State-owned forest company opens first plant for wild game products in Czechia

The state-owned forest company Lesy ČR, which manages a large share of the country’s forests, is opening the very first plant in Czechia specializing in a wide variety of products made from wild game. Game lovers will be able to start ordering fresh delicacies as of this autumn.

Although Czechs are known as a nation of pork lovers, hunting remains a popular sport and the country’s extensive forests are teeming with deer, wild boar, pheasants, partridges and wood pigeons. Traditional game dishes can be found in both exclusive restaurants and out of the way country pubs.

Until now, game meat was processed on small scale and sold in select butchers’ shops and at farmers’ markets around the country. Now the state owned forest company Lesy ČR which manages 1.2 million hectares of state owned forests (45% of overall forest land) is opening the very first plant for a wide variety of wild game products in Czechia.

Václav Bašta | Photo: Lesy ČR

Located in Klíny in the Ore Mountains in the Most region, the state enterprise will offer fresh pates, sausages and raw meat in its e-shop from September 2024. People will also be able to pick it up at selected Lesy ČR centres after ordering. Václav Bašta, Regional Director of the company says the plant will have no shortage of fresh meat.

"We currently hunt in 36 hunting grounds in the North Bohemia Regional Directorate. Roughly about 3,500 pieces of deer and about 200 pieces of wild boar are hunted down in these grounds – providing us with many tons of game meat. This operation is set to process approximately 100 tons of game per year."

The head of operations at the plant František Türb says production has already started and the majority of products sold will be from venison and wild boar, which were a big part of Czech cuisine in the past.

"We are making 30 types of products – raw meat, semi-finished products and a variety of delicacies such as pates and salamis. There will be cooked food as well as tinned food products.”

Illustrative photo: rcvd,  Pixabay,  CC0 1.0 DEED

Dalibor Šafařík, CEO of the state enterprise, explains why this business is advantageous for the forestry company:

“'We are our own suppliers of venison - it comes directly from the forest through the processing plant to the table, there is no intermediate link, no additional financial burden in the form of rebates, margins and the like. Processing takes place in our building and we are directly connected to the final sale."

The state enterprise paid CZK 15 million for the construction of the game meat processing and food production plant. Later this year, Lesy ČR plans to open another food processing plant in Židlochovice in southern Moravia.

Authors: Daniela Lazarová , Jan Beneš | Source: Český rozhlas
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