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searching for farmed, not shot-in-the-wild, squirrel in the uk.

anyone know the whereabouts of a farm?

I thought they were trapped rather than shot. I also though the grey ones are classified as a pest so farming would be odd (are red ones protected?).

On Radio 4's farming today they had a feature on a butcher in Northumberland that was seeing an increasing trade in them. They trap them using "a large American hazelnut" as bait. They also interviewed a chef (didn't catch the name) who had to have them couriered up from Cornwall (to London I assume) for a newspaper cooking feature.

It is also quite easy to buy a squirrel trap so you could trap your own - however they are generally sold to remove garden pests rather than for harvesting your own food.

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Walnut tree + slingshot + ball bearings = squirrel farm

I can't quite visualize a squirrel farm without smirking. Are farmed squirrels more docile, less gamey and fatter?

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Oh, I know that I should leave this alone, but I can't. Sorry.

Marlena,

In my part of the South a "Squirrel Farm" is an oft used euphemism for a mental hospital, which, not so coincidentally, are also called "nut houses" as that is where squirrels would be expected to congregate.

Good luck on your search. I like the slingshot/ballbearing combo, but, well, that's just me.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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I think (well, im fairly sure actually) that your search will be fruitless. Theyre seen as vermin here (are they not everywhere) so to farm them would be bizzare/pointless.

Usually theyre trapped, that or roadkill i guess.

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  • 2 months later...

thanks to all for your squirrel help, as it happens, I have learned a huge amount about squirrels in the uk and have come to the comclusion that the whole country is one big squirrel farm! have met game keepers and foresters, all trying desperately to keep the numbers of grey squirrels down, while encouraging the little red ones to flourish. its hard work.

anyhow, i have now cooked and eaten squirrel, and learned more about the furry little critters then I ever could have imagined.

Its resulted in a feature for The New York Times, which will run 17 dec for those interested.

how did it taste? well, not like chicken. it tasted more like, well, like well-done (ie overcooked) duck breast with a faint whiff of both hazelnut and furry slippers. it wasn't bad at all! and my Jack Russell was insane with squirrel-meat-love!

thanks again,

marlena

Marlena the spieler

www.marlenaspieler.com

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You had me at hazelnut--and you lost me at furry slippers. Many years ago the New Yorker ran a piece about squirrel hunting/eating; well, I should amend that. I don't really recall if that was the focus of the article, but there were interviews with backwoods types who discussed at length whether the brain was the best part and the various camps weighed in on the best way to brain a squirrel. What I mainly remember were some of the methods for that (none of them for the faint of heart), and the fact that my husband and I were laughing so hard we were weeping.

Dec. 17 is a Wednesday. Is it going to be a new feature "Dining In/Dining Out in hard times?" Out meaning a picnic under the backyard walnut tree. Eat local!

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It was on sale at Wirral Farmers' Market last month and I gather they are a regular item. I think I recall that they were trapped, as indicated up-thread. But, at a fiver for two back legs, I didnt buy - perhaps the seller taking advantage of the then recent mention of the beastie on "River Cottage Autumn".

John Hartley

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katie, don't eat the brains of squirrels as a study found anecdotal evidence (only, nothing direct) that groups in the backwoods of kentucky who eat squirrel brain come down with a cjd variation.....only the brains have been implicated though, so it looks like you're safe with the bodies.

harters, yes i quote the butcher at the wirral farmers market in my article. barry shaw, a very nice guy....he says he doesn't get a lot of repeat customers, says most people like the novelty of saying:"darlings, we're having squirrel tonight", that is quite exciting dinner party conversation starter......

as for river cottage autumn, interestingly enough, h f-w declined giving a quote for new york times, his assistant saying he was far "too busy".

luckily we have the wonderful fergus henderson of st john's who not only gave a quote but had his chef whip up a little squirrel for the photographer!

this morning i found a website with a live webcam hooked up in scotland watching the little red squirrels frolic. i have the link somewhere.....theres another site at which you can listen to the mating call of the red squirrel...

as for the grey, well, we know what's in store for them, come this wednesday: the stew pot. to tell you the truth, my squirrel dishes were delicious, but it was mostly the sauce. our doggy was the only one who really loved the meat. but those sauces (i made two dishes, wish the paper could run the recipes for them, but space is always a condition) anyhow the sauces would be delicious on anything.....

but i can't look a cute little rascal in the eyes any longer, knowing that i've had one of his or her cousins in my frying pan.

please forgive me little one!

Marlena the spieler

www.marlenaspieler.com

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thank you for the link to the article. That is a very interesting read.

I hunt deer. My 4yo boy has gotten into his head that he wants to hunt bear. His uncle has a rug from a bear that he took with a bow. My boy seems to think when he turns 5 he can go out hunting for bear. I asked him if he wouldn't want to start on something easier like squirrel. He told me that he wouldn't want to hunt squirrels because he likes squirrels.

I am not a fan of the taste of squirrel meat. Hunting them is enjoyable but like the article alluded to near the bottom they are a lot of work for what you get.

It is also interesting to read of an invasive, unwanted species going the other way across the Atlantic. It seems that very few introductions of non-indigenous species end up with favorable results.

Laws vary state to state over here but in Minnesota I do not think you can get away with selling wild game here. I know we can donate venison to food shelves for the poor. You must turn over the carcass to a processor and they do the actual donation. I know in some states you can catch and sell wild fish like perch and smelt.

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