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What is sustainable farming and why does it matter?
We at D’Artagnan believe that sustainable farming is simply the responsible practice of meeting our common need for good, clean, delicious & nutritional food without endangering the future.
This means raising livestock humanely on natural foods, clean water, in environments that are open, but provide protection from the elements where necessary. It also means not using antibiotics, growth hormones, artificial preservatives, or animal byproducts.
Established on the principles of procuring the freshest, cleanest and most natural products, D’Artagnan has long been a supporter of small farms, usually run by a single family who believe and practice sustainable farming. They care for their animals using good moral judgment and don’t see them simply as a means of profit.Our Small Farms
BeefA small cooperative of family ranches in the rolling hills of Oregon is dedicated to raising our domestic Angus beef. Seven founding families formed the cooperative with the goal of creating a high quality, consistent and completely natural beef product. To that end, they use no growth hormones, steroids or antibiotics, making for healthier animals. In addition, no animal by-products are ever used in the cattle feed - they are pastured for the majority of their lives, then grain-fed a 100% vegetarian diet consisting of barley, corn and alfalfa hay.
Raising beef naturally to choice grade takes more time, more energy and more care. But the cost and effort is far outweighed by the superior results, and the knowledge that the cattle were allowed their natural behavior and growth patterns. Today, the cooperative looks to add more small ranches willing to take the time and effort to raise cattle the way nature intended.
BuffaloAll of D’Artagnan’s natural, free-range buffalo (also called bison) comes from a small 16-employee, family-owned ranch that has been raising and selling Buffalo for over 10 years. The ranch raises Plains Buffalo breed exclusively for D’Artagnan.
Located about 25 miles from Montreal, the ranch raises no more than 200 head at a time. Since buffalo is a semi-wild species, they require and are given plenty of "elbow room" to ensure that they thrive. To support growing demand, the ranch owners have also established a cooperative program with local small farmers to raise buffalo for them. These animals are typically delivered to the ranch relatively young (approximately 6 months) and then raised alongside the existing herd until they reach about 24 months of age.
The operation is a perfect blend of Old World hands-on experience with the latest in agricultural technology. The buffalo are raised in a clean and natural environment where they feed mainly on natural forage supplemented with grain and hay. They are raised without the use of chemicals, growth hormones or steroids.
Everyone involved in the buffalo ranch has a lot of respect for their animals and firmly believes that overall animal health and well-being is the key to success. This special attention in the raising of these animals has produced the finest and healthiest available buffalo meat in North America.
ChickenWe sell both Certified Organic and Air-Chilled Chicken at D’Artagnan. All birds are raised to our own specifications.
Our Organic Chickens originate on small Amish and Mennonite family farms in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country. The family tradition of raising poultry nature’s way makes a world of difference in the flavor of our chicken.
Birds are raised in a low volume environment that greatly enhances their quality and taste. In our world, raising poultry is a balanced blend of family farm tradition and advanced development of breeds and organically-grown grains. Each bird offered to you comes from a true free-range environment where they get plenty of sunshine, fresh air, and room to roam. They are fed only organically-grown grains. Their pure, mineral-rich water comes from the same well that the family uses for drinking. The chickens are never exposed to growth stimulants, antibiotics or animal by-products.
D’Artagnan Air-Chilled Chickens, like our Organic birds, are free-range and fed only the cleanest, best diet. What’s completely different is the way D’Artagnan Air-Chilled Birds are processed. To provide the greatest amount of freshness and shelf-life, each bird is 100% air-chilled instead of dipped in water to cool more rapidly. This minimizes the aging effect on the meat, preserves intense moisture, and results in the wonderful smooth texture and taste of this authentic poultry.
DuckAriane Daguin started D’Artagnan by selling duck and, despite our wide variety of product offerings, it remains a cornerstone of the company. We sell many different kinds, but Moulard, Pekin, and Muscovy account for most of the duck sold to home gourmets.
Moulard Duck:In Gascony (as with D’Artagnan), Moulard ducks are the backbone of gastronomic traditions. There is almost a religious reverence about the birds. Ariane sometimes jokes that one day it will be found that Gascons have a region in their brains that preserves all known duck lore and recipes.The Moulard breed actually results from a cross between female Pekin and male Muscovy ducks. This is the breed of duck used for rich, delicious foie gras, though no part of the duck goes to waste. Legs are used to make confit. Breasts are aged or marinated for magrets. Whole ducks are sold for stuffing and roasting. Gizzards enrich lovely cassoulets.D’Artagnan Moulards are raised on a small privately-owned farm in upstate New York, in well-aired barns on whole grain diets and fresh, clean water. Our farmers are committed to the highest standards of animal welfare, using the most humane, modern techniques available in raising and feeding their flock. Ducks are never individually caged and are allowed free-range for most of their lives. Just like our other farms there is a strict no antibiotics, no hormones standard.
