Matt Igoe runs Hudson Valley Duck Farm as well as working their stand at Greenmarkets around the city. And he wants you to have a sample. "I love when people give you that sideways look, where you know they want one, but they're a little scared," Igoe says. "Come here! Don't just look at it!"
Igoe is a missionary of duck, seeking to expand its popularity with New York's urban dwellers. "The idea was that we'd go out, start selling at farmer's markets and get in touch with people and educate them: how you cook duck, how you eat it, and the health benefits." The farm is cage free, antibiotic free and hormone free. The farm has had a great deal of success since starting to sell in New York's markets last fall.
Hudson Valley sells two breeds of fresh duck, the Moulard and the Lola. The Moulard is larger and the more traditional of the two, while the Lola is a leaner and gamier bird. If you're not sure which to try, Igoe usually recommends starting out with the Moulard and then moving on to the Lola.
Hudson Valley sells a selection of duck charcuterie in addition to their raw duck meat, which is what's usually up for samples at the market. Heed Igoe's advice and stop by their stand for a taste of the duck salami, duck prosciutto or smoked duck breast. Don't be shy. Igoe also sells fully cooked legs of duck confit as well as duck rillettes. The charcuterie offerings are a great way for people who aren't too sure about cooking duck to get their feet wet. It's a safe bet that once they try these goods, many will want to take a crack at cooking some of Hudson Valley's meat at home.
Cooking the duck couldn't be easier. Igoe recommends a simple preparation: grilling if possible, but for apartment dwellers, he prefers seering the breasts for three minutes per side in an ultra-hot grill pan to cook the meat medium rare.
Hudson Valley Duck Farm is at the Union Square Greenmarket on Mondays, at the Fort Greene, Tribeca, Tucker Square and Inwood Greenmarkets on Saturdays and at the Columbia and Caroll Gardens Greenmarkets on Sundays.