The Rhug Estate, renowned for its unusual herd of Bison, is now ‘bucking’ the trend once again with the introduction, earlier this month, of a young herd of Japanese Sika Deer.
Visitors to the Rhug Farm Shop and Bistro, near Corwen, Denbighshire, might be able to catch a glimpse of the 25 young deer as they are being kept wild in the parks around the Estate.
Rhug has already established significant sales of venison to some of the most important restaurants in the world. This venison is from locally shot Fallow and Roe deer found on the Welsh borders. Lord Newborough, owner of the Rhug Estate, has decided to introduce Japanese Sika deer for a number of reasons. He said, “The demand for venison meat is growing year on year. Its popularity is due to the fact that it is a very healthy meat to eat, being higher in Omega 3, essential vitamins, minerals. Venison is significantly lower in fat than other meats and it commands a wonderful flavour that people love.
Lord Newborough continued, “I have sort the advice of many chefs, including Chef Brett Graham of the famous two Michelin star restaurant, The Ledbury, in London. Brett has his own herd of Japanese Sika deer and is passionate about the quality of meat that these deer produce. Rhug already has established markets for Fallow and Roe deer but the tender light flavour of the marbled meat from the Japanese Sika is a chef’s ultimate dream. These deer are easy to manage and able to fend for themselves. They don’t need the attention of sheep or cattle and will fit in very well to what we are doing at Rhug.”
Lord Newborough explains why he wants to develop the venison market, “Rhug is one of the biggest single producers of organic lamb in the UK at the moment but post Brexit anything could happen. I have concerns for the future of lamb production as markets may be more difficult to come by post Brexit, so I want to develop the Rhug’s reputation for producing top quality organic venison in time for when we leave the EU.”
At the heart of Rhug is Lord Newborough’s commitment to an organic lifestyle. Rhug Farm is self-contained and a true ‘field to plate’ operation applying the highest standard of sustainability. Rhug is renowned for producing the highest quality meat: beef, lamb, chickens, geese, and turkeys. Lord Newborough puts this down to organic farming methods which embrace the highest animal welfare standards; by not routinely injecting or drenching animals, and handling them all the time, this helps to minimise stress and a happy animal produces the best quality of meat. The Rhug will adopt these high standards of stress free management to the new herd of Japanese Sika deer.
The first Sika deer venison will be available to order from Rhug next year.