Eftoo Farm in neighboring Bath County is raising a batch of Rouen ducks for us. The Rouen is a heritage breed--in fact it was the very breed Escoffier used at the Savoy in the 1900's to create his famous dish Caneton de Rouen à la Presse. But its history goes back further in both France and England where it was a premier roasting duck. Rouens have been raised in America since the 1850's but they are rarely served in restaurants anymore. This is because it takes five to six months for a Rouen to mature. That is forever in modern duck farming. The industry standard today is a specially bred duck that matures in a mere nine weeks. Unfortunately, this is at the expense of flavor.
Our Rouens are, admittedly, an experiment. They are being raised on pasture, as their ancestors were a hundred and fifty years ago. With all the bugs and forage, their meat should be incredible. However, they will have to make it through a gauntlet of raccoons, weasels, coyote, and bear! With luck, though, they will be ready for the table come November/December. We will keep you posted!