We are in a changing world, where consumers want to know where their food comes from. How sustainable was production and the ‘carbon footprint’ of process surrounding it? We are seeking more healthy food.
Deer Box is the vision of Chef , Restaurateur and Deer Manager Mike Robinson and one of his principal deer managers Ben Heath. A large area of land is managed throughout Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Hampshire through Robinson Wild Foods and their vision is to change how venison is perceived and to make it more accessible to you.
n 2018 Mike set up Owl Barn Larder in the Cotswolds at the epicentre of one of the large estates that we manage. The vision was to supply wild venison from field to fork and the main focus being to the restaurant trade. One of the historic issues surrounding game meat was a lack of provenance, where was it harvested, when….how was it stored…..and has anybody inspected it to make sure its OK……??? This is still very much the case today in many areas but not with Owl Barn and Deer Box. All our harvested wild deer carcasses are stored/hung at specific temperatures to age and condition the carcass for flavour and tenderness. The carcasses are then skinned and graded before being inspected by a Food Standards Agency Vet who when satisfied will stamp the carcass with the UK seal of approval.
For 2 years Owl Barn has been supplying high quality fresh venison to some of the UK’s finest Restaurants including Mike’s own restaurants, The Harwood Arms and the Woodsman. We have also been retailing venison on a local basis and the demand has grown organically. Attention to detail in packaging, the cuts of meat being offered to enable easy and convenient cooking and this has attracted interest from those within the game meat industry. Mike’s passion for cooking game and for promoting sustainable hunting and land use is exceptional. This has been recognised and in May 2020 it was announced that Mike Robinson would be ‘Champion of Champions’ for the game industry, his restaurants won two awards and his larder Owl Barn recognised as the ‘Best Small Retailer Selling Game’……Not Bad Eh!!
So in 2020….the year of many changes and when the world paused……we decided to start Deer Box. The mission is simple, to provide healthy sustainable wild venison in an easy to prepare and cook packages. Our business selling to high quality restaurants is still here, but we want to make venison more accessible to the every day cook. Currently a large proportion of venison is exported only to be replaced with poor quality factory farmed imported meat….why??? We also realise that many of us have busy lives so haven’t got the time to drive to the speciality butchers and then when you have got something nice you don’t necessarily want to spend hours preparing it!!
Venison is often misunderstood as being rich, tough, ‘gamey’………..well it couldn’t be more different than this. The truth is that wild venison has a fine texture, is very low in fat and the taste varies between the 6 species but they are all very good indeed. Most venison is currently sold into fine restaurants or exported and this is where we are deer box want to change this and make venison accessible to you. You prepare easy to cook, delicious healthy recipes which do not take hours slaving over the stove.
We know that finding inspiration to cook can sometimes be a chore in itself, and serving the same food week after week can make even the best food dull. That’s why we want to be different, exiting……providing you not just with fantastic high quality wild venison but also giving you recipes, ideas and seasonal cuts and packs so that you can continue to be exited by eating…..every day. We hope that Deer Box will be an adventure and we hope you will want to join us and see the developments. And if you ever wish to see what we do and how we do it…..please contact us as we frequently offer experience days where you can see the whole process from start to finish.
We are blessed with our countryside here in the UK, with its diverse landscapes, flaura and fauna. One of those that ‘dwell’ in our countryside are deer and the current estimated population is over 2 million, the highest in level in over 1,000 years. Too much of anything can be a bad thing, this can be said with deer who in large numbers can destroy habitats, woodlands where other species live. So as a result deer need to be managed and the most effective way is managed selective culling. Currently the majority of venison harvested in the UK is exported to the continent to be enjoyed by those who already know how delicious it is. At Deer Box we don’t want to export it…….its too good to export…….
All the wild deer are harvested by trained hunters who take food safety very seriously. Only ‘lead free food safe’ ammunition is used, even though this is not a regulation we operate on the highest standards. Carcasses are hung for 7-10 days before being skinned, inspected by FSA Vets and UK stamped. They are then processed, butchered and vacuum packed for ultimate freshness before being frozen. This guarantees that every box will arrive with its customer as fresh as possible and still frozen ready to be either defrosted straight away or stored in the freezer. All our packaging in biodegradable and recyclable and parcels are sent out mid week on a next day service.
Want to find out more? visit www.deerbox.co.uk