources to fill-in whenever they’re low on certain parts/whole ducks or when overall demand exceeds supply. Presently, this has been the case for them which has compounded our supply issues, but they’re working hard to do their best to get us what we need.

In addition, we have enjoyed a relationship with one of our primary suppliers for locally raised (“food shed”) natural and pasture-raised/grass-finished meats (beef, lamb, pork – sometimes goat) and poultry (chicken) since 2003 and they deliver outstanding, robust, reliable orders to us weekly. They do have some duck available, but their duck program is both seasonal and limited. We love their commitment to bringing local food shed meat from birth to market and their standards for quality but we can’t use them for all our duck needs.

CHALLENGE: FINDING A NEW/THIRD PRODUCER THAT MEETS OR EXCEEDS OUR HIGH STANDARDS
The hunt for a new supplier, as usual, has been very challenging. But for something as unique as well-raised (non-industrialized/CAFO) duck, it was much more difficult. It’s become obvious that no other ducks will even compare to the wonderful biodynamic ducks we have been enjoying. Finding a new duck producer raising ducks at this same level has been…sadly, impossible.

Thus, we will have to seek out a well-raised, slow grown, natural duck raised by small family farm(s) that can produce enough duck for us reliably in the quantity that we need (and also at a reasonable price for our members).

Well-raised ducks coming home after a day spent in the vineyard.

ABOUT OUR NEW DUCK
We were able to find a nice duck raised naturally that will come with head on/feet on and organs included – this style of USDA inspected/certified duck is also harder to find, but it’s what we prefer for the best nutritional profile for our Grinds & Formulas.

Peking ducks are the most popular option for chefs and restaurants.

Our new duck comes from a 3rd generation family-owned farm in Pennsylvania with a dedication to produce the highest quality and ethically raised product available. These are not raised locally, nor on pasture, but they are raised well. Naturally, carefully, and kindly in large, spacious, clean, open barns (low stress/fresh air) and meaningful/actual unfettered access to the outdoors anytime they choose. They are fed a custom natural diet that includes local corn and soybean. They are 100% naturally raised and are part of the “Never Ever Program”, where antibiotics, steroids and hormones are never used in any way.

After a lot of discussion and agreements on shared values/compatibility, we have been working last week and this week to organize our first buy. We plan to receive our first order from them as soon as next week and we will use in production, if all goes well, as soon as possible. We hope to get some of their whole ducks flown in/airfreight to us soon. In future orders with them, we’re also be working on all the various parts, too.

WHY WE’RE TELLING YOU ALL THIS (YOUR ANIMAL MAY BE ONE OF THOSE THAT WILL NOTICE A DIFFERENCE)
First — it’s VERY important to me to be honest and transparent about our products, ingredients, and everything that goes into the making of our very fine, “best of the best” fresh and wholesome foods. Our thoughtful and discriminating sourcing is a principle mission and focus that is dictated by our standards – see here for what is considered when we work with a new supplier/producer. Our sourcing is what sets SFRAW apart. Sourcing was, indeed, the entire primary reason why I founded SFRAW in the first place — as a vegan, it is an ethical matter. I care deeply about how all the animals (including humans: ranchers/owners, workers/producers, consumers), wildlife, and land/water/ecosystem are managed and cared for when it comes to supporting meat/poultry/dairy producers. We are fortunate to have established relationships with some of the most sustainable, finest food producers in the world (no joke). Because of where we live, we are really fortunate to reap the rewards of working with visionary producers within a local food culture that is sophisticated, educated, and inventive. These passionate and dedicated producers are working hard each year to deepen their commitment to improve upon their practices, making every effort to “raise the bar” and do better. It has been such an education, inspiration and an incredible journey! And, the truth is, you will/can absolutely notice this difference reflected in the improved health and vitality of your animals (and yourselves!) when they eat food produced in this manner.

While it’s not typical or common, your animals may notice a change in the producers for our Duck Grind & Duck Formulas. For example, we had one dog (new member) that certainly made it known to his person — the first duck (last of the biodynamic), was his FAVORITE flavor; next purchase was made with our run using our back-up local pasture-raised duck. He not only refused it but ran away from it – oh my goodness! We haven’t heard of this happening before, but it’s certainly possible.

The good news is, our own animals and a number of other members have been absolutely loving the pasture-raised and local slow-grown ducks used in the past few weeks for our Duck Grinds & Formulas. Indeed, we know of one cat that usually won’t touch or sniff duck that was suddenly fond of the slow-grown duck grind – previously, the biodynamic duck was a no-go (maybe too gamey a flavor? who knows?)

We will continue to seek out the most outstanding sources for exceptional duck from dedicated and passionate small scale producers – but do realize that it will (most likely) not be the same as the “wild” heritage, biodynamic organic pasture-raised ducks we were getting previously. <le sigh….>

SFRAW’s HIGH STANDARDS

While there are differences from farm to farm, all of our poultry is at a minimum: 100% naturally raised, free-range, never enhanced, USDA inspected/certified, air-chilled and part of a “Never Ever Program”, where antibiotics, steroids and hormones are never used. This is our minimum standard — but there are a lot of other considerations and we work with many producers accomplishing and achieving a higher standard than this.

Stay tuned — we like the name given to the style of duck we’ll be getting: Confucius Style (simply means “head on/feet on and organs included”).

Let us know how your animals like it. And, thank you for your continued patience while we move to get our duck supply/inventory into a more reliable and consistent state.

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