Californians Head to Nevada for Foie Gras

Californians Head to Nevada for Foie Gras

Nevada boasts that it has a lot to offer Californians—no income taxes, no corporate taxes, fewer regulations.

And all the foie gras you can eat.

Almost six months after California banned the sale and production of foie gras, or fatty duck liver, a few dozen Californians were heading to Reno over the weekend to buy the contraband product. They were attending a foie gras tasting prepared and hosted by Laurel Pine, owner of Mirepoix USA, a gourmet food company we profiled last June.

Pine moved her business from California to Nevada last year in anticipation of the ban. “My sales have actually doubled, so the ban has been a very good thing for my business.” She says all the publicity around the outlawing of foie gras drew attention to the product.

Some long-time liver lovers stocked up, spending hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars. Others tried foie gras for the first time to see what the fuss was all about. “It’s actually increased interest in the product more than ever.”

Foie gras is made from livers that have been plumped up to several times their normal size through force feeding, a process called gavage. Animal rights activists call it cruel. Supporters of foie gras say it is not, that ducks don’t have a gag reflex. California lawmakers took the side of animal rights groups in banning the product, but it is still legal in California to possess foie gras. Many chefs and foodies are crossing state lines to buy it or making purchases online from out-of-state sellers.

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