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ESF workshop about local food in Europe. Reports, presentations and case studies/Séminaire ESF sur les produits locaux en Europe. Rapports, présentations et études de cas

Development, terroir and welfare: a case study of farm-produced foie gras, in south west France

Isabelle Techoueyres

Abstracts

Foie gras and fat duck products are part of the French culinary and cultural heritage, particularly of South West France. As such they belong to the produits de terroir category. Starting by tracing the recent developments and globalisation of such products with subsequent challenges, this paper assumes a local perspective, in the geographical area delimited by the PGI Palmipèdes à Foie Gras du Sud Ouest. Through the observation of a family of farmers, meeting points between local and global are analyzed, particularly tensions between economic development and the protection of traditional knowledge but also the way contemporary changes promote new sociabilities.

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Introduction

1“Foie gras” is a typical luxury and festive food in France and also a strong symbol of French culture. Foie gras is not “just pâté”. Like wine, it is a “connoisseurs’” object and, shared with wine, foie gras is now also at the core of market globalisation. In 1995, France produced 74% of world foie gras (95% of which is duck and 5% goose), yet the share of France has increased over the last decade rising to 83% in 2004 (Table 1). 30,000 persons are employed directly with an estimation of 100,000 persons involved indirectly. Also in 2004, the French ate 88% of world production and one can see that French people ate more than they produced (Table 2).

Table 1: Fois gras production by country, 2004

Producing countries in 2004

Provenance countries (by order of importance)

Import countries (by order of importance)

France: 83%
Hungary: world volume 9% foie gras, 60% goose liver
Bulgaria: 5% (88% of which imported in France)
Israel: 1.5 % (traditional practice)
Spain: 1% (recent practice)

Bulgaria
Hungary
Israel
Belgium- Luxemburg

Spain
Japan
Belgium-Luxemburg
Switzerland
Germany
United Kingdom
Hong Kong
Netherlands
United-States

Table 2: French import and export of ‘fat livers’ 1995-2004

Tons

1995

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

Exports

946

1109

1326

1527

1714

2124

Imports

2850

2362

2538

2951

2The South West of France remains the leading region in the world for fat duck1 production. In 2003, the South West PGI2 Canard à Foie Gras du Sud-Ouest represented 74% of national production. The South West PGI encompasses the rich gastronomic zones of Aquitaine and Midi-Pyrénées. However, some local producers in the delimited PGI area refuse appellation. In the South West, foie gras is more than a “local farm product”; foie gras is a terroir product embodying historical depth, shared know how and belonging to a local culture, along with L.Bérard’s definition3. However, the value and luxury image of foie gras has led over the past couple of decades to the delocalisation of production as new producing countries and regions have emerged on the international market. Demand has grown so that importations of more dependable raw material supply at lowest cost started, mostly from Hungary and Bulgaria (which also have a tradition for fattening ducks and geese). Such importations gave rise to local producers in the South West claiming unfair competition. This case study aims at highlighting the major changes to “local” producers and in what ways local culture and “tradition” are affected.

Evolution of foie gras terroir

3South West France represents the region of genuine “local” production. The region is known for its long history of fattening ducks and geese for fat liver; salted meat cooked and preserved in fat is an old preserving technique. Previously published field work indicates the importance of home-made fat duck preparations among families in the region today4. Due to the particular ecological and economic conditions of the region, all rural families used to raise geese, fatten them with the maize they grew, then use the fat to preserve meat parts, just as they would do with their pigs. Feathers were sold to make eiderdowns and pillows for the rich. When foie gras became in fashion among aristocratic classes, shortly followed by French bourgeoisie (at the turn of the XIXth century), farm wives started to fatten larger quantities of geese livers to sell on the markets and this domestic business reached a certain success. Because fattening ducks was a basic necessary means of preserving food, it retained the image of being a feminine farmyard or “basse cour” activity. As a regional practice it was too banal and: “suffered of the discrepancy between food for the elites and ‘peasant’ foods”. A new breed of duck was invented in the 1950s: the “mulard”5, which males fatten up more easily and produce good quality fat and livers. In keeping with productivist agriculture, maize culture spread dramatically in the region with the use of irrigating techniques. All rural families were up until the 1970s involved in mixed-farming, including some duck breeding and fattening.

