Digest: Fuel from fat, free-range foie gras, desert fish farms, Operation Save the Cows

BusinessWeek: Tyson, Smithfield, and other Big Meat producers are looking at turning animal fat into biodiesel. Somehow we don’t think Daryl Hannah and Willie Nelson are going to want to run their vehicles on factory-farmed chicken fat … but we could be wrong.

The Times (UK): A Spanish foie gras from free-ranging, non-force-fed geese has won the Coup de Coeur by the Paris International Food Salon for innovation. French feathers are rather ruffled.

New York Times*: Fish farming is taking off in Israel’s deserts. The brackish water drilled from underground desert aquifers hundreds of feet deep is being used to raise warm-water fish, and then later recycled as nutrient-rich irrigation water for crops that otherwise could not exist in the area.

San Francisco Chronicle: Colorado launched a haylift today, hoping to save thousands of cattle starving after back-to-back blizzards.

New York Times*: An op-ed compares today’s food-system conditions unfavorably with those of Upton Sinclair’s “Jungle”-era writings.

Greeley Tribune (C0)*: An editorial urges the FDA to reconsider labeling meat and dairy from cloned animals, saying the decision to forgo identification would be “elitist.”

Washington Post: Minnesota’s Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company churns out 45 million gallons of ethanol a year — and on the side produces a premium vodka, called Shakers, from locally grown wheat and rye.

Tomales Farm & Dairy: Jack has forwarded a press release to us with the exciting news that John Williams of Frog’s Leap Winery (organic practices on the down low) and Ted Hall of Napa’s Long Meadow Ranch have acquired the 505-acre Cerini Ranch in Tomales, West Marin county, and intend to return the property to agricultural use for grass-fed beef pasturing and perhaps cheesemaking, along with conservation easements.

New York Times*: Apparently the NYT’s Health editors aren’t reading the paper’s food or business sections, because this article is a tired rehash of all the reasons we’re seeing more E. coli outbreaks.

Grist: A Q&A with environmentalist actor Ed Begley, Jr., who’s starring in a new reality show about living green.

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8 Responsesto “Digest: Fuel from fat, free-range foie gras, desert fish farms, Operation Save the Cows”

  1. Foie gras without the force-feeding would be the Holy Grail of the industry. It’s the only thing that the animal rights activists can really attack. I wonder if they’re defining force-feeding in some way that excludes their product.

    I can’t wait to see how this one shapes up.

  2. Ah, it’s goose. Geese could be persuaded to eat more than ducks, though still (in the past) never enough to make something that resembles force-fed foie gras.

  3. Dr. Vino says:

    Yeah, they may eat some more voluntarily at certain times of the year but never as much as gavage, which inflates their livers to 10 times normal size.

    I visited a foie gras farm this past summer.

  4. DairyQueen says:

    Thanks for the link, Dr. Vino! That was a very instructive post you wrote about gavage — fascinating that the French farms are so willing to show visitors the process. One little note: Eric Schlosser no longer eats at McDonald’s; at a talk I went to, he said he eats only humanely raised meat now, and that a lot less often — no fast food.

    In your post, you didn’t mention whether you bought the farmer’s foie gras, and whether it was tasty!

    Also, does foie gras usually say whether it’s duck or geese liver? Just curious, as I’ve never bought it (but I have tried it in restaurants, where they don’t distinguish.

  5. Tana says:

    Frog’s Leap Winery & Gardens is more than organic—it’s biodynamic.

  6. Man of La Muncha says:

    I have yet to have a good-tasting wine from Frog’s Leap.

  7. Jack says:

    Actually, Tana, Frog’s Leap is not biodynamic. They do use some of the preperations on part of their vineyards. They’re PR guy said to me, “We do use biodynamic preparations and BD
    compost on all of our gardens at the winery; however, we do not use them in the vineyard.”

    I also ditto Man of La Muncha – I’ve not had a good tasting wine from them – but I haven’t many, nor recently.

  8. La La Linda says:

    Speaking of biodynamic…What do folks think of Sokol Blosser vineyard/winery in Oregon? Biodynamic, organic and all that good stuff (they even have a Green certification of their BUILDINGS)…pretty tasty Pinot Noir? Interesting and informative book by owner, At Home in the Vineyard –reminiscing about the beginnings of the Oregon wine industry and where things are now.