Forum Posts

John Sadler
May 18, 2018
In Community News
You may be wondering, is this Community News or a post that should sit on the Chef's Table? Here in New Zealand the meat pie is an important part of our culture and, yes, sometimes they're made by a chef but this particular pie comes to us from the Fairlie Bakehouse. Introducing a pie that uses Mountain River Venison! Simply delicious. With an overall rating of 4.5 stars on Trip Advisor (from 544 reviews), it's easy to see why the Fairlie Bakehouse is a popular destination for food lovers. They are usually very crowded as some bus tours make a point of stopping by. And that's exactly what we did, when some of our distinguished guests were here for the Field Day in February! Take a look: Next time you're travelling to the South Island of New Zealand, make sure you add Fairlie to your list of places to visit. It's about half way between Christchurch and Wanaka, among some of the most stunning scenery you'll see, and is definitely worth making a slight detour to taste this delicious goodness. Here's what the pie looks like up close: Yum! Fairlie Bakehouse 74 Main St, Fairlie 7925, New Zealand
Venison Pie in Fairlie Bakehouse content media
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John Sadler
May 14, 2018
In Farmer Stories
From Foothill To Flats Whyte Farm, Canterbury, South Island The farm cycle continues in Autumn when fawns born in November/December are weaned from their mothers and often transferred to the flat country. Here farmer Glenn Whyte receives a load of deer from the Whyte home farm. Because the deer are precious, Glenn checks them carefully, tags them for identification and then records their live-weight. He checks each young deer carefully before releasing out to farm. And, now we're off to the pasture! He then herds them to fresh pasture reserved especially for the recently weaned deer. Glenn’s aim is to get the new arrivals settled and putting on weight as soon as possible. They need to be in good condition prior to the arrival of cooler winter weather.  Enjoy your new home, Weaner Deer! If you'd like more information about Whyte Farm, you can find it here: http://www.mountainrivervenison.co.nz/whyte-farming
Weaner Deer - Autumn 2018 content media
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John Sadler
May 02, 2018
In Market News
Originally seen on deernz.org, Tuesday, April 24, 2018 Venison marketers selling venison in California are reminding their customers that the world’s best venison comes from New Zealand.  Ex-pat Kiwi Angus Cleland says there is a strong demand in California for local produce. To overcome this, his company Terra Pacific Marketing tells chefs: “Look, you’re not going to be able to source venison from within 150 miles but we can offer you with the best venison in the world. Terra Pacific, a marketer and distributor for Mountain River Venison, works collaboratively with DINZ in the US market. DINZ executive chef Graham Brown assists with venison cooking demonstrations and DINZ key account manager Nigel Morris assists with market promotions. “Value-added leg cuts such as heart of rump and tri-tip are gaining more traction as chefs recognize their convenience, high yield and consistency,” Cleland says. “Our company is also taking stock of the growing home delivery market, typified by $9-$10 meal ingredient packages. This Amazon-led trend is a great way to bring the best foods from the rest of the world direct to the consumer,” he says. Cleland says market change is constant. One such change is the rapid expansion of the US “meat snack” category, both in terms of products -- among them, meat bars, bites and jerky -- and the meats that go into them. “Consumers – and particularly those on a paleo diet – are looking for lean, healthy high-protein snacks. Exotic meats, like venison and bison fit well into this category,” he says. “Small ‘up-start’ artisan producers of these products had been rapidly acquired by multi-nationals who recognised the value of the category. Hershey bought Krave Jerky in 2015 and more recently General Mills acquired Epic, for example.” Venison marketer Angus Cleland of Terra Pacific promoting NZ venison at the 2016 US National Restaurant Association convention
Local is lovely but NZ venison is better content media
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John Sadler
Apr 30, 2018
In Chef's Table
