Belton venison wins at produce awards

Chris Shaw, Head Warden and Deer Manager at Belton. Photo: William Shaw.

Chris Shaw, Head Warden and Deer Manager at Belton. Photo: William Shaw.

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Venison produced from the deer herd at Belton House has been recognised for the sixth time in a row by judges of a national competition.

Belton’s Fallow Deer Venison was a winner at the Fine Farm Produce Awards. The annual awards celebrate the very best produce from the National Trust’s 1,500 tenant farmers and estates across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Chris Shaw, Head Warden and Deer Manager, sees the herd’s quality of life as the secret to Belton’s success. He said: “They’re essentially wild. They’ve got 750 acres in which they’re free to roam and forage……the lime trees stand out as a firm favourite.”

Products not only have to excel in the obligatory taste test, but entrants also have to pass a checklist of environmental standards to guarantee the quality and origin of ingredients alongside high standards of production. The winners are decided by a judging panel consisting of 10 food and drink experts.

Rob Macklin, Head of Food and Farming at the National Trust, and chair of the judges said: “The awards are unique because of their focus on three key areas – taste, production methods and environmental standards.

“As Europe’s largest conservation charity it is really key for us that our producers reflect our whole reason for existing – and customers can rely on the fact that every product having the awards ‘stamp’ not only tastes great, but is produced in a way that cares for the land which not only works alongside nature, but is also farmed sustainably for future generations to enjoy.

“The feature that best characterises the winning producers is their attention to detail. Factors such as quality of diet, livestock breeding, crop varieties and methods used in growing and manufacture underpin the presentation and performance of the final products

“Every year the producers raise the bar and many of the products receiving the prestigious marque really are the ‘best of the best’.”

For more information about the awards and to find out more about this year’s award winning products and producers, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/finefarmproduceawards