What about Stephanie?
Stéphanie is a small vivacious French lady, full of energy and passion for her land and her animals. Together with her family she raises ducks on their farm located just above the magnificent medieval village of Rocamadour, in the French Dordogne Valley. Arriving at the farm after a winding road, in the afternoon of a sunny September day, she gives us a tour of the premises and we can admire the ducks waddling in the grass and laying down in the shade of the trees.
The Ferme des Campagnes started in 1972 and since then three generations have worked on the farm. From the beginning, the family has been raising ducks instead of geese, since duck meat can be processed and consumed with no waste, contrary to the geese which are raised mainly for their liver, with very limited use for their meat. Today 320 ducks are processed every week between mid-September and end May; to put that in perspective, an industrial farm close by is killing a much larger number every hour!
Everything is done artisanally at the farm: the raising of the animals, their slaughtering and the preparation of their meat following old family recipes. For the first 3 months of their life, the animals roam freely in the large parks surrounding the farm until they reach adulthood. They are then fattened for 2 weeks. Each Wednesday 320 ducks are slaughtered. The whole family joins and helps cutting, cooking, smoking and canning, until by Friday evening each scrap of meat has been transformed in succulent delicacies.
Before we leave Stéphanie offers us a tasting of her products. We are bowled over by the quality and totally understand why her farm was awarded the prestigious Award of Excellence by the Concours Général Agricole de Paris. This distinction is attributed each year to only one farm per category. It means that Stéphanie’s farm has been recognised as the best producer of duck products in France!