This review by Randy Lee Svendsen of a promotional dinner in Beijing featuring Chef Graham Brown and Mountain River Venison appears in the Grand Hotels (大酒店) publication, May 2018. Randy Lee Svendsen, from The United States of America, lives and works in Beijing as Grand Director of 1421 Wines, the world's first Chinese wine traceable to international standards for food safety and quality. He works in the spirit of Admiral Zheng He and the Ming Dynasty for a better world for wine in China. Please contact him at randy@1421wines.com. A long-term devotee of "Fine Dining and Wine", the Bon Vivant studies Chinese History and Culture and has developed a refined taste in appreciating and collecting art. Prompted by his passion toward the nectar and ambrosia, Randy performs reviews of hotel restaurants and resorts, returning prompt and insightful responses based on his personal experience and first hand information. Here, we would like to share with you Randy's latest experiences. Dear Cherry, I was so happy to be invited by Chef de Cuisine, Christoph Zoller, to attend a very special dinner he was planning at The Cut restaurant in Fairmont Beijing Hotel. The dinner was advertised as CHEF GRAHAM BROWN AT THE CUT, Presenting a Fusion Venison Experience with a Craft Beer Pairing. Chef Graham Brown is an expert in working with New Zealand venison. Recognized internationally as a leading Chef and culinary arts innovator, Graham Brown joined New Zealand Venison in 1991 as their executive Chef and international Ambassador. In this role he travels the world promoting the virtues and superior quality of the premium New Zealand farmed venison to Chefs and consumers through educational demonstrations at top culinary schools, participation in top food shows and events worldwide, and demonstrating his favorite preparations of the distinctive meat on television for the home cook. Chef Graham Brown has presented at the North American National Restaurant Association show in May 2010 on their international culinary stage. Graham was also invited to guest Chef with the legendary Charlie Palmer at his restaurant in Sonoma, California, and to present workshops and dinners at the Prestigious Rheingau Gourmet Festival in Germany in 2013. Chef Brown has worked alongside many Michelin Star Chefs and presented to prestigious culinary magazines and members of the Press worldwide. He has over 40 years experience in the restaurant and hospitality industries and has received numerous awards and appointments from professional organizations worldwide. When not traveling the world, Chef Brown enjoys the quietness of country life at Ashley Forest, north of Christchurch, overlooking a deer farm and established old forests. I arrived early on the first of only 2 nights this dinner would take place. Chef Christoph Zoller greeted me and introduced me to guest Chef Graham Brown, who then introduced me to Hunter McGregor, Managing Director of Shanghai Rata Trade Company Limited, who imports farm raised grass fed venison from New Zealand and distributes to fine hotels and restaurants in China. Graham and Hunter planned several of these special dinners at famous restaurants in China and I was delighted to attend the first night of the 2 Beijing dinners, held exclusively at The Cut. What makes these dinners so special is the venison used in 5 of the 6 courses served. Shanghai Rata Trade Company Limited has been involved in the importation of venison into China for several years, sourced from Mountain River Venison located in the South Island of New Zealand. It is 100% farm raised and processed and it is very healthy red meat, low in fat and high in protein and iron. The deer are less than 2 years old and the meat has a mild, mellow taste, and it is very tender. There are a variety of cuts available to suit the requirements of the hotels and restaurants using this fine venison. According to the company press release, “Natural farm raised venison from the fresh pastures of New Zealand is one of the most exciting new products in the worldwide food industry. This fresh modern product has so much to offer: a subtle delicate flavor, superb tenderness and excellent nutritional qualities. Chefs around the world are exploring the versatility of venison in many different culinary traditions, and the market for this exclusive product continues to grow. Lean venison is a healthy food that is low in fat, saturated fatty acids and cholesterol, and high in protein, vitamins and minerals, particularly iron. The Mountain River deer are raised as close to nature as possible, using modern environmentally sustainable farming methods. Their diet consists of grass and occasional supplementary foods such as hay, silage or grain during the cold winter months. They are processed on the farm at Mountain River’s world-class production facilities, which offers year-round supply. Mountain River ensures only the highest quality venison is produced. Product quality is carefully monitored at every stage – from the farming and transport of the deer, at the processing plant, to the final export delivery. Their modern packing and storage technology ensures extended shelf-life for both chilled venison (in excess of 14 weeks) and frozen (more than two years)”. Armed with all this good information, I was excited to get started with my dinner! Kelly Yu, The Cut Supervisor, prepared my table and brought my Dry Gin Martini to me, which I enjoyed while looking over the 6 course special menu. I love venison so I was particularly interested in experiencing it in 5 different preparations during this dinner. What made it even more interesting was that the beverage pairings were selected with craft beer instead of wine, a novel touch. Kelly brought my Welcome Snack, 2 little round creations on a long glass plate. One was Cherry Tomato with Balsamic Dressing, Feta Cheese, and Cashew Nut. The Other was Honey