The traditional Czech St. Martin’s goose is becoming a luxury item, at least for consumers. However, feed and other costs cost their breeders so much that they cannot compete with cheaper foreign production. As a result, 26 percent fewer geese were fed this year than last year.
Due to high input costs, only 125,000 of these birds were fattened this year, according to Gabriela Dlouhá, president of the Czech-Moravian Poultry Union.
Our ancestors traditionally consumed geese around St. Martin’s on November 11, which is where the name “St. Martin’s goose” comes from. November is precisely the time when geese gain fat, and their meat is thus tastier.
Interest in geese has increased in recent years, also thanks to promotions associated with St. Martin’s wine and various feasts in restaurants.
Breeding in our country is mainly carried out by smaller companies, which during the year had to deal with increased costs for feed, breeding material, wages, energy and fuel.
Although the high prices of feed compounds have stagnated or even decreased, breeders did not feel this decrease until October, and even then in the order of only one percent. While in the previous two years the breeders of geese, ducks and other poultry were troubled by bird flu, this year production expenses are causing them the biggest wrinkle.
The Agrarian Chamber points out that Czech poultry breeders are “small players” on the domestic market. Multinational business chains, which control 90 percent of food retail, push suppliers to the lowest possible prices, “which often do not even cover production costs,” writes the president of the Agrarian Chamber of the Czech Republic, Jan Doležal, in a press statement.
Yet prices for customers continue to rise. Even the St. Martin’s goose will cost them a little more this year than last year. While the price of geese went up by 10-20 percent last year, this year there will be an increase again. According to Dlouhá, we will pay about 20 percent more. C
You can buy the whole bird directly from the breeder for a price of CZK 1,000 – 1,800 depending on the weight. Marek Zelenka, who raises geese on the Zakšín and Bílý Kostel farms, told the Epoch Times that he had to raise prices by roughly 10 percent this year, so the price per kilo is now 355 crowns. This is more than CZK 250/kg, where the lowest prices of the domestic competition start, yet there is no shortage of customers.
“The interest is greater than last year, people are ordering earlier. I still have the last twenty head,” says Zelenka, adding that he fattened 600 heads this year, 200 more than last year. He boasts that he has regular customers who then recommend him to their friends.
A cheaper option can be to prepare a St. Martin’s feast from an imported goose or use a duck, which is cheaper. However, the Czech-Moravian Poultry Union warns that poultry from abroad may not meet Czech standards in terms of quality and in some cases may even be dangerous.
This year, the State Agricultural and Food Inspection (SZPI) has already come across several samples of chicken meat containing salmonella. The last seizure was on October 9, when in both cases (chicken cutlets, chicken without giblets) it was poultry from Ukraine, although in one case it was packed in Slovakia.
Although these products are deep-frozen, SZPI points out that “freezing has practically no effect on bacterial contamination”.