Rouen Duck (Canard de Rouen foncé)
As with so many of our classical races of poultry, the Rouen de foncé has been know by many names; Rhone from that department of France,
Rohan of the Cardinal prince de Rohan-Guéméné, Roan signifying it's color of plumage, and finally Rouen which
is the French derivitive. More than likely the name Rouen, as with most poultry, is no more than a trade name established by the poultry merchants of the 19th
century to hide their poultry sources, and to establish a more marketable variety.
The Rouen duck was selectively breed, from what is apparently obvious, the domesticated Mallard sometime well before the 19th century in the Normandy region of France for the Paris market. Once exportation started to other continental European countries it was not long before the Rouen was imported into England. Once the Rouen had reached the shores of England the Rouen started to take on a redefinition of character to better suit the English market.
The Rouen was imported into the United States by D. W. Lincoln of Worcester, MA in 1850, and was introduced into the American Poultry Association (APA) Standard of Perfection in 1874. From 1870 onwards more intensive breeding was accomplished with regards to the Rouen. Rene Garry is attributed with establishing what we now know as the "standard" or "exibition" Rouen through crossing with the Colvert between 1910 and 1920. It was this variety that was introduce into the European Standard in 1923. Even today, as Edward Brown wrote in 1906, the Rouen "as a show duck is facile pinceps".
Why we breed the Rouen foncé
As with most of our established quality table birds the Rouen has fallen out of favor with a market poised for instant gradification and low cost food; and so
has also fallen from grace with today's breeders and farming requirements, leaving the old style "production" Rouen at critically endangered population levels.
With the Rouen needing a minimum of eighteen weeks to mature, a solid six to eight months to reach adequate characteristics, and one full year to eighteen
months to adquire the true definition of the classical Rouen composition, the cost and overall benifit to bring this highly prized duck to market is all but lost.
The overwhelming majority of farms are unwilling or unable to absorb the cost in time and care to mature this special duck to it's full maturity to a market that
has lost contact with the quality that only a few breeds of duck are able to acheive, as does the Rouen. It is precisely for these reasons that we have engaged
in working towards re-establishing the production Rouen at Elevage de Volailles. It is our hope that as waterfowl finds its way back into the American kitchen,
one of the classical varieties of duck will grace our tables once again.
What to expect from our Rouen foncé
Our Rouen offers a bold and dark duck flavor with a deep back-end finish. Our Rouen holds that classical flavor and texure that can only come from such a duck raised in the correct traditional manner, and will hold a special place for the duck connoisseur, or those looking to broaden their horizions from the ordinary. Our Rouen is especially suited for the colder and short winter days with a deep red wine to accompany and share an evening with those special guest and family.
Ordering our Rouen foncé
Due to the legnth of time thoughout the year that it actually takse to raise and produce a traditional Rouen duck, we only offer this specialty a few times throughout the year in the late autumn and early winter months, and an early availablity sometime in the summer months. Currently we only offer our Rouen through pre-ordering for the winter availabilities, through special ordering, or within our full CSA. Contact us for more information and detailed ordering instructions.