A WOMEN’S INSTITUTE group learned all about a Test Valley business and the need to manage deer.

Paul Mason, from Test Valley Venison in Chandler’s Ford, was the guest speaker for Somborne Sisterhood’s March meeting at King’s Somborne Village Hall.

The family business harvests, processes and supplies local wild venison. All the venison is culled, inspected, butchered and processed on site, ensuring full food traceability and product quality.

Hampshire Chronicle: Paul with the sisterhoodPaul with the sisterhood (Image: Somborne Sisterhood)

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Mr Mason works on a ‘field to fork’ basis, operating within a 20-mile radius and removing  the need to send animals to the abattoir and consequently putting more stress on the deer.

He works closely with nearby farms and estates to manage the wild deer population and reduce damage to crops, habitat and woodland. 

The sisterhood heard that wild deer are not exposed to any anti-biotics, hormones or other medical treatments, as they roam freely and feed on arable crops and any weeds and herbs they find.

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Member Rebecca Rickard said: “This subtle difference between wild deer, farmed deer and park deer was new to many of us. Ears and other ‘odd’ bits are dried for dog chews, everything is sold to eat, including the offal.  The only waste is the hide, as there are no tanneries around.

“Venison is a very lean meat, low in cholesterol and fat, but high in omega oils, mineral and vitamins. The sausages and burgers are prime venison (plus pork in the sausages), with simply added water, seasoning and herbs.  We also learned that muntjac deer have a sweeter taste.

“We ended the evening with questions and sampled some delicious freshly cooked hot venison sausages. Purchases were also made and recipes shared.”

For more information on Test Valley Venison go to testvalleyvenison.co.uk/

The Somborne Sisterhood's next meeting is on Friday, April 5 and will be a craft session. Guests are welcome for £7.  For more information email sombornesisterhood@gmail.com.