Cottage (Garden) Industry?

January 3, 2008 @ 10:54 am | Filed under:

A business model that never took off: Backyard Frog Raising, circa 1934.

No frog farmer need search for a market, his crop is virtually all sold before it is raised. I could sell one hundred times my present production in a single week, and am expanding my ponds so, eventually, I expect to have 1000 acres utilized solely for giant bullfrog culture. I sell tadpoles at five to ten cents each by the hundred. They are used to stock farms and for aquarium purposes.

Bullfrogs, that cost me less than one cent per year to feed, wholesale at $3.00 per dozen in large quantities. Smaller frogs, of which only the legs are used, sell for as high as seventy cents per pound. Each frog gives a pound of delicious white meat that has a taste similar to a tender, juicy squab. The whole frog is used, the front quarter being just as delicious as the legs.

Our old neighborhood in Virginia had a thriving frog population. Springtime walks were sometimes a gruesome affair, wheeling the stroller around poor little squashed frogs, dozens and dozens of them, a battlefield in which the victory had gone to the cars. The kids rescued legions of froglings from the swimming pool filters. I still shudder at the memory. I guess we lacked the entrepreneurial vision that could have made us a fortune in frog legs. I wonder if this fellow made his million? I wonder if his retirement was haunted by visions of frogs who’d been dispatched thusly:

When ready for marketing, the frogs are caught at night by blinding
them with a search light. When the catcher gets a frog he puts it into
a burlap sack with others. They are then put into small pens awaiting
the dresser who grabs them by their rear legs and pierces the head with
a nail by a downward stroke of the hand. The entrails are removed and
the frog is ready for shipment in barrels of cracked ice.


Ooh, but it occurs to me: what an excellent book character this gentleman would make, the backyard frog farmer. His children, roused from bed on ‘harvest night’ to hold the blinding flashlights and burlap sacks. His wife, an experimental cook, handwriting recipes on little cards to include with customers’ purchases: 101 ways to serve frog legs. Frog stew, frog friccasee, frog fritters, frogs-and-dumplings. French fried frog legs. Frog, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches in the children’s school lunches.

Scott found the link at BoingBoing, of course.

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7 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. eden says:

    This reminds me of the movie ‘Triplets of Belleville’ – the triplets (when they are old ladies) subsist entirely on frogs – frog legs, frog soup, popped tadpoles, frog popsicles. Of course, they ‘harvested’ the frogs by throwing dynamite in a swamp…

  2. Anne Marie says:

    Lissa, check this out:

  3. Jeanne says:

    One of our “differences in where you live” observations when we moved to Mississippi was FROGS. When we opened the back door, we had to close it fast, or we would have thirty frogs inside in a matter of a minute or two. More than once, I had Kafka-esque dreams: frogs in my kitchen.

    We’re back to Virginia, where the plagues come as proper locusts.

  4. Alli ~Mrs. Fussypants says:

    Yikes! Frog legs! I was thinking, “Oh, people will buy them as pets. How very cute!”

    “They are then put into small pens awaiting the dresser who grabs them by their rear legs and pierces the head with a nail by a downward stroke of the hand. The entrails are removed and the frog is ready for shipment in barrels of cracked ice.”


    I do love frogs. I’ve lived all over & never had frogs in my kitchen like Jeanne! 😉

    Poor little froggies.

  5. sarah in va says:

    This is so funny. I had no idea frog legs were such a delicacy. I was reading today how a large gentleman was asked to pay extra at a large buffet-style restaurant because he repeatedly ate so much of their most expensive items-crab and FROG LEGS!!

    I nice, big, fat toad will keep my girls busy for an entire afternoon. I think the toads hightail it to the pond after that!

  6. patience says:

    Oh no, poor frogs!! You almost had me in tears by the end! If I was writing that book, I’d have the farmer and his wife alright, pleasant enough people, but my main character would be the little children next door who tried to rescue all the frogs! Or else it would be the frogs themselves, a froggy version of Chicken Run …


  7. MomToCherubs says:

    It would indeed make for a good story — but YUCK !! (the “menu” ideas). My feelings aside, however, my boys have been discussing the “options” ever since. The majority of this talk was taking place over LUNCH today, much to the dismay of their sisters (and Mom). There is talk of a Resturant … and then franchise opportunities, making them a chain ! Hummm …

    God Bless.