Mellon with Parma Ham, Potato, Tomato, Olive, and Ciabatta Bread, with a little Roast Vegetable Purée with Parmesan Cheese and Lemon Butter. Both were flavor packed little treats that got me in the mood for the abundance of food that I knew was coming. First, from the Chef’s Signature Venison Set Menu was the Amuse Bouche. Chef Zoller brought my Venison Tartar, with Piccalilli Clouds, Oat and Walnut Crackers & Pickled Onions, while Kelly poured a glass of Maredsous Abbaye – Abdij Blonde beer from Belgium. Chef Brown explained that piccalilli is very famous in New Zealand. Made from cauliflower, small cucumbers, onions, carrots, vinegar, turmeric, garlic, and ginger, it is salted and sits overnight. Then the vegetables are drained and washed and cooked with vinegar, sugar, and turmeric until “al dente” and cooled in a jar with sealed lid. It is good with cold cuts and sandwiches. In this dish the piccalilli combination was served on top of the chopped raw venison, which was placed in a spoon with an oats and walnut cracker. This crisp bread is made from oatmeal, aged cheddar cheese, and crushed walnuts. Then it is twice baked and cut into shapes and sprinkled with Marlborough sea salt flakes. The raw venison meat for the tartar comes from the rump with lots of flavor. All of this was artistically arranged on a bent stainless steel tablespoon and decorated with fresh basil and a light blue colored flower. It looked beautiful! The oat and walnut cracker was triangular in shape and I started with that. It was semi-crunchy with hearty oat and nutty flavors. The venison tartar was chilled and super fresh, smooth in texture and flavorful, and the chopped piccalilli vegetables were crunchy with great pickled flavors. This was a very different tartar experience for me and I loved the addition of the piccalilli vegetables and the oat and walnut cracker. The beer pairing was well thought out, as it was mild with good flavors and light bubbles, and it did not overpower the raw venison. It was a very good pairing! My next course was the Starter, Apple Wood Smoked Venison Loin with Goat’s Cheese Mousse, Roast Beets & Watercress. It was a nice presentation on a long rectangular glass plate with mixed greens on top with crispy deep-fried shredded parsnips. Thinly sliced radish and toasted chopped walnuts were included as well. The venison is placed in a sugar and saltwater brine with some red berry tea, and then smoked over apple wood and sliced before mixing with the other ingredients. This was a really unique combination of flavors and textures. I experimented with each of the several ingredients and found them all to be interesting in their own right, and special when combined. The venison, since it was only smoked, had a raw consistency but benefited from the flavors resulting from the brining and smoking processes. The goat’s cheese mousse was delightfully cheesy and smooth, while the beets were dark and earthy and a little tart. I discovered some mandarin orange slices in the mix, and the crispy deep-fried parsnips were fun to eat with the greens. I liked the combination of the venison with the goat’s cheese mousse the most. It was a fun dish that looked like a summer garden and it was Chef Brown’s invention! Kelly brought my next course, Venison Consommé Cappuccino with Roast Garlic and Horseradish Foam, Wild Mushrooms & Venison Meat Pie. This was paired with La Chouffe Blonde beer from Belgium. The consommé was served in a clear glass teapot and poured into a teacup with the roasted garlic, wild mushrooms, and horseradish foam. I stirred this together with a little spoon and took a sip. The twice-cooked consommé was hot, highly flavored and tasty. I sipped on this and took a bite of the venison meat pie, served in pastry. It was hot with tender chunks of venison inside. The meat tasted very good, with a savory flavor. This was a hearty winter dish. The consommé was rich and strongly flavored and the chopped wild mushrooms were a nice earthy touch, while the meat pie added its own kind of warmth. I alternated between these 2 main components of the dish until it was all gone, a sip of consommé…a bite of meat pie, followed by a sip of the impressive La Chouffe Blonde beer, which went very well with the meat pie. Chef Brown explained that this meat pie came historically from the Cornish Tin Miners of England. They would take leftover meat of mutton and mix with leftover vegetables and gravy and wrap it in simple pastry made from hot water and flour. Folding it up like a purse, they would take it deep underground in the mines for their lunch. They would eat the filling in the middle and throw away the pastry because their hands were so dirty from mining. In my case, I was happy to eat the pastry! My next course was Brochettes of Venison Hearts with Sweet Soy Dressing, Green Asparagus & Cucumber Blossoms. Kelly served this with Firestone Easy Jack IPA from California. It was a colorful presentation on a white plate with 4 half spears of asparagus topped with a wooden skewer of 6 pieces of Yakiniku style BBQ venison hearts, and 2 small cucumbers with yellow blossoms. The sweet soy dressing