Discover Venison: The Ultra Lean Gourmet Protein

With its delicate flavor profile, exquisite tenderness, and excellent nutritional benefits, it’s easy to see why venison is becoming wildly popular. Around the world, Chefs are reaching for this ultra lean and highly versatile protein for a range of dishes as diners seek more sustainable and healthy red meat options.

Halperns’ is proud to partner with Mountain River Venison, an integrated New Zealand Deer farming business that provides customers worldwide with a large range of gourmet venison cuts that will inspire endless dishes.

The Journey to New Zealand

Originating in England and Scotland, deer were introduced to the wild in New Zealand in the late 19th century. Though they quickly flourished, by the 1940s deer had become pests due to their destructive impact on native flora.

As locals began deer hunting in order to control the population, they noticed the quality and flavor of venison. In the 1970s, farmers saw an opportunity to diversify and began farming deer and elk. Over the years, farming systems and deer genetics have continuously improved, making New Zealand the largest farmed deer industry in the world.

Today, venison is earning global recognition as a lean and delicious red meat. With its delicate flavor and superb tenderness, this highly nutritious protein easily delivers on diner satisfaction.

Meet Mountain River Venison

Founded by the Hood family in 1994, the New Zealand-based deer farming and venison processing company is committed to providing Chefs worldwide with the highest quality farm-raised venison. The Mountain River operation includes two farms, a processing facility, and long-standing partnerships with 120 multi-generational family farms who share their commitment to sustainable farming and animal welfare.

Step onto the expansive green pastures of a Mountain River Venison partner ranch and you’ll likely find hundreds of acres of lush foliage and fresh, clean drinking water. Here, red deer and elk exclusively graze on grass or 100% vegetarian feed, ensuring their diet is very consistent.

Committed to Quality & Sustainability

In order to provide the most tender, mildly flavored, and delicious meat, Mountain River participates in Cervena, the industry-regulated Pasture to Plate quality assurance program.

To qualify as Cervena natural tender venison, animals must be:

  • Raised naturally without hormones or steroids on the fresh, open pastures of New Zealand
  • Three years old or younger
  • Never housed or kept in feedlots or confined spaces
  • Individually identified to provide traceability to their farm of origin

In addition, all of Mountain River’s supply farms are registered with the Deer Quality Assurance program, which annually audits and manages the health and welfare of the animals.

A Delicious Source of Culinary Creativity

With its superb tenderness and clean flavor profile, venison is perfect for a range of dishes, from BBQ to braising to tartar. Plus, it’s a lean red meat that’s high in iron and low in fat and cholesterol, making it a stand-out protein for people looking for healthy and sustainable options.

Ideal flavors to accompany the neutrality of venison include:

  • Fruits: quince, cherries, prunes, blackberries, lingonberry
  • Herbs: thyme, rosemary, bay, sage
  • Spices: star anise, allspice, black pepper, cloves, juniper

Though Mountain River Venison farms might feel like a world away, Halperns’ can seamlessly deliver a wide variety of cuts right to your kitchen:

  • Venison Denver Leg
  • Venison Flanks
  • Venison Leg Filet
  • Venison Boneless Short Loin
  • Venison Strips
  • Venison Rack
  • Venison Tenders
  • Venison Osso Bucco
  • Venison Ground
  • Venison Stew
  • Whole Venison Saddles
  • Elk Rack
  • Elk Tenderloin
  • Elk Hindshanks
  • Elk Medallions

Four Seasons of Flavor

Traditionally seen as a fall and winter protein, chefs are finding inspired new ways to incorporate venison to lighter dishes on their spring and summer menus. Here are a few ways to update your menu for warmer months:

Pan Sautéing

For a light and breezy approach, try pan searing venison steaks and tossing into a crisp summer salad. Mixing in fresh pears, gorgonzola cheese, and chopped walnuts will pack a powerful flavor punch.

Barbecuing & Smoking

Want to try a gourmet take on a summer staple? Serve up venison burgers with homemade sweet and sour pepper salsa. Or, gently smoke thin slices and plate atop infused butters or flavored oils for a delicious smoky delight.

Deep Frying

Explore new ways to use old world flavors by encrusting venison with sweet maple syrup and a coating of panko and peanuts before deep frying. Add jalapeno to give this crunchy creation a little extra zing.

Taste the New Zealand Venison Experience

Ready to learn more about Mountain River Venison? We’re excited to help introduce you to all of the delicious possibilities with venison. For almost 20 years, Halperns’ has been the go-to source for top-quality proteins. In addition to gourmet venison, we stock a wide variety of beef, pork, poultry, seafood, and other specialty items. Send an email to your Halperns’ sales professional, or contact us to find one in your area.