The Farmers of Cervena
Behind every great product are the people who produce it. For Cervena, that means the men and women who own and work about 1,000 ranches covering both the North and South Islands of New Zealand (there are about 2,000 total deer ranches in the country). They range in size from smaller family-farmed properties to larger stations. Each and every one of them are committed to the upkeep of their land through sustainable farming methods and humane treatment of their animals, and they are proud to raise deer that meet the high quality standards necessary to be called Cervena venison.
Mark Shadbolt, Barrys Bay Estate
Location: Akaroa is on the Banks Peninsula, east of Christchurch on the South Pacific Ocean.
About the Ranch: I’m a fifth generation farmer on this land, and I farmed it with my Dad until he retired at age 88. Now my wife and I farm the 2,000 acres which overlooks Akaroa harbor, a natural harbor formed millions of years ago from volcanic eruptions. The farm still has blocks of native bush and there are crystal clear natural springs throughout, providing water for animals and people alike.
The farm runs from sea level to about 2,200 feet, which makes it steep hill country, and the tops of the hills are often dusted with snow for a couple of weeks in the winter. We raise a mixed livestock, farming deer, sheep and cattle together, which we find helps with pasture management and better feed utilization. We breed about 1000 animals each year for the Cervena label.
The Rewards of Deer Farming: I love working the land and enjoyed following in my father’s footsteps. I admire the deer and they fit so well with the natural environment here, having almost no impact on the land. I’m proud to be raising a product that is good to eat and good for you, and I like being a supplier to a quality program which is admired by chefs.
Favorite Venison Dish: Steaks on the BBQ.