was drizzled over the top and on the plate as decoration. The asparagus was fresh with a little crunch. The BBQ venison hearts were put on the skewer with shiitake mushrooms and spring onions. The hearts were surprisingly tender with strong flavors, both from the meat and the BBQ process and the IPA beer was strong and hoppy, which worked well with the hearts. Big flavors all around! I finished my glass of beer while reflecting on the interesting combinations of flavors in this pairing. This was followed by a little Sorbet made with Pineapple Rosemary with Smoked Yoghurt & Blueberry Chutney, which offered a cool and sweet break from the preceding powerful flavors. I happily awaited the main course, Venison Picanha with Cannelloni, Root Vegetable Purée, Baby Carrots & Tomatoes with Red Wine Sauce. With this, Kelly poured a glass of Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale from Kansas City. This was a good-looking plate that I couldn't wait to get into. Central on the hot, grey colored plate was a stuffed cannelloni, flanked to the left by 2 small grilled tomatoes and the white root vegetable purée, and on the right were 2 slices of venison tri-tip, otherwise called picanha, in the red wine reduction sauce, which was sprinkled around the plate as well. A slice of grilled eggplant and a few light greens were scattered around the plate. So as not to let it get cold, I approached the venison slices first. It was super tender and the thick red wine reduction sauce added rich flavors. The beer was cold and refreshing, not too strong for the tender meat. Next I tried the baby carrots and they were soft and perfectly cooked. The cannelloni was packed with shredded brisket of venison and rich venison gravy and I rubbed slices of that in the root vegetable purée for added flavors. Chef Brown explained that the brisket was brazed slowly for 4 hours with vegetables, red wine, stock, and seasoning and then allowed to cool in the creamy cooking liqueur. Then it is pulled apart and shredded and stuffed into the cannelloni pasta shell. Because of this detailed preparation of the meat, the cannelloni was packed with flavors that were very satisfying to me, making me wish that there were more of them on the plate! I finished my glass of beer and waited patiently for my Dessert, Creamy Black Tea Panna Cotta with Green Apple Honey Sorbet. Kelly brought my beer pairing before the dish arrived, Liefmans Kriek Brut from Belgium. This was a dark, cherry beer, a nice mixture of sweet and semi-sweet flavors. Chef Brown explained the other ingredients on the plate as pumpkin sponge, honeycomb, caramel, apricots, small meringues, and white and dark chocolate. It was a pretty dessert on a white plate, decorated with a vertical sugar ring through the panna cotta. These many treats were a nice blend of sweet flavors, and the dark, cherry beer was fantastic with the multiple sweet flavors in the dessert. This beer was very special and I really loved it with and after I finished my dessert. There were complex sweet flavors in the beer with strong hints of cherry. I was so happy to have the opportunity to meet Chef Brown and to experience his cooking of his favorite venison in so many creative ways. My sincere thanks goes to Chef Zoller for inviting me and to Kelly for taking such good care of me throughout my dinner. It was certainly a night to remember and I will always be on the lookout for more opportunities to try New Zealand venison, which is so special. CHEERS! My Best as Always, Randy
Fairmont Beijing Hotel - Review content media
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John Sadler
Apr 26, 2018
In Chef's Table
I think we can all agree, Graham is the best venison ambassador on the planet! Graham was in China for 2 weeks in March, promoting Mountain River Venison with Hunter McGreggor from Shangai Rata, our import partner. The focus of this trip was to present Mountain River farmed venison to Chinese chefs working in top end western restaurants. Many of those restaurants are in 5 star hotels such as Marriott Group, for whom Graham held a training seminar (see photo in hotel atrium)... Fortunately many of the chefs are western trained, so understand some English. However they tend to be less adventurous than western chefs, a learning from industry research conducted last year. So our approach needs to include more training which is where Graham's trip is relevant. Graham presented to 85 chefs during this tour. Follow up will include making available video chefs can watch on their mobile phones - tools they need to be confident in the kitchen with our product. Most of the executive chefs in the top hotels are westerners but there is a trend for those chefs to be replaced with Chinese chefs, especially in the tier below the very top.  An example of a western chef - The chef at the Fairmont in Beijing (Christoph Zoller) is a Mountain River Venison supporter - see photo with poster hanging from the ceiling. Christoph Zoller is a young Swiss chef returning to his homeland in May. Maybe he will take his passion for New Zealand venison back to Switzerland, another of our key markets.
