by Sam Carlisle

The Country Food Trust has announced that they are now working with The British Wild Venison Working Group to feed children in need.

The Country Food Trust was set up in 2015 with the aim of helping provide delicious meals to people in food poverty. In August this year they reached the milestone of donating over 1.5 million meals since inception. Whilst much of this has been with their renowned pheasant curry and pheasant casserole they have also, during COVID19, donated meat that would usually have been destined for restaurants, such as duck, chicken and turkey to the near 2,000 charities they are helping.  

The charity distributed over 62,000 meals using British venison during the summer. They have since been exploring the increased use of venison and working with The British Wild Venison Working Group. The group has been facilitated by The Forestry Commission and established in response to the recent decline in the wholesale market, to develop novel and new markets for British Wild Venison, and see how best to work with this delicious and versatile meat. Alongside geese, rabbits and pigeon, deer are an incidental source of protein, making venison an incredibly healthy meat, with approximately 25% less calories and only 50% of the fat content seen in other red meats. 

Wild deer management is an essential part of countryside management, supporting the protection of arable crops, ancient woodlands and associated biodiversity, and future woodland creation schemes. 

The charity asked their talented consultant chef, Tim Maddams, to create a ready meal that would be appealing to children (as well as adults), designed to complement their already popular ‘Country Casserole’ and ‘Country Curry’ recipes which Maddams also devised.  Tim felt a venison bolognese would be perfect and after a month of trials with the factory, announced the delicious recipe was finalised. He said of the latest creation; “As ever, I was delighted to offer my help with this project, and I am very happy with the product we have produced together, linking sustainable wild meat with children in real need of quality protein at this very difficult time.”

To celebrate World Food Day on Friday 16th October, The Country Food Trust placed its first order of 15,000 meals of venison bolognese with their manufacturer and hope to be able to deliver it to children in need throughout November. The bolognese comes in the familiar retorted pouches (pictured below) that the end charity uses in either single portions or in catering packs of 2 kilos. The retort pouches have a one-year life and need no refrigeration or chilling required, making them a highly flexible food source for charities helping those in need. 

The Country Food Trust will also be running their annual Winter Appeal throughout November and December. This year will be aimed specifically at feeding children in need. The charity hopes to produce a further 100,000 of the ‘Country Bolognese’ to achieve this mission. As part of the campaign, the charity will also be launching a series of lottery prizes via their social media channels, that supporters and followers can try to win, whilst helping to feed children around the country.

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