Meet Detroit’s duck farmer
Suzanne Scoville raises fowl on a faded corner of the city’s east side
Published: February 22, 2012
They don't need the drake to produce dozens of eggs a week, but the hens do seem calmer with a male around. Anything to keep things running smoothly, ensuring that the hens lay at least an egg a day. But production can be irregular. Sometimes Scoville nets five eggs a day, but if a couple of ducks begin molting their feathers, production can lag.
Luckily, duck eggs keep particularly well, and she can lay away about a week's worth as insurance. She keeps them in used egg cartons, although they don't fit perfectly. (Scoville just cautions, "Don't close them all the way.") Once a week, she drops the cartons off at Woodbridge for "egg money." Since people are willing to pay a premium for them, it's a moneymaker poised to grow. "I come out ahead. Duck eggs could easily go for more. The goal is to add one or two ducks a year."
Scoville says, "They're buttery, very rich, a bit fattier, higher in protein content. The whites come out a little stiffer, which causes baked goods to rise higher, fluffier. That's why bakers like them so much."
She also points out that duck eggs are alkaline as opposed to acidic, so they're good for cancer patients.
"Really, most people just say they taste eggier, with more flavor than chicken eggs. I've become so used to them. In fact, now I've had chicken eggs that taste almost like tofu." She adds with a laugh, "Factory-farmed chicken eggs taste to me like some kind of protein stuff they manufactured from garbage."
But wouldn't she tire of duck eggs eventually? "I didn't think I'd even like them when I started this. For instance, I didn't like goose eggs. And you'd think I'd be sick of them but I'm not," she says. "I crave them, and I never really even liked eggs that much. They're good with just salt and pepper. You just feel very satisfied after eating them."
Scoville will host a children's egg hunt and class in duck care and duck egg cookery 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, March 10. For more information, see her Laid in Detroit page on Facebook.
Here is Suzanne Scoville's recipe for
Dutch Baby Pancakes
Makes 2 to 4 servings:
3 chicken eggs (or 2 duck eggs) at room temperature
1/2 cup milk, room temperature
1/2 cup sifted bread flour or all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter
Preheat oven to 450°. Place a large cast-iron skillet on the center rack of the oven until hot and sizzling.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs until light and frothy; add milk, flour, vanilla extract, and cinnamon; beat for five more minutes.
Using a potholder, remove the hot skillet from the oven; add the butter; tilting the pan to melt the butter and coat the skillet.
Pour the prepared batter into the hot skillet, all at once, and immediately return the skillet to the oven.
Bake 20-25 minutes or until puffed and golden brown.
Remove from oven and serve immediately. Once out of the oven, the pancake will begin to deflate.
Cut into serving-sized wedges and plate. Top with your favorite toppings and serve immediately.
> Email Michael Jackman