Dive into Duck at Root to Table

Root to Table diners are in for a special treat July 18th at Shepherdstown’s Bavarian Inn. Taste of Blue Ridge Top Chef Steve Ferrell is serving oak smoked duck breast from Maple Leaf Farms. Learn how Maple Leaf Farms produces this protein with a “farm to fork” focus. Discover the perfect way to cook duck and reduce fat and check out the important nutritional advantages.

North America’s Leading Duck Producer

Maple Leaf Farms LogoMaple Leaf Farms, located in northern Indiana, is North America’s leading duck producer. This family business starts with their breeder farms and hatcheries. Once hatched, the ducklings move to nearby farms with cage-free, free-roaming environments.

Maple Leaf Farms ducks receive no growth hormones or antibiotics for growth promotion. The ducks have free access to fresh water and feed in climate-controlled barns. The barns provide fresh air as well as shelter and protection from predators. Family farmers check on their birds at least twice a day. And all feed comes from Maple Leaf Farms, ensuring quality control.

Once the ducks are ready to harvest, they are sent to Maple Leaf Farms processing center. The  meat is packed and sent to the distribution center then on to restaurants, retailers and an online consumer store. As part of their sustainability efforts, Maple Leaf Farms even sees that the feathers are used in pillows and comforters.

Discover the Perfect Way to Cook Duck

Maple Leaf Farms Duck with potatoesMost people don’t usually think of duck as a protein source. If they think of it all, they think of Peking Duck from “A Christmas Story.” And duck has a bad rap for being “fatty.” But if you cook it correctly, did you know you can eliminate 70% of the fat?

With easy to follow videos, Maple Leaf Farms takes the mystery out of working with this protein. There are lots of recipes. Filter them by their degree of difficulty, preparation time or serving size. There are even “quack hacks” from culinary pros. And be sure to check out the #LunchwithLiv weekly recipe video series on Facebook with Olivia Tucker, the 4th generation to join Maple Leaf Farms.

Home chefs can start with the basics like a pan seared duck breast. And if you’re looking for a different party appetizer, try the Duck Bacon & Sweet Corn Wontons or Duck Wings. Maple Leaf Farms even offers Halal whole duck.

The Nutritional Advantages of Duck

Now that you know how to deliciously reduce the fat in duck, you’ll enjoy a protein with a “red meat” flavor that’s also lower in calories and has “better fat” for lowering LDL cholesterol. Duck is rich in iron as well as essential nutrients like vitamin E, niacin and selenium.

Dive into Duck at Root to Table

So how did this protein end up on the “Grilling & Chilling” menu? “I knew that Chef Steve (Ferrell) liked duck and could do amazing things with the product,” says Nancy Craun, founder of Taste of Blue Ridge and the Root to Table Culinary Series. “When I approached him, he did not hesitate to say yes.” Continues Nancy, “Steve loves to try new dishes. He had just purchased a smoker and so we have his entree for the event.”

Taste Chef Alumnus Abby McAllister, who now works as a food broker, connected Nancy to Alli Tucker Zito. “Maple Leaf shares and encompasses a lot of the same values and goals as Taste of Blue Ridge,” says another 4th generation family member of Maple Leaf Farms. “Nancy was wonderful to meet and work with. She then connected me to Chef Steve, as he was interested in working with duck for the event.”

What Chef Steve Is Serving

Chef Steve Ferrell

Steve Ferrell, Owner & Executive Chef of the soon to open Firebox 55 in Martinsburg, WV, is an original Root to Table Top Chef. Over the life of the culinary series, Chef Steve has brought a fine dining experience to locally sourced food. In keeping with the event’s “Grilling & Chilling” theme, Chef Steve’s oak smoked duck breast is paired with apple slaw, candied walnuts, fermented berries, ginger shrub and honey gastrique.

This is just one of six stations offered by Taste Top Chefs and their talented assistants. Guests have the opportunity to engage in conversation with these chefs as well as the farmers who provided the building blocks for this summer feast. In addition to duck, beef, chicken, seafood, lamb, and pork are also on the menu. And there’s a special, locally sourced dessert.

Make Your Root to Table Reservation Today

Taste’s Root to Table “Grilling & Chilling” takes place Sunday, July 18th, at Shepherdstown WV’s beautiful Bavarian Inn. This is the 4-Diamond inn’s third time hosting Root to Table. Tickets are $135 per person or $121.50 with a table of six or more (Price includes Tax and Gratuity).

Choose from 2-person seating separate from groups, dining with only those in your reservation group, or seating with other diners (no more than 6 at a table). Make your reservations here. And Root to Table guests receive a 15% discount on rooms at Bavarian Inn that evening. Call (304) 876-2551 and mention “Root to Table” to receive this discount.

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