Bill Taylor, Lora Valley
Location: Our Central Southland ranch is called Lora Valley and is surrounded on two sides by the native bush-covered Hokonui Hills, which separate Central Southland from the North and East. It’s very close to the bottom of New Zealand and the World!
About the Ranch: Lora Valley has been farmed by my family since 1870, and is listed as one of New Zealand's "Century Farms." The land has been developed over the years from its native state to the fully developed 450 hectare where my wife and I farm mixed cattle, including sheep, beef, and deer. The rolling nature of the farm, the views from the hills, and the various tree plantings contribute towards making Lora Valley an attractive place to live and work.
Our location ensures excellent grass growth which means all our animals are pasture feed and only receive supplements during the worst of the winter, most of which are produced on farm. To manage the farm and enable us to look after our mix of livestock we employ a full time stock-person and some seasonal help.
Our 3 children have all worked on Lora Valley during their University vacations and have taken the same pride as their parents in producing annually the 500 or so animals for the Cervena label.
The rewards of deer farming: I gain great satisfaction from working the land that my ancestors first owned, and while farming methods have changed, I take huge pride in continuing to produce high quality food for discerning consumers around the world. Things don't get much better than watching the deer standing magnificently on the hill in the early evening with the native bush in the background, and knowing that they are being raised to the quality standards of Cervena, guaranteeing that someone, somewhere, will have a dining experience every bit as magnificent.
Favorite Venison Recipe: We enjoy the consistent natural flavors of Cervena and like to keep it simple, favoring back strap or leg steaks cooked on the BBQ. The tenderness of Cervena means there is no need to marinate the meat and I only brush the steak with good quality olive oil, and season with salt and pepper before cooking it to rare or medium rare. We find pinot noir jelly produced in Central Otago to be a pleasant accompaniment.