The ground venison in this week’s bag is a real treat. The Ohio venison meat market is a pet project we’ve been trying to grow over these past few years. More White-Tailed Deer, you might say? What, are we crazy? Well actually deer farming is a really interesting business in Ohio.

Formerly, there were really only two potential markets for farm-raised deer: breeding and hunting. The big “Shooter Bucks,” with high number of points get sold to hunting camps for sport, or their semen commands top dollar– not kidding you when I say there are some half-million dollar deer out there. But their meat is a sustainable, lean and tasty protein that is prime for incorporating into our food system.

One of the big obstacles we’ve had to face in encouraging this market to grow in Ohio is that venison is actually considered an “exotic” meat, unlike pork or beef. So, we have to hire a special inspector to be on site for the processing and packaging, and that extra cost is part of the deterrent for our producers.

But, we think it’s worth the while– venison is an extremely lean meat, and is a flavorful substitute for any recipe with beef, lamb, or ground turkey. However, because it has such a low fat content (all that foraging keeps them trim!), be mindful when cooking over medium heat, so it doesn’t brown too fast. A better idea might be to mix it in with a heftier ground meat, like pork (why we’ve paired them together this week.) Try it in meatloaf, meatballs,¬†or in this delicious looking soup.