Rhug Estate has, this week, launched its new and exclusive Japanese Sika Venison, six months after introducing a small herd of Japanese Sika Deer to Rhug farm. 

Ham Yard, one of eight award-winning Firmdale hotels in London is one of the first to offer its customers Rhug Estate Sika Venison. Head Chef, Robin Read, said the venison sold out within 45 minutes of them offering it on their lunch menu.

Lord Newborough, owner of Rhug Estate, 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.

“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. The deer have been easy to manage and are able to fend for themselves. The small herd we introduced to Rhug back in March has fitted in very well with how we farm here at Rhug.”

Sika Venison is seasonal and there is only a limited amount of Rhug Estate Sika Venison available for customers this year as the herd is still being established. UWE Restaurant in Hong Kong; Pale Hall, near Bala, north Wales, Wiltons Restaurant and Marcus Restaurant in London, are amongst Rhug’s wholesale customers that will be offering Rhug Estate Sika Venison on their menus. Rhug Estate Sika Venison Burgers are also currently available to buy from the Butchers Counter in the Farm Shop for a limited time.

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.” 

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. Rhug adopted these same high standards of stress free management to the herd of Japanese Sika deer.

The photo is of Ham Yard, Firmdale hotel's butter roasted Rhug sika venison, beets, girolles, watercress puree and chive which sold out in 45 minutes the first day they put it on the menu.