Names: Joe Mallinson and daughter Josie Mallinson.

Age: 61 and 28.

What is your business called?

The Venison Farm.

Where is it based?

At our Old Newton farm, near Moffat in Dumfriesshire.

What does it produce?

We rear deer and sell our Farm-Assured Venison products (from prime cuts of loin to burgers and sausages) to a range of consumers. As well as selling venison through a major supermarket, we have started to retail our meatbox range from our brand-new website. Our boxes come with a free venison cookery book from venison cooking ‘guru’ Nichola Fletcher, with a customer’s first order.

All of our prime venison comes from our own grass-fed Scottish red deer, each under 24 months of age. Our animals are reared in a non-intensive, sustainable and regenerative system, in the stunning landscape around the ‘Devil’s Beef Tub’ in the hills near Moffat. We place animal welfare and produce taste at the forefront of the business ethos.

To whom does it sell?

To consumer through our own website, but as we grow, we are also looking to get onto shelves in farm shops, and perhaps also restaurants, across Scotland and beyond. Venison is a very lean and delicious protein, popular with foodies, gym enthusiasts and healthy eaters alike.

How many employees?

Just the two of us, albeit we use a Scottish processor to butcher and package up our boxes.

When was it formed?

We have been raising deer on the farm since we bought it in 2010. All the meat was sold via one of the large retailers until we launched our venison boxes in February. The website went ‘live’ in March.

Why did you take the plunge?

I have been a deer enthusiast for over 30 years. When we were lucky enough to be able to buy our own farm it was a very easy decision to start farming and working with deer. They are enchanting animals and it’s great to be able to offer people the chance to enjoy the wonderful meat which is venison, produced from animals which have been cared for by us all their lives.

Shortening the supply chain to deal directly with our consumers sits really well with both of us. Many farms are small businesses and plough everything into their products, but they rarely know who their customers are, and likewise the consumer doesn’t know where their food has come from. We are big believers in the ‘Farm to Fork’, ‘Support Local’ and ‘Buy British’ movements, and in a world where we are all asking more questions about where our food comes from, we think that buying food directly from the farmer ticks many boxes in terms of traceability, authenticity, the reduction of food miles, assurance of high standards of animal welfare and also the quality of the product.

What were you doing before you took the plunge?

Before becoming a venison farmer, I worked in the animal feed industry. Josie runs her own business providing farm secretarial services.

How did you raise the start-up funding?

We have used all our own capital.

What was your biggest break?

We think the biggest achievement so far has been launching our website. Neither of us had worked on such a project before and the day we went ‘live’ was so exciting. Processing our very first order was a very memorable moment.

What was your worst moment?

It can be a bit nerve-racking when you step out of the comfort zone into a new venture and creating an e-commerce website was a step into the unknown.

What do you most enjoy about running the business?

There are lots of great things about running your own business, but I think at the top would be hearing the fantastic feedback from our customers.

What do you least enjoy?

Running a family business presents its own challenges, one of which being that you are never really off duty. However, self-employment also encourages you to make it a success because it’s your own.

What is your biggest bugbear?

I think that there are a lot of misconceptions about meat in general but also about venison, in particular farmed venison.

When people talk about venison it often conjures shortbread tin style images of stags roaming the hills, and people sometimes struggle to get their heads round the fact that our meat is not from wild deer. By rearing the deer ourselves, we can ensure that they are well fed, that they thrive, have the best life they can and ultimately, taste delicious.

What could the Westminster and/or Scottish governments do that would help?

Venison farming is a sector of agriculture that has always been, financially, unsupported by government and so venison farmers are used to managing on their own. However, I really believe that governments of all, or any, political persuasion should invest more in promoting the Buy British and Eat British messages, particularly in light of Brexit when we are even more reliant on homegrown food and drink.

What was the most valuable lesson that you learned?

That believing in your product is fundamental, and that you have to just keep plugging away. Also, seize the moment, because we don’t know what is round the corner.

How do you relax?

I’m not sure I understand the question – we are farmers! Wine helps!