Meet the producer – Truly Traceableby Robert Gooch February 23 2021
Truly Traceable’s award-winning game pies and sausage rolls have been flying out our doors since we added them to our pantry in autumn 2020. They’re made by hand by husband-and-wife team Steve and Lynn Tricker at their home in nearby Halesworth, using venison shot and butchered by Steve himself.
The combination of Steve’s tasty expertly prepared wild venison, other carefully chosen ingredients and Lynn’s legendary buttery pastry has proved a winning one, and we know having a freezer stocked with their ready-to-cook pies has lifted many spirits in the past few months. To find out more about Truly Traceable, we caught up with Steve over the phone, after he had just finished prepping vegetables for another day of pie making.
How did Truly Traceable get started?
“We started back in 2014 quite by accident really. I was providing deer management services to several local farms and estates, and our freezer at home was getting fuller and fuller with venison! Lynn, who has worked in catering all her life, was working for the local pub and her pastry had become legendary. When a deli started up in the town, they asked Lynn if she would make some sausage rolls for them and we persuaded them to take some venison pies and sausage rolls as well. The response to these was amazing and showed us that there was a market out there for handmade game pies and sausage rolls made from traceable ingredients.
“Then one Monday in April 2015, I was listening to the radio and heard Chris Evans talking about the British Pie Awards, which were going to be judged that week. On a whim, I decided to send one of our venison pies. Two days later, I got a call asking if we could attend the award ceremony in Melton Mowbray that Friday. So, we took a day off and travelled over, and to our amazement found we had been named the Class Champions in the Specialty Meat Pie category against 800 other entrants!
“It all exploded from there and in the next two or three months Lynn gave up her job in the pub and started making our game pies and sausage rolls full time.”
We know you’ve won quite a few awards since. How many have you won in total?
“We’ve gone on to win 25 awards – it’s quite amazing, really. We’ve won 14 British Pie Awards, including two class winners and several silvers and bronzes, plus an Eat Game Award, seven Great Taste Awards, including two two-star wins, a Delicious Magazine Highly Commended, a Suffolk Food and Drinks Award in the Field to Fork category, and a Countryside Alliance Regional Winner’s Award.”
What do you think is the secret behind your pies’ popularity?
“I think more and more people are eating game but lots of people are still a bit nervous about cooking it. You can’t go wrong with one of our pies – you just stick it in the oven and it comes out perfect, thanks to Lynn!”
Where do you shoot and why is deer management vital work?
“I’m asked to shoot deer in woods and on farms and estates, where they do a lot of damage. Deer damage the understory of a wood. If they were left unchecked, we’d end up with a barren woodland with no scrub – and that’s very detrimental to a lot of other wildlife and birds like nightingales. I shoot around 80 to 100 muntjac a year, as well as Chinese water deer. I do also shoot fallow deer and around three or four roe deer a year but mostly muntjac and Chinese water deer, which are prolific breeders and have no natural predators, which is why there are so many of them.
“Muntjac venison is a really delicious meat – pale, soft and sweet. A bit like mild lamb. I’d say that’s my favourite venison, closely followed by Chinese water deer.
“I inspect each deer I shoot and record its details, which is what makes it truly traceable. The batch number on all our pies and sausage rolls shows you which animal it came from and where and when it was shot.”
Where do you source your other ingredients?
“The other game we use in our pies comes solely from local estates. When our usual supplies of pheasant and partridge were unavailable because shoots were cancelled due to Covid, we also sourced some game from the Wild Meat Company, who are based just 15 miles up the coast from us. Our wild boar comes from the Forest of Dean and is shot by my friend who lives down there. And when we use non-game meats, we always use trusted local producers like Sutton Hoo Chicken.
“The cider we use, Giggler Cider, is made in Bramfield, just a couple of miles away. The stout and bitter we use is Adnams’, which is made down the road at Southwold. The raw cream we use is E S Burrough’s from Norfolk’s and we use flour from Wright’s. We use onions, carrots and vegetables grown locally whenever possible, and our apples and redcurrants come from High House Fruit Farm in Sudbourne near Woodbridge.”
Which of your pies or sausage rolls are your personal favourites?
“I’d say my favourite is the merguez muntjac sausage rolls. For Lynn, it would probably be the venison, stout and chestnut pie. Although she also likes the venison and pork sausage rolls!”
Fancy treating yourself to some of Truly Traceable’s artisan pies and sausage rolls? Browse our range here.