The local Kars goose variety, or Kars kazı, is raised in a geographical area starting from the Susuz district of Kars and spreading to the Arpaçay province of Kars, in northeastern Turkey along the border with Armenia. This valley is known as Cilavuz Valley, and here the climate conditions are very harsh, characterized in winter with low temperatures and snow and by dry, hot summer. Geese raised in Kars live in a natural environment and are raised in limited numbers, as opposed to the industrial-style goose breeding found in many other regions of Turkey. The result is a goose that is said to have better tasting meat that is easily distinguishable from the meat of more commercial breeds.
For many years, the Kars goose has been the most important source of protein for poor families during tough winter conditions and an important element served to guests as a local sign of hospitality. Usually dried goose meat is boiled in water and then roasted in the oven. The boiling water is not discarded, but used to cook rice or cracked hard wheat to make pilaf. Finally the meat is served with pilaf, pickles and fruit compote. Other preparations include stewing the goose with potatoes or frying it. For very special occasions, dried goose meat is boiled, then cooked in a tandoor and served over pilaf cooked in its meat stock. This is often served to very special guests.
Even though goose breeding has been an important income source for producers, young generations prefer to moving to big cities to find a better paid jobs with social merits and regular salary. Those who still breed geese are also switching to more productive foreign breeds that yield more meat and eggs. Changes in climate and more extreme conditions have negatively affected the Kars geese’s egg laying, with decreased production. Even though the Kars goose has a different aroma and a rich flavor in comparison to other varieties, due to hygiene rules and procedures enforced during the European Union accession period, producers are finding difficulty effectively accessing the market.