Duck, Duck, Dinner

Tiffany Norton
Tiffany Norton

Duck confit, duck charcuterie, duck-fat ice cream … sometimes you have to break a few duck eggs and eat a few fowl in order to protect ducks and their habitat. On Dec. 11, local restaurant Party Downtown is teaming up with conservation group McKenzie River Trust (MRT) for an evening of duck feasting and river saving, along with celebrity hunter, gardener and cook Hank Shaw. Shaw is on tour promoting his new book, Duck, Duck, Goose: The Ultimate Guide to Cooking Waterfowl, Both Farmed and Wild.

The ducks on the menu are Pekin ducks that were farmed at MRT’s Berggren Demonstration Farm, along the McKenzie River. The farm is a part of a 92-acre property that was purchased as a partnership between the trust, EWEB and the Bonneville Power Administration. The property has 50 acres of critical riparian habitat and about 30 acres of farmland. According to Liz Lawrence of MRT, Berggren is home to wild game and is also “an example of how to raise animals on a piece of property that is protected.”

The goal of the evening is not only to fundraise for MRT’s conservation efforts but also to call attention to how protecting land and water can have local benefits — including good food. Joe Moll, MRT executive director, says something as simple as a carrot or a duck can become “magic on a plate,” and eating and drinking these high-quality local products makes clear the need to protect land and water in a way that rationally saying “this is the right thing to do” cannot.

Tiffany Norton, who owns Party Downtown with Mark Kosmicki, says she hopes that locally sourced food is on its way to becoming commonplace: “We hope one day we don’t stand out as the most local restaurant.”

Shaw, who won a prestigious James Beard Award for Best Blog, will be at the event, and copies of Duck, Duck, Goose will be for sale for $20.

The five-course dinner begins a 6:30 pm and the cost is $45, with $10 going to McKenzie River Trust’s conservation work. The menu, according to Kosmicki, includes everything from sweet potatoes with duck-fat biscuits to smoked and seared duck breast. Plans for a duck-fat-based ice cream are in the works with Party Downtown’s companion eatery Red Wagon Creamery. For reservations call Party Downtown at 345-8228.

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