Frog Farms

Opportunities to be an independent women were out there for farm women as well as those who lived in cities.  The Los Angeles Times Woman and Home section of March, 7, 1897, described a new and profitable enterprise for women—frog farming.  Author Millicent Arrowpoint quickly dismissed the mistaken notion that eating frog legs was restricted to “eccentric and abnormal French people.”  Diners in Boston, New York and Philadelphia were consuming hundreds of pounds of this juicy, flavorsome flesh daily, driving the price for a pound of legs up to $1 a pound.  The reason the price was so high was that few people had thought to farm frogs.  The procedure was simple.  First the enterprising woman needed to be close to a railroad with a refrigerated car (to transport the delicate meat) and near a stretch of low, well-watered ponds (which undoubtedly could be found on most farms). She needed a wire net fence encircling the pond (to keep out ducks, geese and the midnight prowler, the weasel), rubber boots, a net, a short skirt, and a few frogs (which could be bargained for with neighborhood boys).  For the first six months nothing need be done, the frogs taking care of themselves, then they would be harvested.  During that time the businesswoman need to scout her market, visiting fish dealers, hotel proprietors, and restaurant owners to negotiate a price.  Next step was to hire a young boy to do all the unpleasant work such as catching and killing the frogs, severing the legs and then dropping the remains back into the pond for the survivors to feed upon.  It was profitable.  One English lady invested $10 and in a year cleared $500.