Meet the husband and wife team who have brought vension to the mainstream. Emily Ashworth takes a look at their award-winning food business, Truly Traceable.
Husband and wife team, Steve and Lynn Tricker make award-winning products using venison in Suffolk.
With a background in deer management, Steve sustainably sources the venison and butchers it himself while Lynn takes care of the baking and cooking.
Their products have been showcased in prime-time TV programmes such as BBC Saturday Kitchen.
Here, Lynn talks about the growing popularity of their business, Truly Traceable.
What made you decide to get in to farming/producing what you produce?
Through Steve being qualified in deer management, he was getting frequent requests from local farmers to control the deer on their land due to crop and woodland damage. He is also a qualified butcher so is proficient in dealing with the carcasses once culled. At the same time, friends of ours took on the local deli in our town in Halesworth, and knowing my pastry skills, they asked if I would make their sausage rolls for them. We suggested that we could make some venison sausage rolls and pies in addition to the regular pork ones and things took off from there. Four months later we entered our venison pie into the 2014 British Pie Awards and won the Class Champion Award in the Speciality Meat Category.
Where do you source the venison?
All the venison is wild and culled on various local farms over about 6000 acres. Steve predominantly shoots 4 of the 6 UK species of deer including Muntjac, Chinese water deer, roe and fallow, and the fact they are wild gives us the flavour we want.
How do you make the product? Do you add any ingredients?
All the venison products we make are shot and butchered by Steve and handmade into pies and sausage rolls by me. This is all done in small batches from our home in Halesworth. We do not mass produce - we use the whole animal. The forequarter meat and trim go into the sausage rolls and the haunches are diced and go into pies. The bones are then used for stock. We save up the kidneys in the freezer until we have enough to run a batch of venison steak and kidney pies. No additives or preservatives are used in any of our products and we use as many other locally sourced and seasonal ingredients as we can. We also love to forage, so ingredients such as wild garlic and blackberries also feature in our products with the emphasis of ‘what grows with, goes with.’
Where do you sell?
We sell through selected local delis and farm shops, plus five Farmers’ Markets a month. We also sell at food events and festivals within Suffolk.
How did you learn to make it?
Neither of us have had any formal catering training, although I have worked with food all my employed life and was working as a cook at the local pub until Truly Traceable took over. It is just a passion for good quality, local, sustainable food which has always been our inspiration.
What do you love about what you do?
We love educating people about trying and eating venison and game and pride ourselves in converting countless people into loving something they thought they would not like.
Do you think people like to buy in to the story of locally produced and homemade food?
Our success has without doubt been the fact that we can provide full traceability of the meat that has gone into our handmade products. We sell our venison pies not just by flavour, but by the species and can give the exact details (species, sex, weight, location and time of the cull) of each and every deer in any given product. We have attracted national attention for our unique Field to Fork story because of our passion for provenance and have been featured on BBC Saturday Kitchen.
Please tell us about any awards you have won or any organisations you are part of?
We have acquired the name ‘Husband & Wife Dream Team’ as we have won 22 awards for both our products and our tiny business in less than five years. These include twelve British Pie Awards in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019; six Great Taste Awards for our Sausage Rolls 2017, 2018, 2019; Delicious Magazine Produce Awards 2018; Suffolk Food & Drink Awards 2018; Eat Game Awards 2018 and Countryside Alliance Awards Rural Oscars 2019.