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snail, spring, imported and grey

SNAILS. The edible land snails consumed in large quantities in France and several other European countries, present a considerable diversity in size and appearance. The most highly esteemed are the Helix Pomatia, locally known as the Burgundy, Large White, Roman, Vineyard, etc., with shells varying from greyish-yellow to grey ish-red and with irregular black markings, the latter in some cases completely covering the shell. They are gathered in vineyards and also raised in Snaileries or Snail Farms —patches of moist clayey ground, suitably fenced or separated by little water canals, and provided with bushes or high plants for protection against the sun, shaded pools of water and, frequently, low sloping wooden "shelters." They are fed principally on lettuce and other green stuff, but fruit and aromatic herbs, such as thyme, may also be included in the diet to give a special savor to their flesh. The creatures are prolific, each giving in the spring from 50 to 60 eggs.

Next in importance to the Large White, is the "Black Mouth," much smaller but also of very good flavor.

The common snail of the garden, woods, etc., consumed chiefly by the poorer classes, is commercially classed as the Small Grey. It is generally grey, with faint markings, but is also sometimes a full yellow.

The Snail Market plays an important part in the food supply of Vienna during the Lenten season, large quantities of "Swabian Snails" being imported from Wur temberg and other parts of S. W. Germany, but Paris is the best customer of the

collector and breeder—an average of 80 millions a year being sold in its principal markets, the Halles Centrales, alone.

Snails are for market purposes graded according to variety, size, etc., and packed in baskets, bags and casks. The two principal seasons are the spring and winter. The former is supplied largely by itinerant gatherers of the "wild" snails which show themselves freely after spring showers. The fall and winter supply, the last-named generally bringing the highest prices in Paris, is of snails (from snaileries and else where) which have sealed themselves up for the winter—which explains the appar ently "dried" condition of the fresh imported snails received here.

The American consumption has noticeably increased during the last few years. In some parts, native snails are caught and marketed, but preference is generally given to the European product, imported both fresh and canned, to a yearly total of $50,000 and upward. They are prepared in numerous ways—generally with liberal additions of herbs, spices and wine—and are considered a delicacy by many people.