Ancona Ducks, Modern Meat Ethics and Saving Endangered Breeds with Boondocker’s Farm

What the Wha? A Podcast?

In this gig, I have the opportunity to talk to some amazingly cool people who are doing truly great things. Sometimes I even get to walk around with a Press Pass pinned to my boob so I seem all official. It’s all very surreal. Anyway, many of these conversations get stuck in blog limbo because transcribing an hour long phone conversation or in-person interview can take days.

I decided it was time to put those conversations and information out there, in a format that made sense – a Podcast! And so was born Grow Edible, the new audio companion* to the NW Edible blog.

podcast-graphic-iTunesGrow Edible is a way to discuss the topics most important to today’s modern homesteader –  edible gardening, small space productivity, food politics, greener living choices, food preservation, small livestock, whole foods cooking, rational preparedness and more – with experts who are making a difference in their arena. It also gives me take a break from writing, which is nice while I’m working on this book (writing…all…the…time. Brain…must….have…other….outlets.).

I’m proud to be talking to duck-breeders Evan and Rachel of Boondocker’s Farm for the Grow Edible debut episode. These are the guys who hooked me up with my ducks last month. I hope you enjoy the result as much as I’ve enjoyed exploring this additional format for sharing and learning. If you have any technical issues with the podcast aspect of all this, please let me know.

Ancona Ducks

My Anconas, purchased from Boondockers Farm.

*Hat tip to Erik and Kelly of Root Simple, the cool Godparents of the urban homesteading movement. Erik and Kelly put out a sharp and edutaining podcast in addition to writing great books, running a fantastic blog and generally spreading their urban farm wisdom far and wide. They graciously allowed me to steal their phrase “audio companion.”

Show Notes

In today’s show, I talk to Rachel Kornstein and Evan Gregoire of Boondocker’s Farm near Portland, Oregon. Evan and Rachel are breeders of heirloom seeds and rare and endangered livestock. They manage the largest and most genetically diverse flock of endangered Ancona ducks in the country.

Evan and Rachel with their pasture-raised ducks.

Evan and Rachel with their pasture-raised Ancona ducks.

Join us as we discuss:

  • The roll of ducks on a homestead, and how Boondockers is pioneering rotational grazing with ducks.
  • How two ducks in the backyard can help save endangered livestock breeds.
  • Snout-to-tail eating ethics and the challenges of selling “full animal” meat in a culture used to chicken nuggets.
  • Why DIY slaughter might be the next step in the sustainable local food movement.
  • How to embrace a “slow meat” philosophy.
  • Cooking duck and duck eggs, the awesomeness of romano beans and more.

Additional information and resources for today’s episode:

The theme music for the new show is Rodeo, graciously provided by the supremely talented Kristen Ward. You can find Kristen’s music on iTunes and AmazonRodeo is off the Last Night on Division album – it’s one of my favorites!


  1. says

    Ok, it’s not everyday you read a blog that talks about Press Passes pinned to your boob. I just laughed out loud.

    Anyhow, adorable duck photo. They are so photogenic. You’re making me think ducks may be the way to go. Chickens? Ducks? Which. Or both. Will have to do my research first though and will check out the extra resources. Make sure I’m ready for the challenge.

  2. Barb says

    Hi Erica, I like the podcast format! I did find that I was unable to play it directly from your blog post, and even “Play in a new Window” didn’t work for me. But downloading kicked it right off. Probably some weird setting on my computer. You sound great! Only got about 5 min. into the podcast this morning due to a lack of time (I’ll have to listen to the rest at work while I’m, hmm, working, cough cough). You’ve already sold me….if I start thinking ducks in the future, I’ll be looking up Boondockers!

  3. sista says

    Dave’s duck are awesome quality. I bought 15 Cayuga ducklings from him this spring and the visible difference is amazing between them and a feed store duck. I will never buy ducks anywhere else. I also raise Sebastopol Geese. Love heritage breeds.