4Technological innovation has no incidence on the definition as long as the product retains a reputation for consistent quality, and production remains within a delimited cultural and geographical space, and meaningful to the local population. To the farmers, technological evolution is just normal improvement in the rationalisation of tasks, but the steps and methods are the same, following the long local tradition. Yet fattening techniques have tremendously evolved. In the 1950s, lightly cooked grains were introduced through a manual endless screw system; then electrical. At the end of the 1980s, a pneumatic device was adopted from Israel, using a mash (pâtée) of ground maize mixed with water, then in the 1990s hydraulic devices allowing the use of whole grain. The technology associated to this production has also evolved towards rationalisation and mass production. Animals now stand in individual cages, replacing collective parks, permitting 1000 ducks to be fattened twice a day by a single worker. Fattening now takes place all year round in air conditioned halls equipped with electronic devices for temperature, humidity and oxygen control.

5However foie gras has an ambivalent image as a ‘local food’. Amidst general health concerns and lipophobia, foie gras is ambiguous: according to the French Paradox, duck fat is healthy. Further, the definition of local food varies according to contexts of use and countries. While in France “local foods” are products implicitly belonging to regional tradition, a prevalent popular conception, we might call a northwest European perspective is that, Local food (also regional food) is a principle of sustainability … part of the concept of local purchasing6. Local foods are often perceived therefore as ethical foods. Whereas, the procedure for duck fattening, commonly known as force-feeding, is considered by many outside France as an animal welfare issue and lobbies have succeeded in having the ‘fattening’ feeding practice forbidden in several European countries, plus Israel and California. The practice is sometimes also used as a barrier to trade7. In 1999, the European Council adopted three recommendations for duck and goose welfare, which limit foie gras production to “traditional zones”8. The wisdom of this strategy is however still questioned by professionals today9 and in 2005, the French Parliament decreed that foie gras must be protected as part of the French cultural and gastronomic heritage.

Dual routes in the French foie gras supply chain

6Production of foie gras has tripled within the last decade, and has changed from a luxury to a niche product, supermarket sales now accounting for about 80% of national production. Demand for fat duck products kept increasing and new regions started producing. Note the tremendous increase in South West fat duck liver production between the 1980s and 1990s, then stagnation: 6,207 tons in 1992 or 86,60 % of national production; 6,435 tons in 1993 or 84,35 % of national production (Table 3.).

Table 3. Fat ducks (per thousand heads)

Region

1980

1985

1990

1993

2002

2003

South-West:

Heads

%

Heads

%

Heads

%

%

Aquitaine

2450

65

4318

69

7600

69

8725

57,62

8330
geese: 186

8058
geese: 244

Midi-Pyrénées

1154

31

1730

28

2685

24

3764

24,86

4043
geese: 238

3918
geese: 226

Other SW Regions

153

4

175

3

757

7

2,76

Total South-West

3757

100

6223

100

11042

100

12538

82,78

12488

12088

Landes

1900

5400

P-A

203

1250

Limousin

49

0,30

115

112

Pays de Loire

1736

11,46

3059

2915

Bretagne

455

3,00

692
geese: 85

668
geese: 73

Poitou-Charentes

453

463

Total France

15140

100

16961

16457

Source: CIFOG Annual Reports (Comité Interprofesionnel du Foie Gras), national inter-professional syndicate for foie gras production.

7Pressure on price due to the growth in number of producers has meant an increase in the number of ducks passing through breeding units. In 1992, average flock size was 1,314 compared to 2,486 in 2002 (9-10 flocks per annum). And average size of flock during fattening in 1992 was 191, compared to 618 in 2002 (20 flocks per annum). Local production which had long remained in the hands of small mixed-farming units began to get organised: some producers started to specialize in fattening, others in processing. This has lead to a dual supply chain structure with short chains selling into local markets and long chains selling to multiple retailers (Figure 1). However, the segmentation of production in this way doesn’t directly correspond to the segmentation of product ‘terroir’. Some farmers involved in the short supply chain fatten over a 1,000 ducks every fortnight, and sell the bulk of production to processing plants whilst retaining a portion of output to process on farm and sell directly off farm. Conversely, some small scale producers, who feed ducks manually, sell to supermarket chains via associations; Terres Paysannes, for instance, is grouping 128 small scale breeders and fatteners in Chalosse (South Landes). They employ the « traditional » 80 year old fattening method which involves massaging the duck’s neck during feeding and allowing fattening to take place at the duck’s own rhythm (between 13 to 21 days).