Pekin Duck:All of the Pekin ducks in the U.S. are said to descend from nine Mallard ducks imported to Long Island, New York in 1873 from China. It is believed that they originally arrived in San Francisco in the 1870’s and made their way (with the help of wagons and trains) to the East coast. In any case, from those small beginnings, Pekin has become the best selling type of duck in the U.S. Pekin ducklings are generally raised to 6 to 8 weeks for optimal tenderness. D’Artagnan Pekin Duck comes from a family farm in Pennsylvania, where they are raised to our specifications. The farmers go to great lengths to maintain a healthy environment for the ducks. They are raised in spacious barns that protect them from extreme weather conditions, predators and disease. The ducks have plenty of space to roam about and have access to fresh water and feed. Our ducks are not fed antibiotics, steroids, hormones or other growth stimulants. The farm takes great care with the ducks, not just because they’re a livelihood, but because it’s the right thing to do.
Muscovy:Originating in the warm climates of South America, Muscovy duck is the leanest domesticated duck breed and is known for its rich, full flavor. In fact, Muscovy ducks have less fat and less calories per pound than turkey. While the Muscovy is 40% leaner it has 50% more breast meat than a Pekin of the same weight. The Muscovy also has a higher meat to bone ratio than the Pekin, so you get more meat per bird by weight. D’Artagnan Muscovy originate from a single farm in California. The birds are barn-raised without the use of steroids, antibiotics or growth hormones. They are grown for 70-85 days (versus the more typical 42-45 days) to allow the birds to fully mature. Feed is carefully selected for a balanced diet and for the best possible yield and flavor.
Foie GrasD’Artagnan offers foie gras from several small farms.
New York:Hudson Valley Foie Gras, located in New York State, was founded by two dedicated farmers -- Izzy Yanay and Michael Ginor. Izzy has long been involved with the raising of foie gras ducks and geese. He headed up one of the largest foie gras farms in Israel prior to coming to American. Michael, a native of Seattle, also spent time in Israel learning about foie gras raising and production. Hudson Valley Foie Gras handles every portion of the production of foie gras -- from breeding and raising the birds, to packaging the final products.
Sonoma:The third farm providing D’Artagnan foie gras is located in Northern California. In 1985, Guillermo and Junny left El Salvador to start a foie gras farm in America. They are committed to the highest standards of animal welfare, using the most humane, modern techniques available in raising and feeding their flock. Ducks are never individually caged and are allowed free-range for most of their lives. They have built up a unique following among restaurant and home chefs.
Quebec:In the Canadian provence of Quebec one often gets the sense of France. Vineyards dot the countryside. Produce served in the cafes is locally grown and the family that’s raised it may be seated two tables away. Artisan cheeses abound. And then there’s foie gras. Started in 1993, our Canadian foie gras farm balances modern production techniques with the artisanal roots of its founders. Here you’ll find ducks roaming in the fields and handlers who attend to their needs. When the time comes for gavage, it is done humanely and with the recognition that great foie gras requires the highest quality diet (in this case, 100% corn) and, most importantly, the lowest stress environment possible.
GooseOur White Emden geese are raised by Amish and Mennonite farmers in the heart of Lancaster County. True to their Old World traditions, they raise geese in small flocks, in barns until they are six weeks old, then free-range in pastures with access to water. Their feed consists of corn and soy meal, with vitamins and minerals added. The geese are never given growth stimulants, or antibiotics, nor are they de-beaked or de-toed. The simple farming techniques have worked in Lancaster for hundreds of years, and our farmers feel the old ways are still the best ways.
Guinea HenRelated to pheasants, turkeys, and other game birds found in the wild, Guinea Hens originate in Africa. They are an insect- and seed-eating bird resembling partridges with featherless heads and lovely spangled-grey plumage. They nest on the ground in their native habitat.
Raised for D’Artagnan in California, these birds are grain fed without hormones, antibiotics, or steroids in a free-flight environment. Guinea Hen meat has 50% less fat than chicken and a hefty 50-50 ratio between meat and bone.
They are relatively large birds measuring 40 - 71 centimeters in length. An average breast weighs seven ounces when French cut with the drum on. The breast and legs are wonderful when braised or confited. The whole birds may also be barded and slowly roasted for an impressive (and tasty) display. In France, the Guinea Hen enjoys pride of place on the table, and is served more commonly than chicken. LambD’Artagnan’s domestic lamb is raised in the Rocky Mountain region by a small cooperative of family farms. They raise the heritage Rambouillet/Suffolk mixed breed on high altitude pasture, and finish them with a grain supplement. Like the farmers in our other cooperatives, they insist on following natural processes, never administering antibiotics or hormones.
