Carnivores throughout California continue to indulge in foie gras given its celebrated return, but Belcampo Meat Company, one of the city's most popular purveyors of meat won't be putting the decadent fattened livers on its burgers — or in its cases — anytime soon.
California has developed a reputation for having industry forward farmers in the agricultural industry, and Belcampo Inc., which is headquartered in Oakland and sources all of its humanely raised meat for its storefronts from a farm at the foot of Mount Shasta, is no different.
...Our customers tend to be looking for healthier everyday ingredients, [and] foie doesn't fit into that picture.
Foie gras production remains illegal in California, but Belcampo Inc. CEO and sustainable food expert Anya Fernald offered her thoughts on the viability of Belcampo offering foie gras and foie gras alternatives in an e-mail to Eater LA.
ELA: Some chefs, including Alma's Ari Taymor, are saying that it's possible to have naturally raised foie gras, where ducks/geese are not fed by gavage. Would that be something Belcampo would be interested in exploring in the immediate future?
AF: No — although we've discussed selecting the livers from ducks in that short season when they naturally gorge and featuring them as a naturally "fatty liver." That may be a question of our demographic more than our ideals — our customers tend to be looking for healthier everyday ingredients, [and] foie doesn't really fit into that picture.
ELA: What is your view of the California foie gras ban being essentially repealed?
AF: In some ways, I liked the ban as it was a precedent for limiting certain types of farming based on their impact on animals, a precedent that might come in handy in a future where agroindustry seems committed to making animal protein grow fast at whatever the cost to the livestock or the people who eat them. That said, I did not agree with the premise for the ban. Gavage is — on the spectrum — one of the least offensive ways that livestock are fattened in this country.