Figure 1. Dual routes in the French foie gras supply chain

Figure 1. Dual routes in the French foie gras supply chain

8In line with the general trend of market segmentation, the growth of fat duck products is driven by innovation largely in terms of variety, and the increase in consumption is linked to a whole range of just as valuable by-products, both raw and transformed: “Magret”10, the meaty filets along the sides of the duck, was “invented” in the 1960s to become popular only in the 1980s. The “confit” became a gourmet food in the 1970s. Proliferation of niches for fat duck products also include the following:
Raw11: Foie gras, Magrets, Manchon, Aiguillettes
Transformed12: Whole liver, Part liver, ‘Bloc’, Magret - dried/smoked, Confit

The PGI13, a trans-regional collective project

9The number of ducks with PGI has more than doubled within the last 5 years. 50% of national foie gras production in France is under PGI label – but since 74% of production comes from the South West we are implying that not all South West producers have PGI. Few small-scale producers have PGI because they cannot meet the requirements mainly in terms of financial investments for European HACCP norms. Although PGI text has provisions directed to small scale production yet they are still to be validated while the Institut National des Appellations d’Origine (INAO) is under restructuring. Farmers selling directly can use their own name and image but they cannot use words such as “farm” or even Landes, Périgord, Chalosse or Gers, on their labels, even though, “they’re the ones bearing and defending local identities best” (President of PALSO).

10PGI Canard à Foie Gras du Sud-Ouest was obtained in 1999 and was the outcome of a ten year process which found its roots in the globalisation of production. The inter-professional national syndicate CIFOG got organized in 1987, when production faced increase in demand and importations. South West operators felt the need to mark their difference; to identify the quality of raw materials and preserve a local tradition. Farmers in Les Landes were first to react and organized to block trucks and factories. Local authorities tried to gather local protagonists around the table, without success, while the charismatic President of the local Chamber of Agriculture of the time, M.C., took the lead: three administrative regions led consensus to establish minimal positions and “cultivate what unites”. “The PGI decision was something that was to be done at the time, but it must not be considered as an end in itself.” (M.C.) The PALSO is currently working at adapting the PGI to fat geese. The PGI is enforced by three control levels: auto-control, an independent certification body such as Qualisud or Véricert, and the National institutions such as Veterinary or Fraud Services, or INAO.

11PGI establishes a link between production and transformation and permits communication on quality related to a geographical place but is more a political than a technical tool. Largely enhanced by tourist travelling across this area, media are abundantly celebrating the south west of France14. Nevertheless PGI prevents false appellations and competition on prices. Adopting PGI means a precise charter of requirements concerning all aspects of production and impact on the environment: age of animals, food, size of breeding parks, etc, while environmental norms keep evolving. Some detractors think PGI requirements are too low to ensure superior quality or tradition but supporters argue that PGI is realistic and a more expensive product would have meant marginalization on the market. When asked whether the PGI resulted in increasing the number of local producers, most PGI supporters answer that this isn’t an issue, because the global trend of rationalizing production goes towards concentration anyhow; what really matters is that producers live decently. Other farmers complain they cannot meet all the conditions, or refuse to adhere, and then have to remove their local denomination and “from the farm” from their label, which is very painful.

Case study of foie gras “local producers” in South West France: a family farm in Gironde involved in both long and short supply chains