The Rocky Mountains are an ideal place to raise lambs, with hundreds of thousands of acres of open pastures for grazing, comfortable temperatures and plenty of water and sunshine. This pristine and healthy environment minimizes stress on the animals and produces robust, well-fed lambs. Lambs grown in this environment are meatier than lambs grown in many other areas due to the optimal growth environment and unique genetics.
Lambs are raised to an average age of 6-9 months, which means their meat is quite tender with rich flavor. The grass and grain diet contributes to a mild, less gamey flavor than that which many associate with lamb.
PheasantD’Artagnan offers domestic and Scottish Ring-Necked Pheasant. These birds, originally imported to America from Asia, the Ring-Necked Pheasant is one of a handful of game species to florish on this continent. One of 40 pheasant species introduced, the Ring-Necked Pheasant is the most popular and best known, especially the male because of its highly ornate and brightly colored plumage.
D’Artagnan Pheasant have a very distinctive taste and texture, unlike the more commercial Milan White. They are naturally fed and raised in free-flight outdoor conditions on a whole grain diet.
Each bird is a perfect 2-person portion. Females are sold with feet on. Males have feet removed. The males are great as Frenched-cut breasts with the darker, faster cooking thighs reserved for confits and braising. Please note that the legs (not thighs) can be tough because of the tendons. For this reason, we advise barding to stem fat loss during cooking.
Roast pheasant slowly to avoid a dry, tough texture. Breasts can be sauted quickly over high heat.
Pork300 years ago, legend has it, the Berkshire hog was discovered by Oliver Cromwell’s army as they entered their winter quarters in the shire of Berks, England. Surprisingly, this breed has remained pure (making it a real Heritage breed) and is renowned for delivering such exceptional taste and tenderness that it’s been the preferred pork for British royalty, Asian emperors, and four-star chefs around the world. Known as the "black pig," the superior taste of Berkshire pork makes it an ideal choice for tasty chops, racks, and moist delicious hams.
D’Artagnan Berkshire Pork is 100% Berkshire and Certified Humane by the Human Farm Animal Care Association. This certification requires that each animal have at least 15 square feet of living space, access to the out-of-doors, and is not exposed to multi-animal gestation crates. Animals are never administered antibiotics or hormones and are fed a strictly vegetarian diet of corn, soybeans, and rolled oats.
D’Artagnan’s pork comes from a cooperative of family farms at the foot of the Ozark Mountains, dedicated to raising their livestock in small numbers, in the most natural manner possible. Above and beyond the humane certification guidelines, piglets are raised by their mothers, on pasture with access to individual hoop houses and supplemental feed. Pigs are omnivores who need to forage and root in the earth, and our farmers allow them ample space to engage in natural behaviors.
The individual family members in our farm cooperative supply at least 50% of the labor involved in raising and caring for these special animals.
QuailNot too far from New York City mileage-wise, but a world away in mind set, lies the family farm that raises D’Artagnan Quail. There, in Southern New Jersey, are raised the Corturnix (sometimes referred to as Pharaoh) breed of quail. We’ve found this breed delivers a moister mix of light and dark meat than the more common, higher-yielding Bobwhite that is raised by most farms.
In 10,000 square feet of clean, open, well-lit barn space, D’Artagnan Quail roam (and fly) freely and are fed the best grains available on the market, a diet specifically selected to deliver plumb, delicious birds perfect for intimate dinners or grand occasions or a simple grilled feast.
Quail are wonderful roasted, stuffed, or marinated and grilled. There are few cooks on earth that can, according to Ariane Daguin (D’Artagnan’s founder and owner), get it wrong with quail. Their size makes them versatile enough to act as a meal (usually in pairs) or as appetizer.
Estate Scottish GameFall in Scotland brings not only cool nights and golden leaves, but delicious culinary gifts. It’s game hunting season and the gates of countless private estates, otherwise closed to most, are opened for hundreds of lucky hunters who book special vacations and tours for the right of access.
Scotland has long been famous for having some of the finest shooting estates in the world, frequented by royalty and the rich from around the world.
Fortunately for us, they don’t take all of their catch home and a portion is made available to us. Included in the D’Artagnan "take" each year is grouse, Red Legged partridge, brown hare, pheasant, and wood pigeon. D’Artagnan Scottish Game originates on a single estate located just outside of Chelmsford. Once shot, it take less than two days for this game to arrive at the D’Artagnan stateside warehouse.
All D’Artagnan Scottish Game is processed at facilities supervised by European Economic Community Inspectors (an organization similar to our USDA).
Because D’Artagnan Wild Scottish Game is shot in the wild, D’Artagnan customer sometimes find actual shot in the meat, so care in preparation and eating is recommended.
SquabSquab -- or baby pigeon -- is a wonderful, tender alternative to more traditional poultry. For this reason it is often referred to as the "King of Birds." Its rich red meat is perfect for classic French recipes. It was frequently used to prepare special occasion dishes in Victorian England.
