Hamish and Anna Orbell of Clayton Station recently arrived back from their sales tour to the United States. They met with numerous sales reps and chefs, all in the name of promoting and representing Mountain River Cervena Venison on the world stage.
They say it was an eye-opening experience, with lots of leanings and interesting conversations along the way.
Their overall impression is that everyone really loves the product! As Hamish and Anna recall, “the preparation of the D’Artagnan sales reps, who targeted the right people, made a big difference. The chefs who have had venison on the menu before really enjoyed it, and they say that it sells really well.” Hamish and Anna also commented on the very welcoming, friendly reception they would receive walking through the kitchen back doors and into the various meetings. They really appreciated the visit from a farmer from so far away.
It was Hamish and Anna’s pleasure to present free range farmed Mountain River Cervena Venison and, more so, they were able to explain how they produce it. Sales reps, who are mostly chefs themselves, took a sample steak to each meeting which they would often cook in front of the chef, to perfection of course! Their faces said it all as potential customers had their first bites... absolute delight. For some, their previous experience with venison was that it had a “tough, terrible taste. ” Upon sampling Cervena, their typical reaction was: “Wow! How do we get this on the menu?”
Hamish and Anna were happy to inform potential customers that D’Artagnan uses Gold label Cervena, which is delivered and sold chilled with a 98-day shelf life. For a top restaurant, that can’t use wild venison due to its variability, our product suits so well because of its consistency.
An interesting misconception they came across, by a small number of people, was that venison is “just” a product that you eat during the autumn and winter. In New Zealand, we probably eat more venison during summer so we need to help educate on the fact that venison is, of course, a fantastic year-round meat (and they’re missing out on lots of great summer recipes!).
On the whole, it was a very successful trip with new alliances made and relationships with existing contacts strengthened. Now back on the farm in Canterbury, Hamish has, unfortunately, snapped his finger - resulting in a permanent “thumbs up” gesture! Anna is keen to see if this is a sign that sales are going up as a result of their tour.
One thing is clear, this trip has reinforced Hamish and Anna’s desire to keep up significant financial investment in developing their deer farming operation.