12Philippe and his brother took over the 200ha family farm located close to two departements in Aquitaine: Lot et Garonne and Dordogne, in 1989. They are involved in foie gras production at once in the long and short supply chain because they process and sell directly part of their production while they sell the bulk part of it to a cooperative in Perigord. Their parents and grand parents bred and fattened ducks, besides cereal cultures and field vegetables. Philippe’s father, being also a self-made engineer of a curious nature, developed improvements for feeding methods so they were able to fatten year round. They started to segment production because demand was there but it was difficult to be efficient at every stage: egg hatching, then duck rearing were not performed on the farm; in 1985 they chose to concentrate on fattening. With the increasing price of petrol, cereals wasn’t rewarding despite European aids so they progressively switched activities to developing ducks, which unlike crops, provide year-round income. Philippe and his brother have since renovated the large modern barn situated discretely behind the shop. They started by modernizing the feeding hall. They installed special walls and an automatic system to provide an even temperature (17°) activated when ducks temperature rises and proper hygrometry as well as oxygenation whatever the weather outside. The 1,800 ducks are sitting on metal shelves in the half light. They are fed by Philippe and his brother twice a day, with a hydraulic tube device. Philippe grinds his own maize, mixes it with salt and sand and provides non chlorinated water. Every fortnight they drive to collect the 14-week old ducks raised in different farms in the area: this way they are able to check the breeding conditions of the animals. The 4kg ducks are fed during 12 day (24 meals). They then drive the flock to the slaughterhouse in Bergerac, and only take back about 15% of the best pieces to process and sell on the farm. They obtain livers of 530g. After her marriage to Philippe and several years spent fattening for the account of the local processing cooperative15, Céline established herself as a farmer producer and processor of her own duck products: “because one was just a number” and “you didn’t have the pleasure to sell directly your own finished product”. She also found the coop’s spirit too “traditionalist”. Céline works with a young employee processing every other week in the specially equipped kitchen-lab she rents; the new kitchen will be built this summer. All their products are hygiene tested regularly. Their magrets have no fat, proving that the even temperature in the ducks hall guarantees no thermo stress. Within the last 5 years they have noticed an exponential demand in regular customers for fresh rather than preserved products. The farm revenue provides a decent living for three grand parents and both brothers’ families. Much of the income is provided by bulk sale of fattened ducks to the Perigord cooperative.

13Although they deal with large numbers of ducks, they don’t see themselves as industrial producers, but as crafts persons. They are not interested in PGI because they are well known locally and sell enough directly to individuals, restaurants, caterers, special events, as well as fresh products. Philippe admits that they wouldn’t be able to afford the PGI administrative charge if they didn’t have as many ducks. Although they have PGI they are not too eager about it. The logo doesn’t appear on their products, to them it only serves mass distribution and industrial producers, and they don’t need “a virtual label”; they are the personal guarantors for their product. Their own label is a watercolour representing the ancient farm buildings painted by a friend: “our heritage, the warranty, the concrete traceability as opposed to virtual one”.

14Céline and Philippe have decided to commit to local rural development. Céline spent a great deal of energy researching the history of fattening to ensure legitimacy to talk about it. Céline is a delegate for the Gironde departmental network Bienvenue à la Ferme16 to certify applying farms, while Philippe is a delegate for organising producers and night markets. As members of the network, they take part to numerous meetings with other farmers, sell or promote their products in their shop and organise special open farm days17. Philippe and Céline have chosen to open their farm to the public and plan to revive festive events for social local cohesion to host festivities in their farm, conferences and evenings for meeting other producers. As a member of Bienvenue à la Ferme, they welcome many tourist tasting parties yearly18. Visitors reach the farm along the narrow and winding roads of Entre-Deux-Mers and find a nice little farm yard filled with farm animals: Céline says “a farm must have animals!” She also sows a few tomato and pepper plants and herbs along the parking space for people to pick and show their children. A nicely renovated ancient stone shed has been turned into a shop, circled by other farm buildings and parking space. Inside, tables and chairs occupy the central space, and Céline or Philippe take time for a chat or a tour of the installations. Several enlarged old black and white pictures show regional country folks in diverse farm activities including fattening. Posters tell the history of fattening, since Antique Egyptians and the Romans. Philippe jokingly remarks that it isn’t local history; but by choosing to advertise such origins, the product confers a universal heritage. The walls are lined with shelves loaded with cans and jars full of fat duck products. A fridge displays vacuum-packed fresh cuts. Wine bottles and other preparations from neighbouring farmers such as jams, honey, and fruit juices, and three course picnic baskets are also offered. A leaflet announces a festive day on the farm. They have recently renovated the large tobacco barn and installed tables and wood stoves to accommodate groups of visitors when the weather is not good. They sometimes face individuals who express their concern with force feeding: so they take them to visit the ducks, explain the whole system, then have them taste the final product, and they always succeed in appeasing.

