If you follow this blog or my Instagram feed closely, you know that we got geese this year. They started as nine tiny weird-ducks. We let them outside, they lived with the lambs for a while, and then we left them to their own devices.
Thus freed, the geese spent their days honking about the yard. While nibbling grass and “contributing fertility”, they rewired the hay baler a bit and nibbled on the trim of Matt’s car. They came out to intimidate strangers, but also ran at the slightest hint of anyone trying to catch them. A few times, they took off from the height of land where the house is situated, trying to fly. Our neighbor commented that if they were planning to fly south, they weren’t likely to get much further than South Craftsbury (10 mi away).
Some research and a bunch of intent goose-staring led us to conclude that we had the usual straight-run combination of 2 geese and 7 ganders. There’s no use in keeping so many ganders. On a cold, sleety morning at 6am, we rounded up our geese in the dark and tried to ID our two females. We picked them up and tossed them out, then loaded five ganders into some pet crates to go to Masse Poultry, where we said our goodbyes. While geese and ducks are often challenging to pluck clean, ours came out fantastically tidy.
On to the cooking. After being honked at and harassed by our own livestock, I was ready to try eating a goose for the first time. Consulting the internet, I decided to go for “low and slow” to achieve a perfect medium cooking on the breast meat, and took the internet’s advice about separating the legs from the carcass and cooking them longer. Readers: Charles Dickens was right. Goose is amazing! Overcooked, I’m sure it would taste like an old shoe, but done just medium, it’s like extra-rich roast beef. And the grease is nothing to waste! I cooked brussels sprouts and potatoes in the grease I ladled from the pan. They were heavenly – rich and decadent but still somehow light.
We might have some geese for sale next year, but we definitely have lamb available now to anyone who wants it. Please contact me to inquire!
I want to extend special thanks to Suzanne Podhaiser, who has provided invaluable technical support while we figured out how to raise our geese.