Raukumara Red owner Adam Finlayson has a job of great responsibility – bringing a taste of the wild East Coast bush of the Raukumara ranges to the plates of restaurants all of over the country. Adam and the team at Raukumara Red have turned a passion and a hobby into a worthwhile business supplying wild venison.
The Raukumara Red Venison is a favourite at Bay of Plenty restaurant, Harbourside, where Head Chef Cam Ward will be highlighting it in his partnership with Dean Harris, Head Chef at La Patio, for their Plate of Origin dish. Cam ensures Raukumara Venison makes a regular appearance on the menu of Harbourside, saying “We use Raukumara Venison firstly for the quality and consistency of the product, and secondly for their holistic production methods which fits with our desire to use local producers wherever possible”.
A major part of the success of Raukumara Red has been the re-marketing and sale , with Adam highlighting the shift in mindset required for venison to end up on more menus. “For lots of people, the only experience they’ve had with venison is a taste of a big tough stag that has been shot during the roar. Which would have a very gamey taste that is not that appealing to some”. The premium product that Raukumara Red offers is much more enjoyable. What’s more is that Raukumara Red also gives a percentage of every sale to the Whinray Ecological Trust, which runs a kiwi release programme in the Gisborne region.
As a result it’s been a variety of meat that hasn’t been readily available in stores. It has taken a lot of work with processors to develop a more mild taste and a consistency in the tenderness of the meat. “It’s been a lot of hard slog and learning about what works best” says Adam. People have taken notice of the opportunity to have wild venison in the freezer without becoming mates with the local hunter. My Food Bag, Canterbury Biltong and a list of other retailers and restaurants are now stocking the Raukumara Red cuts.