Raised by a cooperative of small farms in California’s beautiful Central Valley, D’Artagnan Squab is certified all-natural and residue-free by the California Department of Agriculture. D’Artagnan only offers squab that have never flown. For this reason, as well as because of their whole-grain diet, each bird provides a plump, rich breast that delivers dark, rich, and moistly flavorful meat. In fact, squab is known for its singular ability to retain moisture during cooking, making it a very versatile, easy bird to prepare.
TurkeyDeep in the heart of Pennsylvania, a land of rolling green hills and deep red, nutrient-rich soil is where you’ll find the farms that raise our organic turkeys. D’Artagnan offers several kind of turkey -- Heritage (from original American stock) and Organic -- which are hatched and raised on small Amish and Mennonite family farms. The family tradition of raising poultry nature’s way makes a world of difference in the flavor.
Birds are raised in a low volume environment that enhances the quality and taste. In our world, raising poultry is a balanced blend of family farm tradition and advanced development of breeds and organically-grown grains. Each bird offered to you comes from a true free-range environment where they get plenty of sunshine, fresh air, and room to roam. They are fed only organically-grown grains that are naturally high in protein and nutrients. The water fed to the turkeys is the same pure, mineral-rich water that the farm family drinks themselves. They are never exposed to growth stimulants, antibiotics or animal by-products.
Our wild turkeys are raised in upstate New York in near-wild conditions. While they are not actually shot by hunters, they are the same breed that has roamed the woods of New York State since before European settlers came to these shores. The wild turkey is smaller than the domesticated breeds, and leaner. This is due in part to the foraged diet and all the exercise the turkeys get. They are never administered antibiotics or hormones, and grow at their own pace as they roam in the woods.
VealRaising veal is an ancient tradition, dating back to at least 2500 BC, where it is documented as a popular luxury dish of the Sumerians. Veal is mentioned in the Bible, is found in Ancient Rome, and in the earliest European cookbooks.
Our humanely-raised, milk-fed veal comes from a cooperative of small farms in upstate New York. The calves are never caged or penned. Instead, they are raised in group housing, in open spaces, free to socialize with other calves in a sunlit, comfortable environment. These unique veal barns have been lauded by Dr. Temple Grandin, an expert on humane animal husbandry. The barns are temperature controlled, with ample air circulation.
Feed consists only of a high-quality milk protein product and pure well water, to which the calves are allowed 24-hour access, via a highly technical nipple feeding system. They are never administered any GMO products or antibiotics or hormones. Our veal farmers achieve a careful balance between tradition and technology.
VenisonDeer were first brought to New Zealand in the 1851 for hunting. Like many introduced species, they thrived without natural predators, and became pests. In the 1970s, pioneering New Zealand farmers saw an opportunity in their overpopulation and created farms to raise the deer as a food source. Essentially, they enclosed vast tracts of grassland to keep the deer population under control. Today there are many farms that raise deer under the Cervena appellation. This means that the deer live free-range, eat only grass with hay supplements, are never administered antibiotics or hormones, and are processed on accredited plants.
The concept is to naturally produce tender, mild and consistent venison with respect and care to the animals and the pristine environment of New Zealand.
Wagyu BeefOur Wagyu Beef ranch is nestled deep in the heart of East Texas cattle country. It is owned and managed by a family with over 75 years of experience. Three generations of cattlemen (and women) have produced quality beef with the future in mind.
Larry, the head honcho, had a vision and felt strongly about producing the finest quality, healthiest beef possible. His family, and their associates went in search of breed stock to make his vision a reality. After much research and travel, the Japanese Wagyu was selected. Wagyu Beef is the breed used for the famous Kobe Beef. They are genetically predisposed to produce the most succulent, well-marbled, and flavorful beef in the world.
After several more years of selection and a few dozen trips direct to Japanese farms, the specific cattle were identified and finally travel arrangements were made.
Now several thousand head of these fine cattle graze free on lush green pastures and raise their beautiful (and tasty) offspring each year.
Wild BoarWild Boar, of the Sus scrofa breed, were originally brought to North America from Europe for food by the Spanish in the 1500s, and then again in the early 1900s as hunting stock. Once introduced, the boars made a home for themselves in Texas. D’Artagnan Wild Boar are the real deal—truly wild animals that forage and root, and roll in the mud to keep cool. The only trouble with these omnivorous wild beasts is the havoc they wreak on farms, trees and land wherever they roam.
Texas has declared them a nuisance, and encouraged hunters to help deal with their numbers. But hunters were not the only ones to recognize a good meal on the hoof. Our wild boars come from a “ranch” (in name only) owned by women, who saw a business opportunity in these troublesome boars. They use a trapping technique, where the boars are trapped in large cages in the wild, then slaughtered in USDA inspected facilities, and processed just as any domestic pork would be.