The Whyte Farming operation goes back generations. Handed down by his dad, Donald Whyte has kept the business in the family and now his son Glen is taking on more involvement. Four generations have now farmed the Mid Canterbury station and with that family connection to the land, it means a close knit team managing the future of the farm. And that family connection to the venison industry is spread even further. Donald’s daughter Angela runs her own operation to the south near Geraldine with husband Regan, and now independently operates in close conjunction with the main Whyte Farming station. In short, the Whyte family connection to venison breeding on the Canterbury plains runs deep and that doesn’t look like it will change any time soon!
But that’s only one part of the story. Whyte Farming specialises as a breeding ground for deer. The animals are given space to have their fawns in sheltered areas that best reflect their natural habitat. From that point onwards, making the deer feel comfortable is the mantra that really sets the trend for their time at Whyte Farming. The grass and shrubbery is maintained to give the deer a varied diet as they would in the wild. “A varied diet and an environment that allows them to roam pays dividends in providing those further up the chain with a consistent quality product.” And when it comes to venison, that point of view really lies at the heart of Whyte Farming. The awareness of being part of a chain. He says ‘from the chef to the supplier to him as the producer. One cannot work without the other.’ By keeping this all in mind, it means a close communication and constant focus on achieving exactly what the chefs need from their venison. It’s this communication that reaches far and wide as well. Trips over to the United States have put the Whyte’s in contact with chefs up the East Coast in an effort to introduce their product to a new audience. Whyte Farming is a family operation that runs on a very small scale. But with a reach as far as the United States, it sticks true to the New Zealand way of punching well above their weight.