Despite their unassuming character, snails are great at lots of things. Different species of the shelled gastropod can impress with their ability to sprint, poison, or leave way too many embryos on the beach. Snails are also great at being farmed for food, apparently, as this new video from the YouTube channel, Noal Farm, demonstrates. And, frankly, after watching the video we’re not sure if you’ll be hungry or disgusted.
Noal Farm, a channel that shows the ins and outs of seemingly every step of food processing, recently posted the above video. As the video’s description notes, this is an overview of heliciculture, which is the technical term for snail farming. The video offers a look at several snail farms in Europe, although their home countries are unclear.
Across the farms, the process for cultivating the slow—crunchy—slugs is the same. The snails consume food, mainly cereal, then proceed to lay eggs in pots. The eggs in the pots are subsequently divvied up amongst two categories: eggs that will produce more farmable snails and eggs that the farmers will make into caviar. (Incidentally, those looking for less traditional takes on caviar have options.)
In general, the process appears to be benign for the snails. Farmers raise the snails in greenhouses or outdoors, and the scenery is lovely. In fact, the video claims to offer a snail’s point of view of the heliciculture process. Which, to be fair— technically—ends halfway through after the snails die. (It was going to happen one way or another.)
After that happens, the farmers then use the snails’ mucus—or snail slime—to make cosmetics. Namely, skin creams. Which, again, may entice or repulse you. Because rubbing processed snail mucus all over does indeed sound gross. But, then again, nothing helps someone get out of their shell like well-moisturized skin.
Feature image: Noal Farm