Ranger Tom's hit bangers!

PUBLISHED: 02:01 03 April 2008 | UPDATED: 08:57 10 June 2010

WHILE it is not unheard of for a poacher to turn gamekeeper, it is perhaps more unusual for a gamekeeper to turn into a local food hero. Clinton Devon Estates' ranger Tom Garner decided there must be something more which could be done with the venison pro

WHILE it is not unheard of for a poacher to turn gamekeeper, it is perhaps more unusual for a gamekeeper to turn into a local food hero.Clinton Devon Estates' ranger Tom Garner decided there must be something more which could be done with the venison produced from the roe deer he manages. Now, tomorrow, 18 months later, he is premiering his Clinton venison sausages at the Budleigh Salterton farmers' market with a range of venison cuts.Clinton Devon Estates owns over 1,900 hectares of sustainably managed, multi-purpose woodlands which are home to an expanding number of wild roe deer. To ensure the welfare of the deer population and to protect the Forestry Stewardship Council certified woodland, wild deer have to be culled each year. In the past, the meat has gone to game dealers for export. This is the first time CDE has attempted to create its own branded food product.Tom said: "I'm very much a self-taught sausage maker and I'll admit there's been a bit of trial and error to get the recipe exactly right but I'm very happy with the end result."I've tested all the different versions on staff here and their feedback has helped me create the perfect venison sausage which we'll be selling from the end of March. The key seems to be getting the right proportion of fat as venison is a lean meat which can end up dry without a bit of added pork."Tom prides himself in seeing the food production process from field to plate - shooting and butchering the deer before personally getting down to work with the sausage-making equipment which has been installed in the old deer larder.At the moment, the venison sausages will be available only at Budleigh Salterton farmers' market, which takes place on the last Friday of every month. This means the venison will be sold within five miles of where the deer were raised.Tom is not ruling out further forays into the food market; he's currently planning to add estate-raised lamb from the Lower Otter Valley to the Clinton menu and even toying with the idea of creating a range of lamb sausages.

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