  4. Nicole Matisse Duke says

    Hi Erica,

    I love that you are doing podcasts now! Feedback re: tech –> I searched for the link to play this podcast all throughout your emailed post and I couldn’t find anything that would play a file (even hidden buttons, via mousing all over the page). I have a new iMac desktop and use Apple Mail, btw, so you can track who may be having what problems tech-wise based on their systems. I opened a browser version of the post and there was no playable button there either. When I linked to your website via the tagline at the top of your post, I was able to migrate to this post and easily found the podcast ‘play’ button at the top of the post with the usual buttons, etc. So, for now, it looks like readers who receive your blog posts via email may have to proactively get to your website to listen to the podcast. I tested the ‘play’ button and heard a few seconds of clear audio – the podcast launched immediately right from the post, no need to download anything – and I’m going to listen now. Good luck with this new phase and please keep me in the loop re: recipe testing. I’m on that list but haven’t seen any email traffic as of yet.

    ~ Nicole, from Orcas Island

    • Homebrew Husband says

      The email definitely doesn’t include a playback link…it isn’t OS/hardware dependent…that’s a piece of the puzzle we’re still working out and weren’t entirely sure how it’d look when it went out this first time. With a little luck, the next time you get one of the email announcements, there will be a playback link ready for you!

      Thanks for the feedback…it IS a new adventure and we’re trying to make it work as easily for as many folks as we can. Glad that things worked good once you got to the actual post.

  5. says

    Nice development, Erica. Love the podcast format! Much nicer to listen to an interview than to read a transcript of an interview, like with your interview with Tom Stearns of High Mowing Seeds. No problems at all playing it from your website. I’m on a macbook pro if that is important info for you as you seek to work out technical glitches. I’ve found your website such an invaluable resource, despite the fact that I’m on the other side of the country in Salem, MA. As an urban homesteader who blogs about the adventure to promote urban agriculture locally, I reference your site all them time by word of mouth. Now that you’re podcasting, I’m excited to be listening. It’s funny, but you don’t sound like I imagined you’d sound (not a criticism at all, btw).

  6. says

    Good stuff. Something to listen to while weeding!

    We’ve found the same problems selling (or even giving away) ducks and geese that have not been trimmed to plastic-wrapped supermarket cuts. It’s a strange world.

  7. says

    Yay! I’m doing the most tedious work imaginable most mornings in the new orchard. To keep from going insane, I’ve been listening to podcasts, permaculture mostly. I’m looking forward to adding you to the mix.

  8. Leslie says

    Loved the podcast! It’s so exciting to hear others so pumped about local food and any poultry raising. Our family happened into poultry raising by accident, and the learning curve has been large. We adopted a flock of chickens and ducks, as our neighbors were moving, and it was us, or slaughter. Diving in, having never raised poultry before, has been such an interesting, tough, yet FUN journey. Thinking we were catching on to it, we added 7 ‘sexed’ Indian Runner ducklings, and 16 ‘sexed’ hens (4 Delaware, 2 Buff Orps, 3 Silver Laced Wyandottes, 3 Barred Rock, 3 Easter Eggers and a White Rock). It appears we will now have 2 new roos, and possibly a new drake. This will not work for our flock, so we will need to learn the finer points of harvesting. In the meantime, we have separated the chickens from the ducks, as that is what works for us, and will be adding on to the coop. What an adventure! And a blessing. :) When all the hopeful new ladies begin laying, we will be able to more easily share with others.

    When Rachel was sharing her experience with the kids, it was so fascinating to hear because she felt the kids soaking up so much information. I can relate because our kids are learning so much about food and animals right outside our door. The JOY in her voice was awesome! I hope Boondocker’s Farm continues their outreach. And I admit, I’m quite envious of anyone going to the processing seminar.

    I am glad to have stumbled here. Thanks so much for sharing Erica. I will try to find you on iTunes and subscribe. Can’t wait to hear more :)

  9. Kyle says

    Great debut. I didn’t know duck necks are tasty.

    One thing that I find helps me make the leap on things like learning how to eat duck necks is some kind of recipe and/or specific instructions on how you go about both cooking AND eating it! For those of us who didn’t grow up knowing how to do this, we’re at sea unless someone can help us out!

  10. Eljona says

    It was great. I am actually enjoining the music at the end now.
    Great job Erica. You sounded amazing and so did your hosts.
    Your ducks are looking good but when are you going to make a post about the pond and how it is going…..
    We have muscovy ducks for now because they can live with less water.

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