Graham Brown in China content media
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John Sadler
Apr 26, 2018
In Chef's Table
Chef Owner Jean Michel has had venison rack on his menu and says Mountain River is the best! Photo - Left Bank, Vail, Colorado http://www.leftbankvail.com/menu/ Menu entry ♡ Cotellette de Cerf aux Champignons $54 Pan-seared elk chops, served with sautéed wild mushrooms and a cherry sauce (GF) Steve is the owner of Prairie Harvest a specialty food sales and distribution company based in Spearfish, South Dakota. His main customer base is in the Rocky Mountain areas from Colorado to Wyoming. That includes tourist regions like Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Aspen and Vail ski areas. His message to our Field Day was that as a front line sales person he wants to know more about where the product comes from, what the deer eat and how they are farmed. Steve's customers want to know more about where the product comes from and what farmers do to make it such a good product. All aspects of provenance are key in the sales message and Steve Hauff believes the future for venison in the US market is bright. Web site https://www.prairieharvest.com/
Steve Hauff and chef Jean Michel content media
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John Sadler
Apr 26, 2018
In Market News
Mountain River has introduced a range of “new” cuts to the Swedish market through one of Sweden’s leading restaurant wholesalers, Menigo. Mountain River has been active in Sweden for 20 years, but this launch was different to what we have done in the past. Instead of working through an importer, we are now working directly with a distributor who is as enthusiastic as we are about NZ venison. Menigo is a one-stop shop for food professionals with warehouses and food halls in Stockholm, Malmo and four other Swedish cities. It prides itself on providing products and services that are tailored to the requirements of each of its chef customers. For more information read our previous news post here: http://www.mountainrivervenison.co.nz/news/nz-venison-breakthrough-in-sweden
NZ Venison Breakthrough In Sweden content media
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John Sadler
Apr 26, 2018
In Market News
The trend in foodservice is a demand for more transparency and more information about provenance. Our distributors' customers, the chefs, are asking those questions and it always helps to answer knowledgeably. For example in Sweden we have produced a fact card with key points for sales people and restaurant staff about New Zealand farm raised venison.
Demand for Transparency content media
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John Sadler
Apr 26, 2018
In Chef's Table
This article was recently published in DINZ news: https://deernz.org/dinz-news-brief-14-march-2018#.WtAOUohuYuU We provide some additional photos below... Swedish food service distributor Menigo AB is teaching chefs about the culinary potential of NZ ‘Pasture Venison’ at a new restaurant academy with assistance from DINZ executive chef, Graham Brown. They are using new cuts developed by Mountain River Venison import partner and director Gustaf Kugelberg to overcome “saddle of the brain” – chef prejudice against anything except middle cuts. Menigo AB sales manager Henning Kvick says NZ farmers and chefs already know about venison’s versatility but for chefs raised in European culinary traditions, old attitudes die hard. Menigo has clout, with 15,000 foodservice customers in Sweden and annual sales of $1 billion from 31,000 food, drink and non-food products. In summer 2016 it was bought by the world’s largest food service provider, US-headquartered Sysco. All hands on deck... Don't overcook... Looking good... Tasting the cuts... Plating up! Finishing touches! The finished dish, delicate and delicious!
