Truly Traceable

Award win­ning Suf­folk game pies

EADT Suffolk - - Inside -

IF there’s one thing Steve Tricker knows about it’s deer. My visit is sched­uled for three o’clock and two hours later I’m still there, en­joy­ing his knowl­edge and look­ing at pic­tures, cer­tifi­cates and awards which Steve has ac­cu­mu­lated over the years. He is par­tic­u­larly proud of a chance pho­to­graph he’d taken at dawn a few days ago when an achingly beau­ti­ful young stag had wan­dered into the early morn­ing sun out of the ris­ing mist. It is an awe-in­spir­ing sight and one that Steve val­ues.

“I couldn’t shoot him of course,” he says, “and the pho­to­graph is just as re­ward­ing for me.” He talks about the sights and sounds of these early morn­ings, smil­ing as he de­scribes the ways of the lo­cal wildlife.

Un­sur­pris­ingly, he is an ar­dent ad­vo­cate of the en­tire ethos of deer hunt­ing, or rather deer man­age­ment, be­cause, ac­cord­ing to Steve, it is a to­tally hu­mane way of main­tain­ing the deer pop­u­la­tion at man­age­able lev­els. There’s no stress for the an­i­mal, it has a good life, roam­ing wild with no nat­u­ral preda­tors, un­til it’s despatched with one shot from a ri­fle.

Our dis­cus­sion - who am I kid­ding? Steve’s mono­logue - ranges over deer breeds (there are six in the UK), the strict rules and reg­u­la­tions cover­ing their man­age­ment, closed sea­sons and han­dling. I learn words like ‘gral­loch’ (to evis­cer­ate the deer as quickly as pos­si­ble af­ter it’s dead), ‘tine’ ‘bay’ trey’ and ‘brow’ (the parts of the antlers) and be­come com­pletely im­mersed in this ar­cane and highly skilled world. Just wait un­til some­one, any­one, asks me a cervine-re­lated ques­tion.

Steve’s work, though, is just part of the story. Lynn was asked to make sausage rolls when their friends took on the Thor­ough­fare Deli in Halesworth. Hav­ing sur­plus veni­son they sug­gested try­ing out some veni­son sausage rolls, and pies too, and the re­sponse was amaz­ing. Thus be­gan, in Novem­ber 2014, the Truly Traceable Veni­son & Game Pie Com­pany. Lynn, des­per­ately try­ing to jug­gle a full time cook­ing job with the ever-in­creas­ing de­mands of her new role, was fran­tic.

“It was mad­ness,” she says “try­ing to do both at once, but I wasn’t quite brave enough to go all out with the pies.” It was a sur­pris­ing suc­cess that forced her to change her mind. On a whim they en­tered a veni­son pie into the Bri­tish Pie Awards, which they heard about by chance on the ra­dio one morn­ing. The or­gan­is­ers called to say they were short­listed and, af­ter a rush trip to lunch in Mel­ton Mow­bray, Lynn and Steve came away with Class Cham­pion. What a day that was! This con­vinced them that theirs was a worth­while busi­ness with po­ten­tial to make them a liv­ing, their re­spec­tive strengths dove­tail­ing neatly to make it an easy tran­si­tion.

In 2016 they picked up three more awards and then an­other four a year later, all for their fab­u­lous pies. Lynn, though, wouldn’t rest with that and en­tered sausage rolls into the Great Taste Awards and, of course, they were win­ners too.

Truly Traceable has be­come jus­ti­fi­ably well­known in the re­gion. In the last three years or so Lynn and Steve have devel­oped more

‘In 2016 they picked up three more awards and then an­other four a year later, all for their fab­u­lous pies’

va­ri­eties, now nearly 20, and col­lected more ac­co­lades. They’ve been fi­nal­ists in the EADT Food and Drink awards two years run­ning and have won an­other four medals from the Bri­tish Pie Awards.

“I make about 60 pies a day,” says Lynn, “and dif­fer­ent types have dif­fer­ent pas­try. But the more you do, the eas­ier it gets. And now we even do a veg­e­tar­ian pie and that’s won a sil­ver too.” That doesn’t sur­prise me at all be­cause their pies are mag­nif­i­cent. For­get dull meat pies with rock-hard pas­try, Truly Traceable pies are packed with top in­gre­di­ents, they are full of flavour and the pas­try is just gor­geous.

I like the way they run their busi­ness. Steve shoots most days and Lynn, with will­ing help from a friend and a rel­a­tive, cooks four or five days a week. They work from home and ev­ery­thing is done by hand and by the book, each ded­i­cated prepa­ra­tion area scrupu­lously clean and metic­u­lously main­tained – “we can’t af­ford to take risks” – from the butch­ery room to kitchen and freezer stor­age. Oh, did I men­tion Steve is a qual­i­fied butcher too? And he com­pleted the three suc­cess­ful stalks stip­u­lated for pro­fes­sional deer man­age­ment in record time. He shows me yet more cer­tifi­cates. I’m en­vi­ous. I won an es­say prize aged six and have my cy­cling pro­fi­ciency, so have no need for a dis­play cab­i­net.

In spite of their suc­cess, the Trick­ers don’t want to ex­pand too quickly and risk com­pro­mis­ing their qual­ity. Lynn wrin­kles her nose when I ask and says she likes to keep it man­age­able.

“We have good loyal cus­tomers round here, and nowa­days we get great com­mis­sions for par­ties and spe­cial events. We do our own de­liv­er­ies so why would we want to take our pies all over the coun­try? It’s all about Suf­folk, so come to Suf­folk and en­joy our pies!”

“For­get dull meat pies with rock­hard pas­try, Truly Traceable pies are packed with top in­gre­di­ents, they are full of flavour and the pas­try is just gor­geous”

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