College receives funding from Natural England's, Sussex Woods Project to showcase local wild venison

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College receives funding from Natural England's, Sussex Woods Project to showcase local wild venison

Wild venison is sustainable and 100% local wild meat. Deer populations across the UK have no natural predators, which can negatively affect biodiversity as deer forage on plants and shrubs that form habitats for other, rarer species and damage young trees as they grow. Wild venison contains many healthy vitamins that are good for us and our energy levels due to wild venison being rich in iron.

Through the project, Plumpton College received local wild venison from the Sussex Woods pilot area for Butchery apprentices to use in their lessons. An excellent opportunity to upskill butchers and learn about the sustainable aspect of venison. 

The venison prepared by Butchery apprentices made its way to the college's dining room menu, where venison alternative meals such as toad in the hole, burgers, meatballs, bolognese, fajita and curry were served to students during the week.

The dining room averages around 400 meals and, with the addition of venison alternative meals alongside the familiar dishes, saw an uptake of 40% over the lunchtime rush, with students commenting that they would try venison again and that they thought it was healthy.

Students, who Plumpton College surveyed during the week commented; 'love it', 'really tasty venison curry, should be a regular menu offer' and 'makes a nice change in the menu'.

The Sussex Woods funding is also supporting Plumpton College to roll out a number of additional wild venison activities in the new year including  hosting a series of Venison Masterclasses for Butchers at Plumpton College, delivered by an expert in the venison sector. Plumpton College's destination walled garden, One Garden Brighton will host street food events serving wild venison dishes in Spring 2024, followed by a Venison Tasting Dinner served in One Kitchen in Autumn 2024.

Steve Walker, from Natural England commented; 'The Sussex Woods team are delighted to be partnering with Plumpton College on this project. Wild Venison is an excellent alternative to traditional ‘farmed’ red meats whilst actively supporting the recovery of our local woodlands. By increasing skills and awareness in the butchery sector we hope to create new markets and increase public understanding around this fantastic product.'