• Wed. Sep 28th, 2022

Halesworth pie maker ‘has no plans to expand’

ByRandall B. Phelps

Sep 18, 2022

8:30 a.m. September 18, 2022

A north Suffolk pastry chef says he has seen his sales soar during the pandemic – but recently noticed a sharp drop as the cost of living crisis takes hold.

Halesworth-based Truly Traceable Venison & Game Pies was started by Steve and Lynn Tricker and has gone from strength to strength – but as with many businesses, high inflation is affecting both its direct sales and wholesale business .

The company – which will be exhibiting at the Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival at Snape Maltings on September 24 and 25 – is a field-to-fork business covering deer management, butchery and pie and sausage making.

Steve started out as a traditional mole hunter, but gained formal qualifications in deer hunting and management after seeing a gap in the market for these skills.

Truly Traceable Class of 2022 Wild Boar, Cider and Apple Pie Winner
– Credit: Steve Tricker

Lynn worked as a cook in their local pub in Halesworth and made sausage rolls for the local delicatessen. They decided to join forces and put their reserve of game meat to good use.

“Initially we developed a recipe and made venison sausage rolls to sell alongside the pork ones and they flew away, people loved them. This then led us to develop a venison pie recipe “, explained Lynn.

“We decided to sell them as a frozen pie to cook at home with a delicious red wine sauce with a hint of dark chocolate. We also decided to keep our venison products specific and not to group meat from different deer in a batch when we cook it or prepare the fillings for the sausage rolls.”

They never intended to start a business, so there was no business plan, she added.

“We always say, ‘The company found us.’ From the start we have always wanted to keep the meat in the products fully traceable, supplemented with locally sourced Suffolk ingredients wherever possible and handmade in small batches with no artificial additives or preservatives.

“As we both had jobs at the time, only a few venison products were planned for the local deli, we had no idea at the time that this would become our full-time business.”

In 2014, the company received the official seal of approval to sell its products. Then, in 2015, the duo entered their venison pie in the British Pie Awards and won the Specialty Meat category title. Demand soared and Lynn had to give up her job at the pub to meet the demand.

“Our ongoing problem will always be keeping up with demand, which in all honesty isn’t a bad problem to have,” Steve said.

“We signed up for our first Farmers Market at Snape Maltings where we sold out and generated immense interest and the beginnings of a fabulous range of loyal customers for our field to fork produce.

“In September 2015 we first traded at the Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival which has been a massive stepping stone for our business with the national interest we have generated in what we do.”

Since then, the business has won a series of awards, but the couple say they have no plans to expand production beyond their home.

“We have stunning views of the countryside from our kitchen window, so the idea of ​​working in an industrial unit is not at all appealing, even if it were an option,” Lynn said.

“As we cannot increase production without losing our history, we are happy to stay where we are. We have both stepped away from our other jobs to run the business full time and we have an employee to help in the kitchen two days a week.”

They run classes and supply their pies to The Wild Meat Company in Blaxhall, and run an online shop.