(Roughly) Daily

“Farming is a profession of hope”*…


The American Frog Canning Company had a pitch for people struggling to make a living in the 1930s, when jobs were scarce and money tight. The company promised a good market and a steady source of income. It was simple enough, the company promised. All you need is a small pond and a few pairs of “breeders” in order to raise giant frogs.

Frog farming was “perhaps America’s most needed, yet least developed industry,” wrote Albert Broel, founder of the American Frog Canning Company and author of Frog Raising for Pleasure and Profit. With wild populations dwindling, the demand for frog meat was greater than its supply. The market for it had the potential to grow as exponentially as a new stock of frogs could.

Those few pairs of breeders, Broel explained, would produce tens of thousands of tadpoles, and it would take just this one generation to provide a frog farmer with a ready crop. At $5 a dozen (about $100 in today’s dollars), frogs could turn into a fortune. And people leapt at the opportunity…

The cautionary tale of the get-rich-quick scheme that failed to fill the world’s appetite for frog legs: “The Giant Frog Farms of the 1930s Were a Giant Failure.”

* Brian Brett


As we hop to it, we might recall that it was on this date in 1897 that Waldorf-Astoria (the combined Waldorf and Astoria hotels) opened; with 1,300 rooms, it was the largest in the world at the time.  And as their menus demonstrate (see, e.g., here and here), they served frog legs.



Written by (Roughly) Daily

November 1, 2017 at 1:01 am

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