15Philippe and Céline have a special way of talking about their work. They insist on “clean” cultivating, adopting integrated methods to protect the environment, which they can afford thanks to the large surface they have. They wanted comfort for their animals; as they say “when the animal is comfortable, then it pays you in return”. They possess an acute sense of continuity for the transmission of their ancestors’ knowledge and of responsibility for future generations. The soil is their life and pride, “When we water our corn fields, one can hear the corn creak, it’s alive”. Céline and Philippe take pleasure in their culinary preparations, “not two livers are alike: never the same colour, never the same texture, one can never get tired of it!” and are proud of their innovations: magret stuffed with liver, poached liver in vacuum package. Because they travel they experiment with diverse ingredients from other regions (ex: duck pâtés with olives, prunes, ginger or red pepper). The creativity expressed by new products is perceived as simply in keeping with both farmers’ and consumers’ desires. Fresh duck parts would have been unthinkable 30 years ago but are successful because of the evolution of preservation technology and the “do it yourself” cookery craze. “It is very enriching to be at the end of the chain, it is status-enhancing for the farmer and also rewarding” (Céline.); “Thinking that we stand on people’s table. it’s phenomenal! Sometimes we feel like we are among our customers: they call us, ask us precision about how to use or display the product, or just let us know they are eating it and thinking of us…” (Philippe).

Discussion: Local heritage and collective action

16In a comparison of two terroir products in the Gers department, armagnac and foie gras (one of the few academic texts about foie gras), D.Coquart and J.Pilleboue19 comment that foie gras doesn’t seem to sustain the traditional aspect that could support local development, and the authors consider that PGI doesn’t serve regional heritage. The “South West” being too heterogeneous a zone, contradictory representations arouses confusion among consumers, and the loss in quality with the all-pervading duck at the expense of the traditional goose, and the invention of the “ignoble bloc”, only serve the interests of mass marketing (cf. 2000: 94); they expose the confusing and impossible segmentation between high quality foie gras and a generic “foigra” (2000: 104). While B.Sylvander20 stresses the notion of collective project to define a terroir product, that is a group of people belonging to a place creating or developing a viable product, using tradition while adapting it, D.Coquart and J Pilleboue denied the existence of any popular collective backing contributing to make foie gras a local heritage. In fact they argue that since there is no clear consensus among fatteners, there cannot be any common heritage. However PGI Canard à Foie Gras du Sud-Ouest shows the dynamics behind a collective action. It was successful in getting different actors together, in revitalizing regional investments and consciousness, and helped face world competition with more visibility and promotion. Although the text doesn’t protect some “traditional” aspects, it gives space enough for producers to make their own choices in terms of modes of feeding and recipes. But we find that PGI is not a collective but an institutional project. As exposed by D.Coquart and J Pilleboue, the charter doesn’t defend some specific traditional aspects such as the Barbarie duck, the use of white corn in the Gers area, fattening technology and procedures. Although often as ancient and elegant as wine chateaux, foie gras-producing farms are devoid of popular echo. They are not put forward as interesting for visitors mainly because of the practice of fattening, and until recently farm origins were absent from the product label – a sort of “patrimonial aphasia” (2000: 101).

17My own observations over a period of ten years show that the situation is evolving and that there exist local dynamics towards patrimonial re-appropriation. Through the case study depicted above, one can observe meeting points where global issues interact with local practices: responses given to market competition, to mutation of European agriculture, to environmental concerns. It also shows how cultural globalisation arouses heritage and rural (or nostalgic21) aspirations. In fact, as depicted by Featherstone and Lash22, globalization goes with the affirmation of a local identity and the production of new spaces for culture clashes. People invent new means of expression and uses for their local heritage23, which is shown in the renovation of old buildings cohabitating with new. There is no binary opposition between tradition and modernity; the issue rather bears on the defence of local employment and recognition of local know-how, in relation to environmental consciousness and animal welfare24. And the quality of foie gras is linked to the quality of the relationship with the producer, which is a new type of segmentation. Today, with changing modes of living, fattening is regarded as a cultural peculiarity; diverse actions on the local scene are taking place around fat duck products, corresponding to the general patrimonial trend, which participate tremendously to the fame and gastronomic image of the region. Brotherhoods, with the enthronement of celebrities, to defend geese and fat duck livers have come to existence; festive events in picturesque villages, conferences and debates, gastronomy book fairs, festivals involving local associations and crafts makers have become a regional trait. At the same time, agriculture organizations have developed farm hospitality, attracting crowds since the beginning of the 2000s through open farm actions, farmers markets, etc. Meanwhile in the region major cities, such as Bordeaux, hold several yearly fairs and events promoting regional foods, produits de terroir, where fat duck products have a major place. A couple of foie gras museums can be visited in the region and an association in les Landes is preparing a route du foie gras. The roots of foie gras mythology in ancient Egypt serve now to legitimize and ennoble the fattening practice. All the above corresponds to a certain reality. Yet those who expressed distrust or don’t recognize the PGI find ambiguity in this disposition since the new official recognition certainly played a part in the development of local networks and partnerships of different natures (tourist industry, cultural sphere, pedagogies, cooperation with local associations.).

