Episodes 76 & 77: From Finance to Foie Gras

In episode 76, we chat with Ross McKnight of Backwater Foie Gras about how he began his farming journey, why he chose foie gras, tradition and moving to the land, and the mortification of farming.

In episode 77, we ask Ross McKnight about the practical element of gavage, why gavage isn’t force-feeding, breed of duck, feed used, legally selling farm products, prose, and poetry.


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  • Our 3-Day Lamb Harvest course is back! We haven’t taught this class for five years and are so happy to be able to offer it again, November 17-19th, at our new homestead just outside of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Our classes make incredible gifts for anyone interested in the whole processing narrative. From the kill to skinning to butchery to cookery, the experience gained at our Lamb class is unparalleled. And all instruction is entirely translatable to any other ruminant harvesting, including goats, deer, elk, beef, etc. Find all the details at FarmsteadMeatsmith.com/product/3-day-complete-lamb-harvest-course/.
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Topics for episode 76:

  • Our new baby, butcher shop, and lamb class, 1:01
  • Brandon’s recent interviews, 6:53                 
  • Interview with Ross McKnight starts, 12:51
  • Ross introduces himself, 16:42
  • From an English major to finance, 20:25
  • From an auto-immunity disease to a farmer, 34:03
  • Creating beauty makes life worth something, 42:33
  • Why foie gras?, 43:03
  • We want tradition, 47:40
  • The camaraderie with other farmers, 49:20
  • Moving to the land with religion as the motive, 52:53
  • Hyper theoretical movements, 57:34
  • The mortification of farming, 1:00:54

Links for episode 76:

Topics for episode 77:

  • The practical element of gavage, 1:02
  • Gavage is a natural form of agriculture, 13:55                 
  • Muscovy or mallard, 10:40 & 15:05
  • How much to feed them, 16:00
  • It’s not force-feeding, 17:42
  • Using whole corn, 21:04
  • Write this down and frame it for your kitchen, 22:23
  • Why foie gras?, 43:03
  • Age of the muscovies, 29:12
  • Using milk, 32:49
  • Pre–gavage treatment, 34:42
  • Meatsmith & Backwater Foie Gras should offer classes together, 45:15
  • A PMA (Private Membership Association) as an alternative to selling retail, 46:56
  • Millers Organic Farm as a PMA example, 54:36
  • The power of bureaucracy, 57:21
  • A PMA in every state, 1:04:00
  • Food safety regulations are written for industrial-scale, not small farms, 1:06:00
  • Food prices at farmers market, 1:07:52
  • Culinary ignorance, 1:12:36
  • You can make a living farming, 1:17:28
  • Swimming with the current that is the natural order, 1:20:39

Links for episode 77:

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