Growing Swedish Appetites content media
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John Sadler
Apr 26, 2018
In Market News
We have introduced a range of “new” cuts to the Swedish market through distribution company Menigo AB. Henning Kvick, the sales manager in charge of the Mountain River venison programme at Menigo spoke about his experience with the new cuts range at our Field Day. Henning explained that reindeer became too expensive for many menus. That created an opportunity for an innovative new product. The range of Mountain River farm raised venison cuts from the leg and shoulder suit the requirements of trendy and busy restaurants. The meat is consistently tender, has a fresh clean flavour and is hand crafted for a top result in the kitchen. Graham Brown has played a role in introducing the new cuts in Sweden. One particularly successful event was held in Stockholm at the Restaurant Academy of which Menigo are a sponsor. Restaurang Akademien - Stockholm 15 chefs came to the Restaurang Akademien in Stockholm to try the new cut range. Graham Brown introduced the cuts, all from the leg and shoulder. He explained that the deer are grass fed and the meat is from young animals, so all the cuts are tender and have a mild, fresh flavour. He asked the chefs to try a piece from the striploin and compare it to the other cuts. The chefs were amazed how tender all the cuts were. So the next step was for them to prepare their own creations using their choice of cut, striploin excluded. Instagram Henning posts regularly on Instagram showing how chefs are using the product he is promoting. Follow his Instagram account - kvicken71. Links to some of his posts: https://www.instagram.com/p/BgwZcD6DxD-/?utm_source=ig_embed https://www.instagram.com/p/BgeYDeaDZ8v/?utm_source=ig_embed Mountain river Venison journey at Menigo - Started in April 2017 Workshop with Graham Brown at Gondolen in May 2017. Workshop with Graham, John Sadler and Shane Webster in September 2017 at The Academy for Restaurants. A few facts about Menigo Henning Kvick - Sales manager for fresh meat and vegetables - including frozen quality meat. Instagram kvicken71 Menigo in figures Employees: 900 Sales: 1 billion NZD Number of products: 31 000 food, drinks, non-food and equipment Number of customers: 15 000 in Sweden Four distribution locations - Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmo and Sundsvall Menigo & Sysco - Since the summer of 2016, Menigo is owned by Sysco, the world's leading food service provider. 
Sweden - Menigo content media
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John Sadler
Apr 26, 2018
In Market News
Customers are interested in the provenance of Mountain River products. They want to know details such as what the deer eat, how they're raised and what does 'grass fed mean'. Take a look at this video from Alan’s Bistro in Shanghai to see first hand:
Alan’s Bistro, Shanghai content media
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John Sadler
Apr 26, 2018
In Community News
The Mountain River Community is a community of suppliers, customers and those in-between, collaborating on and about all things Mountain River Venison. Our goal is to grow stronger relationships across the value chain. We’re here to talk about #MountainRiverVenison, what’s new and next for our businesses, to connect with people in the industry, and to share inside tips for how to produce better venison and how to better communicate with customers. We encourage you to invite your team members and people in your network who can raise the bar in our conversation. The more people included in the conversation, the better!
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John Sadler
Apr 26, 2018
In Community News
Thanks to those of you who made it to our Field Day on the 23rd of February, we appreciate the effort you made to be there! Our customers were very impressed to see so many suppliers and partners interested in what they are doing. Those customers who attended are responsible for more than 80% of our venison sales. They are the key people we do business with each day, and we appreciate the effort they made to visit New Zealand during the week to share their insights. Also, a big thank you to Graham Brown and the staff of Mountain River Processors who helped put together a top-notch dinner! Graham continues to spread the word about venison. Catch up with more of his endeavours in the Chef's Table category. Our goal is to complete the circle from farm to chefs table, and in doing so, help to produce a better product through a better understanding of what the market wants. To help achieve this goal please join up and be a part of the Mountain River Community forum. It’s the perfect place for all members of the Mountain River value chain to connect and share perspectives. It's early days and there will be more instructions to come. For now, welcome and we look forward to hearing your thoughts and seeing your stories! Do get involved and please be in contact if you have any questions or suggestions!
Follow on from our Field Day content media
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John Sadler
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