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Bibliography

BÉRARD, L. 2005. Interview by V. Amilien and I. Téchoueyres. Anthropology of Food 4 http://aof.revues.org.

CIFOG 2004. Annual Report.

COQUART, D. and PILEBOUE, J. 2000. “Le foie gras : un patrimoine régional?” In Campagnes de tous nos désirs. MSH, Paris.

Oxford Companion to Food 1999.

PALSO 1998. Dossier IGP canard à foie gras du Sud Ouest October.

SERVENTI, S. 2002. Le Livre du foie gras. Flammarion, Paris.

SYLVANDER B. 2005. Interview by V. Amilien. Anthropology of Food 4 http://aof.revues.org.

OCHA 2006 “Ce n’est pas gras, le confit” ou la cuisine du canard gras à la maison: observations dans le Sud-Ouest. Cahiers de l’OCHA 11: 140-151.

OCHA 2005. Lien social et célébration d’une identité culinaire régionale : l’exemple de fermes auberges en Aquitaine. CR17 Colloque AISLF Cahiers de l’OCHA www.lemangeur-ocha.

VALERI, R. 1977. Le confit et son rôle dans l’alimentation traditionnelle du Sud Ouest de la France. LiberLarömedel, Lund.

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Notes

1 Foie gras is the best known of a number of products encapsulated by the term fat duck production.
2 PGI: Protected Geographic Indication (IGP in French); meaning “the name of a region, specific place or country describing a product originating in that region, specific place or country and possessing a quality or reputation which may be attributed to the geographical environment with its inherent natural and/or human components.” (E.U.regulation).
3 L. Bérard, interview by V. Amilien and I. Téchoueyres, Anthropology of Food (http://aof.revues.org), n°4, 2005.
4 Cf. I. Téchoueyres, “‘C’est pas gras, le confit’ ou la cuisine du canard gras à la maison : observations dans le Sud-Ouest”, Cahiers de l’OCHA n°11 2006, pp.140-151.
5 Mulard: obtained from female common duck anas platyrhynchos with male Barbarie, cairina moschata.
6 Wikipedia
7 In 2004 the United States widely publicised the boycott of foie gras imports– although these account for only 1% of total exports.
8 The recommendation also encourages research in alternative fattening methods, while containment systems must allow ducks to satisfy natural behaviour.
9 Such regulations don’t apply to countries outside the EU; while the OMC cannot forbid the trade of foie gras, fear is that other countries might produce outside any regulation.
10 Magret: Magret is the pectoral muscle from a force-fed duck of 300g minimum weight (2 per duck) presented with skin and layer of fat. André Daguin, then chef in a famous restaurant in Auch, Gers, innovated in daring serving fresh fat duck meat grilled like beef. A charismatic regional figure, he’s now spokesman for his colleagues at European level.
11 Foie gras: liver of 350g minimum weight; Manchon: 1st wing phalanx; Aiguillettes: internal part attached to carcass of pectoral muscle (2 in every duck).
12 Foie gras entier: parts from one single liver plus seasoning; Foie gras: contains parts of different livers plus seasoning; Bloc de foie gras: preparation made with bits of livers mixed with water and seasoning, smooth or coarse; Confit: fat duck meats salted and cooked in duck fat. Legs, wings with pectoral muscle, magret and gizzards can be confits.
13 PGI: Protected Geographic Indication (IGP in French); meaning “the name of a region, specific place or country describing a product originating in that region, specific place or country and possessing a quality or reputation which may be attributed to the geographical environment with its inherent natural and/or human components.” (E.U.regulation)
14 Roadside signs advertising fat duck and geese farm products and promotional events, village or city open air markets display such products, while restaurants offer them as regional specialties. In supermarkets, special shelves are designed for fat duck products while airport shops promote them as luxury regional souvenirs.
