Did you know it's emu week in Wisconsin? Did you even know Wisconsin had a significant emu population?
First thing's first. What is the correct pronunciation of the big bird? Joylene Reavis , says it's not E-moo.
"It actually is pronounced 'e-myoo' even though people from the Deep South tend to call them an 'ehm-yoo.'"
Reavis is President of the Wisconsin Emu Association . She says the five-foot tall bird is a cousin to the ostrich, originally from Australia. Reavis says emu farming is a growing industry in the Badger State. Several people got into it years ago when it was an expensive exotic market.
"The people who are in it now are the ones who are building this industry. We're working toward having more products and informing the public about the health aspects of the meat."
Reavis says emu meat is dark red and comparable to high-end cuts of beef. Emu meat is nutrient-rich and Heart Healthy — in other words, high in protein but low in cholesterol and calories. Products derived from the bird include its feathers, eggs, hide and oil, which is used in health and beauty products. There are estimated to be 300 emu owners in the state.
NOTE: Products are sold at some stores, or online, but mostly at farms or farmers markets. Governor Doyle has proclaimed May 3rd – 11th as Emu Week in Wisconsin. Also see: American Emu Association .