15 The still thriving cooperative, Palmagri was started in South Gironde at the end of the 1970s by a group of farm wives including Philippe’s mother, who sought revenue and status at a time when major local activities (such as forestry, resin and wood industries) dropped. The coop enabled the installation of common air-conditioned year round fattening, a slaughterhouse and processing plant, a shop and a couple of marketing employees. Today, each of the 22 co-operators gives one day’s work for 25 ducks slaughtered. Products are processed without additives or preservatives and are claimed to be “not so fat”.
16 Bienvenue à la Ferme network was started in 1988 by the national service for chambers of agriculture for farmers to offer tourist service, sell products directly, and show heritage buildings. This move met with contemporary public demand for quality and environment foods, and local relationships. The network develops relations with partners among tourist and rural organisations and now gathers more than 5,200 farmer members. A departmental structure provides council, help and technical support; Bienvenue à la Ferme offers a variety of formulas: Ferme auberge, ferme équestre (horses), ferme de séjour (for vacationing), camping à la ferme, goûter à la ferme (afternoon snacks), produits à la ferme (food products processed on the farm), ferme découverte (for discovering curiosities), ferme pédagogique, ferme chasse (for hunting).
17 Several other farm producers of the network whom I visited act the same, developing new ideas involving local partnerships (catering, pottery and embroidery associations for dining room decoration, senior groups, and local schools for visits, etc.) (cf. Téchoueyres I., “Lien social et célébration d’une identité culinaire régionale : l’exemple de fermes auberges en Aquitaine”, in actes du XVIIe colloque AISLF, CR17, Tours, www.lemangeur-ocha.com, 2005).
18 A lot from Bordeaux and St Emilion package tours. There are important festive events around local foods and entertainments gathering crowds from surrounding villages but also from the distant city or sea side (Bordeaux and Arcachon).
19 D. Coquart and J. Pilleboue, “Le foie gras : un patrimoine régional ?” in Campagnes de tous nos désirs, MSH, Paris, 2000.
20 B. Sylvander, Interview by V. Amilien, Anthropology of Food (http://aof.revues.org), n° 4, 2005.
21 P. Aurier, F. Fort, L.Sirieix, “Exploring terroir product meanings for the consumer”, Anthropology of Food (http://aof.revues.org), 04, 2005.
22 Featherstone and Lash, Spaces of cultures, 1999, cited by V. Amilien, H. Torjusen og G. Vittersø in “Terroir product? - Some views about Tjukkmjølk, the traditional thick sour milk from Røros, Norway”, Anthropology of Food, n°4, 2005.
23 Cf wine producer in Crenn C, I. Téchoueyres, “Nécessités du marché, enracinement et production de la différence, l’exemple du Président du syndicat viticole Ste Foy-Bordeaux”, Anthropology of Food, n°3, 2005
24 Local institutions are in fact not so worried about the welfare debate, leaving the CIFOG and INRA (National Institute for Agriculture Research) to deal with it. They are more concerned with international competition and importations as well as protecting “local quality”.
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List of illustrations

Title Figure 1. Dual routes in the French foie gras supply chain
URL http://aof.revues.org/docannexe/image/510/img-1.jpg
File image/jpeg, 28k
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References

Electronic reference

Isabelle Techoueyres, « Development, terroir and welfare: a case study of farm-produced foie gras, in south west France », Anthropology of food [Online], S2 | March 2007, Online since 20 April 2007, connection on 25 July 2017. URL : http://aof.revues.org/510

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About the author

Isabelle Techoueyres

University of Bordeaux 2, France
I[point]techoueyres(at)orange[point]fr

By this author

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Copyright

Licence Creative Commons
Anthropologie of food est mis à disposition selon les termes de la licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale - Pas de Modification 4.0 International.

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